Saturday, 14 January 2012

Oilcloth fabrics and how to recognise them

As you can see from all my bags, I love sewing with oilcloth - when I first started I really struggled to find the differance between all the types of fabric - lots of descriptions but no pictures so I thought I would do my own pictures - I get most of my oilcloth from Norfolk textiles, they have a great selection.

The pink spotty fabric is a PVC/Vinyl fabric, the Blue spot is oilcloth and the one with the leaves is a matt oilcloth - this looks the same on the back as the usual oilcloth but just has a matt sheen instead of the usual shiny finish

This is a normal oilcloth - as you can see the back has quite a course finish but has a definate fabric weave effect

I think (feel free to correct me !) this is a laminated cotton - I bought it from Laura Ashley, it is sold as PVC Cotton fabric, it still has the plastic feel but is a little softer and drapes a little more. The reverse of the fabric still has a definate weave but it is much finer - not quite as fine as a quilting cotton but softer than the usual oilcloth.

This is a much cheaper fabric - it is more of a Vinyl/PVC it is a softer fabric and the rear doesn't have a weave, it is more of a synthetic back. This fabric is great for tablecloths as it drapes well but it isn't as strong as oilcloth. I have used it to make a bag but found that the handles quickly started to come off - sewing the seam basically perforated the fabric so it started to tear across the seam. I think it would still make little cases but its not so good for bag handles !

Hope this all helps and please feel free to let me know any mistakes - I've just figured this all out myself, although I have seen this Fabric Selector book on Amazon which is now on my Wish List !


  1. I have been working with Oilcloth on and of. I to found it confusing at first what is the difference between Oilcloth, PVC, Coated Cotton and so on. Also not everything that say's 'Oilcloth' is Oilcloth! Do you use a Teflon Coated sewing Foot? I found that to make sewing so much easier.

    1. I know what you mean - there seems to be so many descriptions of the same thing and its really hard to tell from pictures the differance.
      I use a Teflon foot but am trying a roller foot which seems good to - will do a proper comparison soon