Can You Sew Vinyl with a Regular Sewing Machine? (Best Tips)

Can You Sew Vinyl with a Regular Sewing Machine?

You can not sew thick vinyl on a home sewing machine. It’s just not possible. The machine shake is just too much for the poor machine to handle. You need a sturdy enough machine for that. 

Because when it comes to sewing with many layers of vinyl your home sewing machine is going to be severely shaken up. This can scratch the needle and make it hard for the motor to run smoothly. 

Yes, it’s true you can get better results with a thicker thread, but the needle and motor are still in danger of damage.

Follow these steps for a better experience.

  • Walking foots (check here) can be used on sewing machines that have a drop-in bobbin, it will make your sewing process easier and less stressful. The walking foot will make your vinyl material glide under the machine with ease without getting stuck to the feed dogs. It also helps to move the material without marking it or leaving any unnecessary smudges. If you are using a Teflon foot or nonsticky foot, you can use this one instead of the walking foot.
  • Use polyester thread. It is sturdy enough for the material. Good quality all-purpose nylon thread will work as well.
  • Although the material is thin it is tough, you can use an ordinary sewing needle for thin vinyl but for thicker vinyl use denim sewing needles or Sewing machine needle no 16  ( buy here ). Do not use leather sewing needles as they will tear into the material. Change sewing needles after every project. A dull needle should not be used with this material as that will cause more wear and tear on your sewing machine and the risk of breaking increases and the vinyl tends to get stuck in the grooves of the needle which makes it very hard to remove from the machine.

  • Adjust the stitch length to 3 for ordinary stitching and 4 for topstitching. Lessen the pressure on the pressure foot.

With these tips, you can use your ordinary machine to sew two to three layers of vinyl. But for more layers and frequent use, look for a vinyl/leather sewing machine.

Some Tips Before Sewing with Vinyl

 When sewing with thick vinyl, incorporate a pretty fabric into the pattern. This will help to disguise the inevitable bulk at the seams and prevent unsightly lumps where straps, fastenings, and other detailed parts meet.

A proper clear working surface is a must for sewing. The best thing is to have your own table or to ask your parents/friends to give you one. If not, you can use the table in your room. Once you got the table, you need a proper lamp that is not too strong and not too weak. It should illuminate your workspace nicely.

If you are using your own table, I would recommend making it more comfortable by putting a good soft bed under the table. It will protect your wrists and hands from pain while working on it. It will also be more comfortable to work on it!

A large cutting surface. The vinyl is not going to bend and drape like cloth. You cannot bend and fold the material without damaging it.
Vinyl will stick to metal surfaces, so cover the area with a cotton cloth for ease of movement.

How to Mark and Cut Vinyl 

Use chalk to mark the pattern. If you can get your hands on Chaco liner pens ( check price here), nothing like it. A white pen is enough to mark fine thin lines. The marks will brush off easily enough. No need to say do not mark with ball pens. I have been foolish enough to do it once.

Use small plastic binder clips (it sale here) ( as you cannot pin or baste vinyl) to hold edges together.

Use a rotary cutter (buy from amazon.com) to cut vinyl for a smooth cutting experience. If you do not have one, use the sharpest scissors in your sewing basket.

Do I Need a Special Needle to Sew Vinyl?

Vinyl is a heavier, thicker fabric, so you’ll want a needle designed to handle the extra thickness without breaking. 

You can even use a Denim Twin needle (it sale here) for perfectly symmetrical stitches. A large universal sewing machine needle (16 or 18). For home dec projects, or sewing on lightweight fabric, a universal sewing machine needle ( check price here)  can be used. 

What Needle Do I Use to Sew Vinyl?

It depends on the material you are sewing with. If you are using a vinyl needle, you should not use a leather needle. Leather needles have a very sharp cutting point that will cut through the fabric, resulting in a weakened seam. Other than that, just use the material with your hand so that the seam is even. 

How Do You Bond Two Pieces of Vinyl Together?

When you’re gluing two pieces of vinyl together, it’s important to pick the right type of adhesive. It could make the difference between a successful project and an unsuccessful one.

Polyurethane glue is often called “clear glue,” because its solvent leaves no visible residue on the surface. This makes it a good choice when you want to glue vinyl that will be seen by the public, such as in a store display or window display. Polyurethane glue also cleans up easily with water, making it less messy than some other types of adhesives.

Although polyurethane glue can be used to adhere the vinyl onto certain surfaces, such as plastic or wood, it works best when bonding two pieces of vinyl together. Because the adhesive is clear and flexible, it will leave the vinyl smooth and free of any unsightly bubbles or raised spots in between the two pieces that are being bonded together.

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