Sewing with Vinyl: Tips and Tricks

Vinyl textiles are a non-woven material including materials like; clear film, synthetic leather, and plastic laminates. These materials can be versatile in sewing. In addition to being durable, vinyl fabrics can range from flexible to rigid.


When sewing with vinyl, there are a few steps and presser feet to make the process easier. Let’s explore them!

Fabric Characteristics of Vinyl

  • Does not fray
  • No grainline
  • Tears easily under stress
  • Damaged by heat or sun
  • Can crease permanently
  • Often waterproof or water-resistant

Care and Use of Vinyl

  • Avoid harsh cleaning products
  • Use water and/or mild detergent to clean
  • Wipe down with a soft cloth
  • Dry vinyl before sewing or storing

Recommended BERNINA Presser Feet for Sewing Vinyl

BERNINA has several presser feet designed for sewing over sticky materials like leather, vinyl and coated materials. These non-stick presser feet are identical in design to other presser feet, but they are made with a coating on the sole that allows them to move over the fabric easily. Generally, the presser foot will have a green-colored sole.

Zigzag Foot with Non-Stick Sole

Zigzag  Foot with Non-Stick Sole #52/52C/52D is a version of the Zigzag Foot #0 and is good for general all-purpose sewing. This foot will work well for straight stitch and zigzag stitching.

Straight Stitch Foot with Non-Stick Sole

Straight Stitch Foot with Non-Stick Sole #53 is a precision straight stitch foot with a narrow toe for topstitching.

Zipper Foot with Non-Stick Sole

Zipper Foot with Non-Stick Sole #54 is a 5.5 mm zipper foot with an adjustable guide and works with all BERNINA machine models regardless of the stitch width.

Open Embroidery Foot with Non-Stitck Sole

Open Embroidery Foot with Non-Stick Sole #56 is a version of Open Embroidery Foot #20 and is good for sewing heavy decorative stitches. This will sew patterns up to 5.5mm stitch width.

Tips for Sewing Vinyl

  1. Avoid creating permanent pinholes by using Clover Wonder Clips to hold layers together.

  1. Use a needle with a sharp point like a Schmetz Microtex needle—size 80/12 will work well for most standard threads. Topstitch needles can help to prevent skipped stitches.

  1. Increase your stitch length when sewing vinyl to keep from perforating the material.

  1. Reduce your presser foot pressure to move over the sticky material with ease.

  1. To avoid damaging the material, use a seam roller for pressing a seam—Clover Roll and Press.

There are so many wonderful things you can make with vinyl. I love it for bags and pouches that will have a lot of wear and tear. It can also make some great home dec projects like pillows and covers. Some materials work well in garments like coats, jackets and hats.

Here are a few of my favorite projects from the WeAllSew archive:

Fear No Fabric!

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