The ultimate guide: How to sew bags with vinyl or faux leather.
There's no doubt about it, bags made from vinyl or faux leather look really cool. But what do you need to know to sew the perfect vinyl bag?
It's a question that I get asked a lot. In fact, it's not just one question, but several.
- What's the difference between faux leather and vinyl? Are they the same?
- Which is better? Vinyl or Faux Leather?
- Can you interface vinyl and do you need to?
- How to sew vinyl bags on a regular domestic machine?
- How do you take care of and store faux leather
As soon as I began to write, I realised that it was going to end up being a very long read if I was to answer all those questions in depth in one place.
So, this is a layered ultimate guide to sewing bags with vinyl; a summary of key points with links to more in-depth answers. You can just dip in and out as you fancy.
Is there a difference between vinyl and faux leather and which is better?
Vinyl is technically P.V.C. or Polyvinyl Chloride. But a lot of faux leather is also made from Polyurethane or P.U. Both are a form of plastic polymer.
Vegan leather is essentially either of these two if it does not also contain any animal product or bi product.
Which is better? As far as bag making goes which one you choose largely depends on your personal preference and also on the pattern that you are sewing.
Vinyl tends to be slightly thicker and less flexible than P U but provides more structure without stabilizer. P.U. can imitate the look of leather very well and is often more flexible and can have a drape.
Find out more here: What Is The Difference Between Vinyl, Faux Leather And Vegan Leather?
Poppie Pouch Made from Imitation Boa Vinyl and Imitation Crocodile PU
Can you interface vinyl and faux leather and do you need to?
Sometimes, yes, you do need to interface.
P U often has a sideways stretch, interfacing can eliminate this and is essential for straps. (See the article linked below)
Both vinyl and P.U. may also need stabilizer such as foam, fleece or Decovil if structure is required by the pattern.
The good news is that it is possible to interface without melting it and I tell you all about that here: Can You Interface Vinyl Fabric And Faux Leather, When To Do It And How To Do It.
How to sew vinyl bags on a regular domestic machine?
When it comes to sewing with vinyl, it can sometimes be a little tricky, particularly on a regular domestic machine, but it is very definitely possible. I sewed my first few vinyl bags that way and was very happy with the results.
There are a lot of things that you can do to make the process easier, so I have written a comprehensive guide. Check out How To Sew Vinyl Bags On A Regular Machine And Hints For An Industrial Sewing Machine.
I do encourage you to read the full article, but if you're strapped for time, here are the key points:
- Use a microtex (sharp) needle to easily pierce the vinyl
- Use a longer stitch length 4 or longer.
- Use a Teflon foot, roller foot or walking foot to help the vinyl pass under while sewing.
- Baking paper inserted between the fabric and the machine can stop the vinyl sticking
Left to right: Teflon foot, Walking foot, Roller foot
How do you take care of and store faux leather?
Lastly, if you are good to your vinyl it will be good to you
Store your vinyl and faux leather rolled, where possible, in a cool, dark place.
Do not machine or hand. wash it, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Creases can be removed by gentle ironing on the wrong side using a pressing cloth or by laying it out in the sun on a warm day. You can also use a hair dryer on warm, not hot.
For more information on caring for your vinyl read How To Store, Care For And Clean Vinyl and PU Faux Leather.
Enjoy sewing your next project with vinyl :)