Vinyl leathers are quite fashionable and may be found in all fabric departments. These simulated leathers have a grained-leather appearance and are backed with cotton knit, which gives some stretch to the fabric. They actually have the look and feel of genuine leather, are washable and easy to care for. Do not dry clean vinyl.
Choose a pattern with simple lines. Raglan or kimono sleeves are the easiest to work with. Topstitching and self facings can be used if the vinyl is light-weight. Jacket and coat fronts and collars may be interfaced with light-weight interfacing. Carefully alter and fit the pattern before cutting and stitching. Stitching, when removed, leaves marks. Linings are optional, but add to appearance of the garment and to wearing comfort. Be sure to choose a washable lining.
It is best to keep the synthetic leather fabric rolled until ready to cut. Fold right sides out when cutting double layers. Pins leave holes so only use in seam allowances. The pattern pieces may be weighted or taped down while cutting.
For marking, use chalk or pencil. Use paper clips or tape to hold the seam edges. Include a woven seam binding in the seams that stretch easily, such as waist or sleeve seams. Use a medium-long stitch, 8-10 stitches per inch. Small stitches tend to cause vinyl to tear. Be sure to test a scrap first. Topstitching can be used on lightweight vinyls, 6-8 stitches per inch. Use a sharp, medium needle, size 14. Mercerized cotton or dacron and cotton thread should be used. For decorative stitching, use buttonhole twist. Use a piece of tissue paper between the vinyl and metal surface of the presser foot or throat plate to prevent the vinyl from sticking.
Darts should be tapered to a point and slashed, then finger-pressed open. The last few stitches of the dart should be on the fold. Do not backstitch the darts. Each side of the dart can be topstitched if desired, or press the dart to one side and topstitch through all thicknesses.
Seam edges can be held open with a fabric glue, or when underlining is used, held down with overcast stitches caught to the underlining.
To make a topstitched seam, finger-press the seam allowance to one side of the garment, stitch 1/8 inch in from the seam line, through the seam allowance. For a double topstitched seam, finger-press the seam open and topstitch on each side of the seam line. Use a welt seam if desired.
Try grosgrain ribbon for the waist-band to prevent stretching and bulkiness. On skirts that do not have a waistband, use a firm interfacing for inside facing rather than vinyl.
Bound buttonholes are easily made on vinyl fabric. Machine made buttonholes have a tendency to stretch, so a firm interfacing must be used.
Turn the hem at the desired length and machine stitch 1/4″ from the raw edge. Hems may be glued or hand stitched by catching one or two threads in the knit backing. Be careful and do not pull the stitching too tight.