Today I had my first custom order for a GRACE baby change bag made from Cotton laminate, similar to the oilcloth bags from Cath Kidston. I must admit to a little trepedation when I had to order the fabric from Plush Addicts as chosen by the customer. I had not worked with cotton laminates before but had read lots of reviews and tips which recommented needing a special foot for sewing machines which worried me. I wondered whether I would need to order a special Foot for my Janome to sew cotton laminate. I looked at the most popular:
- The Janome Ultraglide foot is made of a special resin so it glides across fabrics that would otherwise be “sticky.”
- The Janome Roller foot as we’re sure you can guess, has a roller on it that is textured to hold onto an otherwise slippery surface as it helps to guide the fabric under the needle.
- The Janome Even Feed (or Walking) foot is the one which I already had. This foot has its own set of feed dogs so the fabric is being fed under the needle from the top (with the foot’s feed dogs) and the bottom (with the machine’s feed dogs) simultaneously. But this did not ‘Hold’ the fabric for the pattern I was using.
In the end, I just went with my gut feeling and worked by trial and error with my usual ‘suck it and see‘ philosophy! I must admit my custom designed pattern for the GRACE baby change bag did not work directly with the specialist fabric, even with trying to use the ‘walking’ foot. Every option I tried, had to be rethought onto how I could achieve the desired results. Even the standard top stitching was a challenge for me. In the end, I found that as long as I was stitching the laminate to either itself or another fabric it could be acheived without a major problem. The main problems were, when the laminate was next to the sewing machine foot or machine feed dogs. That was when sewing the fabric casued a major problem to me. Cottom laminate is a fabulous easy cae wipe clean option, as long as it is used in a simple pattern. I had to scale down some features of the GRACE bag for this fabric. However, as i tried to stitch direct to the shiny sticky qualiaites of the fabric, I realised it didnt need a new expensive foot on the sewing machine, but a way of reducing the friction between the fabric and the foot or feed dogs. Toilet paper! yes you read that right, I nipped to the loo and had an epiphany. If I used a single ply layer of loo roll (or other such transparent tear away tissue) between the shiny laminate fabric and the sewing machine foot or feed dog it should reduce the friction. So on making the bag sewn with lovely owl laminate fabric, bear in mind that without creative use of toilet paper (or an expensive additional specialist machine foot) it was not possible to create!
This specific bag was designed for Kelly and is matched with her choice of owl laminate fabric for a wipe clean baby change bag similar to the Cath Kidston bags. It was designed to match the colours to her Phil and Ted turquoise buggy with additional specification attachments on external handle to clip to her buggy. As long as custom modification requests are agreed up fron they can be worked into the design.