Posted by: JoAnna | May 22, 2010

Adventures with Oil Cloth

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been admiring the oil cloth at Purl, especially their super cute Etsuko Furuya Echino prints.   I needed to make a cover for my sewing machine and the pattern in the S.E.W. Sew Everything Workshop book calls for oilcloth.  I considered making the cover in canvas or some other heavy fabric, but then I figured it would be easier to clean if it were made of a laminated material. 

The Etsuko Furuya oil cloth is crazy expensive ($27/yard!), but the sewing machine cover will be the first thing you see in my craft area, so I decided to invest in some cute fabric.  This is definitely one of those times where it’s much cheaper to just buy a sewing machine cover (you can buy a clear plastic cover for around $3), but that wouldn’t be fun at all.  At least I didn’t need a full yard!

For the pattern, I ended up using a modified version of Spool’s Sewing Machine Cozy.  I liked the angled sides of the Spool pattern versus the one in the S.E.W. book.  Although after I increased the width of the top to 6″, it didn’t turn out so angled in the end. 

The most difficult part was cutting out the pieces.  I used a rotary cutter, so it was easy to make the straight lines, but the fabric wasn’t cut straight on one side and the pattern made it hard to figure out what would be parallel to the fabric design.

For the sewing, I read that you need either a Teflon or roller presser foot to sew oilcloth, so it doesn’t get stuck.  I also read you could put masking tape on the bottom of your regular foot, so I thought that I’d try it out.  In the end, I don’t think I needed to do anything special since I only sewed on the wrong side of the fabric (which wasn’t laminated).


I also read conflicting information about the needle.  Some people said that you should use a regular needle so there are smaller holes in the oilcloth.  Others said to use a heavier needle, like the kind you use with denim.  I ended up using a regular needle since the fabric I was using wasn’t true oil cloth (it’s actually laminated cotton). 

I had some issues with the stitches, and originally thought that I should’ve went with the heavier needle, but my mom informed me that the bobbin needed adjusting.  After I was done, the bobbin area looked a little askew, but I didn’t make the connection at the time.

I also read that you should use a longer stitch length so there would be less holes in the oil cloth, but when I tried it on my sample piece, you could see the stitches on the opposite side and the fabric wasn’t pulled tight enough together.  So I stayed at a 2.2 stitch length.  But I have a feeling that this may have been due to the bobbin issue too.

Here are two pictures of the stitch issues I was having (see the knots and the random loose stitches?).


In the end I think the cover came out really nice.  But really, can anything look bad in this beautiful fabric?!


The Spool pattern hems the bottom of the cover and the S.E.W. pattern uses bias tape.  I decided to leave mine unfinished for now since the oil cloth has a clean cut.

Project Stats
Pattern: Modified version of Spool’s Sewing Machine Cozy pattern, influenced by the Sewing Machine Cozy pattern in the book, S.E.W. Sew Everything Workshop
Time: A couple hours (the most time spent cutting)
Fabric: 3/4 yard
Notions: Thread


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