We’ve had a lot of rainy days recently (that’s the British summer for you!) and while it’s been pretty gloomy at times, I’ve not felt as depressed, annoyed or frustrated as other people seem to have been.
As a crafter, I’ve never really struggled to find fun things to do on rainy days! Sewing projects are my favourite rainy day activity and at times when I’ve got an urgent sewing project to finish, I’d much prefer it to be raining outside than I was stuck inside missing a sunny day (on sunny days, I’d rather be knitting or crocheting outside!).
My most recent projects for Sewing World had a lot to do with rainy days. Not only did I make them on rainy days, I also made them for rainy days!
The first was a rain hat, made using a lovely oilcloth, Fly a Kite Circles by Riley Blake.
The second was a shopping bag for rainy days, using a different oilcloth, Rose Bouquet laminated by Joel Dewberry. You can buy the pattern for the bag at my Etsy store here.
I’m not sure which issues they’re going into but I’ll post again when I know.
I’d only worked with oilcloth once before, so I learned a lot about what you should and shouldn’t do!
Here are my top tips for sewing with oilcloth:
• Oilcloth is very slippery so before you sew, check, check and check again that the fabric is exactly where you want it! Then sew it slowly and carefully.
• To maintain the waterproofing abilities of oilcloth, be careful not to puncture it with pins while you’re working. Pinning pieces together will help you work with the slippery fabric, but if you do use pins, insert them only within the seam allowance edge so your item stays waterproof.
• Instead of pins, try using paperclips – they were my absolute saviour on this project! They will help you keep hems and fabric layers exactly where you want them. But don’t forget to remove them as you approach and don’t sew over them.
• Be careful not to iron the oilcloth directly because this can melt the laminate coating. Instead, place a piece of waste fabric over the oilcloth and then apply the iron, but only briefly.
• Choose a fairly long stitch length and test it on a spare scrap of oilcloth before sewing the real thing.
• Oilcloth usually has a cloth side and a slippery side, and it’s usually easier to sew in your machine with the cloth side up. When you’re topstitching oilcloth, it has a tendency to get stuck on the presser foot and the feed dogs become far less effective. So give it a bit of extra help moving evenly through your machine by pulling it gently with your hand. I’ve also seen suggestions of buying a Teflon foot or sticking a strip of masking tape to the underside of the presser foot, but I didn’t try this.