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Tips and tricks for sewing with oil cloth

Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Oil Cloth!

Have you sewn with oil cloth before? We have some handy tips and tricks for using this fab fabric!

1. NEEDLES - first up ensure you have a nice, new needle in your sewing machine. A standard size 80 will work well, however, oil cloth can be quite thick so a 90 or 100 size needle would be ideal.

2. CLIPS - these handy wonder clips are perfect to keeping your oil cloth in place when sewing, they don't leave little holes like pins do. For instance when you are hemming or top-stitching your oil cloth they keep the fabric folded back and in place ready for sewing, just remember to remove these as you start stitching. If you do use pins, remember to try and pin within the seam allowance, so the little holes will be hidden when your project has been sewn up!

3. WALKING FOOT - the oilcloth fabric itself is a type of coated cotton. See below for the top and underneath part of the fabric.You may find your regular sewing machine foot can become stuck to the TOP coated part of the fabric when sewing. This is where a walking foot will come in handy. You can buy them to fit your exact machine, the walking foot helps guide the oil cloth fabric through the machine with extra feed dogs on top of the fabric as well as the bottom of the machine. 

It's worth mentioning, when sewing the UNDER side of the fabric (the softer cotton part) you won't likely need a walking foot as the cotton will glide through your machine. This could be when sewing two pieces with right sides together. Or if you are stitching strapping onto the TOP part of your oil cloth (as we do in our Oil Cloth Tote Bag pattern) you may not require a walking foot as your regular sewing foot will glide over the strapping. We have a large range of strapping available HERE.

4. STITCH LENGTH - last but not least, when sewing with oil cloth, especially on the top part of the fabric it can help to lengthen your stitch length! Most machines have a standard 2.5mm stitch length, you can make this either 3 or 3.5 when sewing with oilcloth to help it through the machine more easily.

You can find our oil cloth fabrics via the website HERE.


  • Very good tips. Pleased I read this before starting sewing on oil cloth.

    Gail Arndt
  • Thanks for this.. Very helpful and useful before I start sewing my bag.

    Gail Arndt

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