Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Taming the plastic beast

If you think protecting your sewing projects is a good idea, and ever feel so inclined to sew with thickish plastic sheeting, here are some useful tips I have discovered. Hopefully you this way you don't have to learn them the hard, painful way like I did!
  • It gets deformed when you iron it. This probably common sense but I just didn't think of it - I tried to iron the first piece I cut out and it became terribly wrinkly and crumpled and almost impossible to sew. If you really need to iron it, put the heat down to the minimum and put some material between your iron and the plastic.
  • It's weirdly sticky. I tried to sew with it, and my presser foot just wouldn't let the material feed through like it normally does. I was freaking out thinking that was something wrong with my sewing machine and it took me a while to realise that the PVC was sticking to the shiny casing of my machine and hanging on for dear life. Try your best to make sure there's material between the plastic and any part of your machine, especially the foot.
  • It's terribly unforgiving. While it may not look it, a sewing machine's needle is actually quite wide. Once you sew through the plastic once, if you unpick it you won't be able to reuse that part of the plastic as it will have a lovely row of holes punched in it.
  • It builds up a lot of static electricity. This one sounds odd, but it means that dust and dirt will stick to it like glue. You need to make sure to wipe it down before you use it.
  • It's inflexible, and it gets stiffer with time. I had it folded up like the rest of my material swatches and just couldn't use the last of it as it had been folded up for too long and was overly crinkly. Try and get it rolled up for you when you take it home.

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