Laminating fabric is the process of coating the fabric with a layer(s) of something. Zede and Mallory generally use a product called Heat ‘n Bond Iron on Vinyl to laminate fabric, though there are other similar products on the market. Heat ‘n Bond is a vinyl product that adheres to fabric with a heat application. It makes the fabric have a shiny appearance and gives it a water resistant quality.
Mallory recalls being inspired to laminate fabric by a previous Zede’s Sewing Studio customer who splatter painted fabric with her kids and then laminated over it to preserve their artwork. The customer sewed the fabric into a cute, personalized bag. Mallory took a crayon drawing that Zede had made with her then very young grand daughter Kathryn and printed it out on printable fabric paper. She then laminated this fabric and sewed her own bag. Mal followed the manufacturer’s directions for the Heat ‘n Bond but wrote a blog post about her experience with the product so she could share some helpful hints for lamination success.
Supplies Needed To Laminate Fabrics
- an iron or press – a press can be very handy for larger fabric pieces
- 2 large teflon pressing sheets – Mallory and Zede highly recommend using these
- laminating vinyl
- product directions – keep these! Different products will have different heat times and settings
How To Laminate Fabric
- cut and prepare fabric to the size you need
- lay one teflon press sheet on the ironing board or press
- lay fabric on top of the teflon sheet
- peel the backing paper off the vinyl
- lay the vinyl on the fabric, sticky side against fabric (shiny side facing you)
- place another large teflon press sheet on top
- press this laminating sandwich with an iron or press following manufacturer’s guide for heat temp and pressing time
This process can of course be done without the teflon pressing sheets by using the paper backing that is peeled off the vinyl. Zede and Mallory really like and recommend the teflon sheets because they protect the ironing boarding, iron, press, and your fabric from any accidental vinyl transfer. Take our word for it, cleaning up vinyl stuck to your iron is no fun and takes forever – if you are even lucky enough to get it all removed.
Zede’s Tips for Ironing on Vinyl
- Press – do not move the iron in a back and forth motion. Press the iron down and pick it straight up, move to an unpressed area and repeat.
- Read all the manufacturer’s directions before starting – they will list heat settings and pressing times
- Follow the directions – this is a no brainer, try to reduce distractions because even a few seconds too long and you can overheat the vinyl
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How To Sew With Laminated Fabric
- Perks of sewing with laminated fabric- edges won’t fray. This means you don’t have to worry about finishing off raw edges (unless you really want to) because the vinyl secures the fabric.
- No baby powder needed – seriously do NOT put baby powder on your machine! Mallory and Zede have seen this suggested on a sewing TV show and urge you never to do this. Powder and oil = bad, this will not help you sew with vinyl but could cost you lots of money in machine repairs
- Teflon presser foot? – this can be great on vinyl and PUL type fabrics for topstitching or when the foot of the machine is actually touching the vinyl. This isn’t always the case as many seems are made with fabrics right sides together.
- Feed dogs on vinyl – they can mark up the vinyl. Mal and Zede recommend using a tear away stabilizer strip or regular printer paper to keep the feed dogs from coming in contact with the vinyl. Both can be easily pulled away from the stitching line. They do not recommend tissue paper – this is too flimsy and thin and can get chewed up by the feed dogs and could end up in your machine.
- Use a longer stitch length – default stitch length is generally 2.5mm, they suggest a 3.5mm and testing before stitching on your final project, maybe a 4mm would be better?
- Use a larger needle – a denim needle is larger and coated with teflon, a microtex is very sharp and has good piercing power
Zede and Mallory find laminated fabric very versatile and fun to stitch with. You can quilt on it, embroider, appliqué, sew items that are easy to clean and use the lamination to preserve printed or hand-drawn fabric artwork.
- Mal binds books in Paris and compares her book cover lamination process to fabric lamination
- Zede and Mal use grand daughter Kathryn’s art to make a pencil pouch for her using printer fabric
Links – Some are affiliate links to products we mentioned and love using
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