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pieces so all arrows are parallel to the fabric selvage—that stripe of fabric at the edge where there is no vinyl coating. For both types of PVC, the grainline must be followed in pattern layout to ensure a garment stretches in the right places. 2-way should stretch around the body, for proper fit and easy bending at the waist, elbows and knees. Grainline is even more important for home décor patterns, because curtains and slipcovers will sag if the stretch is improperly arranged along the vertical hang.
Professional designers recommend allowing stretchy fabrics to settle on your cutting surface for 24 hours before tracing and cutting. Hold pattern pieces in place with fabric weights, and trace lines with tailor’s chalk or disappearing ink fabric marking pens. Water-soluble fabric marking pens may be used if the instructions say it can be washed out in cold water. Never use a tracing wheel, tailor tacks, or thread tracing, as these methods will leave puncture marks in the finished article. Cut fabric with sharp scissors, stopping occasionally to allow fabric to settle back into place. Pinning
Pinholes are permanent in vinyls and all leather-like fabrics. For best results on seams, use double-faced basting tape instead. Apply tape within the seam allowance, at the cut edge of fabric. Basting tape sticks easily to PVC with the lightest touch and keeps the fabric from curling or stretching as you sew. It can be removed cleanly by peeling, or simply cut away after stitching when the seam allowance is graded. If you must pin, use extra-fine dressmaker pins well within the seam allowance, and always use a thimble. Although PVC is a medium-weight fabric, pushing pins through the fine knit and vinyl coating requires a firm steady push. Choosing appropriate needles and thread
Although PVC is backed in a knit, you should not use a ball point needle, because it will tear ugly holes in the Polyurethane. Instead, use a sharp size 11 in your machine for seam construction and topstitching. Use a “leather” needle to baste in zippers. Leather needles are heavyweight needles designed with a razor tip to cut through leather and leather-like fabrics that resist normal needle piercing. This makes them a terrific choice for machine sewing through both PVC and zipper tape in a single line of stitching. The special groove down the front of the needle protects the thread against breakage due to from friction as the needle slips into the thick fabric layers. If you will hand sew, then use a # 7, 8, or 9 Sharp needle. Again, use a thimble to push pins into PVC.
Because PVC stretches, the thread it is sewn with must stretch also. Polyester has the best give when twisted into thread. 100% Polyester thread is recommended for normal seam construction, but all-purpose thread that contains at least 60% polyester will suffice and is often easier to find in stores. Do not use all-cotton thread. It is a common misconception that since cotton thread is stronger it will support stretchy knits. Cotton thread is “strong” because it does NOT stretch, and, in fact, may shrink when washed to leave puckered seams in non-cotton fabrics.