Member since 6/21/11
Date: 6/21/11 1:09 AM
I need to make a clear vinyl Levi jacket for a stage costume, any tips/ hints? Using 8oz vinyl. Haven't tried yet but hoping i can press seams with a pressing cloth, anyone tried it? Not sure how to treat enclosed seam allowances that will show, such as at the collar stand. Also want to do flat felled seams but not sure how to approach it since I usually sew the seam regularly then do the felled seam but that first line of stitching would show in clear vinyl, any suggestions?
Member since 1/20/08
In reply to Lady Prisspott
Date: 6/21/11 8:41 AM
You can't treat vinyl like regular fabric.
You need to use a teflon foot or a roller foot. You can't use pins, since pinholes won't close. I use binder clips from the office supply whenever I sew with leather or vinyl.
You can't press it. In leather, for example, seams are pressed with a rolling tool and glue is used where necessary.
As for the flat felled seams, no vinyl that I have ever handled would allow that. I would suggest practicing on scraps to see if it is even possible.
Member since 3/13/10
Date: 6/22/11 1:29 AM
There are invisible threads. i have a spool and I think it's called monofilament thread and it's GREAT!
On the jacket could you sew the first seam with invisible and then open it and sew each seam allowance to the jacket. I'm sure there is a technical name for that but I don't know it.
DEFINITELY use a teflon foot or roller foot. And I would use tear away stabilizer or tissue paper under it so the feed dogs don't chew on it.
BTW, I'm "new" so maybe you will get some more experienced people with better suggestions but at least this will get you started.
Member since 4/8/08
In reply to Lady Prisspott
Date: 6/22/11 9:04 AM
Definitely want to use a teflon foot -- I found it worked a lot better than a walking foot. You will need to protect the underside as well from the feed dogs although lowering the pressure of the presser foot can sometimes help.
Pressing vinyl is almost impossible without damaging/melting the vinyl. I have found that a hair dryer on low can work for creasing but it takes a little more time and is easier if you have an extra set of hands.
Using invisible thread as mentioned above is one option although it can be a pain to work with in the bobbin. Personally I would try to pick a thread that blends in as much as possible (a very light grey maybe). If you use the hair dryer method to "press" then the seam stitches should be pretty much invisible as they would be on the pressed "fold" -- does that make any sense.
You could also make the thread colour a feature of the design -- like the gold thread on denim jackets.
Good luck with this -- leave yourself extra time as vinyl will require a lot of patience.
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"
2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
73.125 yards sewn (as of 10/21/14)
135.5 yards purchased (as of 10/21/14)
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Member since 7/23/07
Date: 6/22/11 9:37 AM
I have done a tiny amount of vinyl sewing and one thing to think about is that making small holes in a line is a good way to make vinyl tear, so you have to make sure you aren't going to just rip your vinyl the first time the garment is worn. I was sewing fabric-backed vinyl onto interfacing and woven fabric, so I had a safety feature you won't have.
I did make my stitches longer so there would be bigger spaces between the needle holes, so I would suggest doing that. I would be inclined to use some glue of some sort to hold the seam allowances down, if needed.
And for the thread, you could also try matching it to whatever is underneath the jacket. But I think you said this was for stage? If so, you can get away with not worrying so much about that as it likely won't be seen from a distance. If you want the appearance of top stitching, I would suggest using a sharpie marker.
ETA - I am dying to know why you need a clear vinyl Levi jacket!!
-- Edited on 6/22/11 9:39 AM --
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Member since 3/11/03
Date: 7/4/11 7:23 PM
For what it's worth. I iron vinyl. Disclaimer. It's the vinyl that has a knit backing. I underlined it with cotton broadcloth and ironed the seams down. I did it on the wrong side. If I had not underlined it, I would use a cotton presscloth. It goes without saying, wrong side only. I wouldn't iron on the right side, even over a press cloth. So this really doesn't apply to the OP who wanted to sew on clear vinyl, sorry.
Member since 12/13/08
In reply to Michelle L
Date: 7/5/11 6:16 PM
Quote: Michelle L
In leather, for example, seams are pressed with a rolling tool and glue is used where necessary.
I second looking into glue as a construction option. I know that latex (such as movie costumes like the catsuit worn by the woman here) is seamed with glue instead of stitching. It makes a noticeable seamline, where the two layers overlap (see the lines coming down from the actress's collarbone, across her bust), so that would help with the illusion of the thick, flat-felled seams of denim. You would probably then be able to do topstitching if desired, and the glue would help the layers of vinyl hold together, and not rip along the perforations of the needle holes.
And I, too, desperately want to know why you need a clear vinyl jacket! A ghost, maybe?!
~Gem in the prairie
Member since 10/30/06
Date: 7/5/11 7:48 PM
Instead of flat felled seams, I would use lapped seams. The 2 rows of stitching would look flat felled.
If you wait for the perfect time to start, you'll never start.
Member since 3/19/09
Date: 7/6/11 5:58 PM
I agree with the rollar foot or tephlon foot. Rorst case us the tear away stablaizer to help. I just finished making several items out of pleater ( IE faux leather) I pressed mine, BUT I had thick pressing cloth. I tested on scraps, and I only heated it long enough to make it pliable. I then "Set" the seam by using a a block of wood, wrapped in a terry towel that had been in the freazer for a good 15-30 minutes to make it cold. Think of it as a black smith heating metal then quenching it. I have gotten some nice sharp corner that way, but I have also got some marks on my projects when I wasn't careful and let metal touch plastic.
all I can say is BECAREFUL!!
Word of advice, DO NOT use lubricant when sewing. Some books recomend using silicone based lubricants, or even cooking spray to help with the presser foot. All it does is gum up your machine, and cause a costly repair.
"Costume Tech's are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated except to those designers, actors, directors, playwrights, and other theater artists who depend on them." - The Costume Technicians Handbook
Member since 9/9/03
Date: 7/8/11 1:12 PM
The clear vinyl I tried to sew wanted to stick to the throat plate. I used tissue paper on both sides. It was an emergency repair to a boat top, and I didn't have a teflon foot with me. Use the longest stitch length you have.