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21  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Re: How to make patent pvc matte? on: October 05, 2009 01:54:11 PM
I've had some luck with alcohol, but you have to try it first. It doesn't work with all kinds of vinyl, since there are just so many different chemical formulas of 'PVC', and a lot of it isn't vinyl today, it's polyurethane or a derivative of it, which holds up to just about anything you can put on it. I use reagent alcohol, not rubbing alcohol, which is a blend of ethyl, methyl, and isopropyl. Good luck getting it. One time I tried to clean some matte vinyl with it and it made it even shinier! And also, try some lacquer thinner, but not too much of it. That stuff usually eats anything and it should dull the patent. Experiment on a scrap bit first, if you can.
22  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Is pleather any more difficult to sew... on: June 01, 2009 10:19:28 AM
Personally, not having that much experience with regluar fabric sewing (I learned automotive upholstery) I find that sewing pleather is quite easy. The previous advice was so correct about the pin holes, so always pin inside the seam allowances. I also was told about the special feet, but since I bought one I found out that I absolutely hate it and it doesn't work any better than my old method; which is to use a silicone lubricant like Sewer's Ease, just a few drops on top of the material (for topstitching) but never had any problem sewing regular seams when the outsides are together. The lining of pleather is cloth, anyway, so it sews like normal. Just watch the pins. To do hems, I use a few dabs of ordinary rubber cement to hold the material in place until it is sewn. If you get any on the material, it just rubs off. I think the hardest part of the jacket would be the lining, if you plan to do that, not the outside. Good luck.
23  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: All seasoned sewers, I require Oilcloth assistance!! on: May 27, 2009 02:50:27 PM
I'm with x46. The jumper idea works fine. I did a couple out of vinyl for a '60s retro group, using some great vintage patterns (probably no longer available) like McCall's 7432 or New Look 6580. That one is superior and I have modified it considerably to use fabrics like that. You can't beat the ease of construction, and that kind of material looks better with zippers than it does with buttons, although snaps are acceptable, I guess. Just be sure to back them up with some other non-stretchy fabric so they won't pull through the oilcloth, which can tear rather easily.
24  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: All seasoned sewers, I require Oilcloth assistance!! on: May 24, 2009 07:17:37 AM
I have made stuff out of oilcloth in the past, notably a jacket, but that was years ago. That was for a rain outfit costume. A lot does depend on the pattern, because oilcloth really doesn't stretch. Use longer stitches, too, so it doesn't rip. Topstitching helps. Of course it doesn't breathe, but who cares, if it's in the name of fashion? Neither does PVC, and loads of people wear it for tons of things. If you want to make a dress, use a pattern like a jumper, and maybe something with a princess front. That's pretty safe and simple. Are you thinking about lining it? How heavy is the oilcloth? Sounds like a neat idea.
25  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Re: Making a stiletto heel into a wedge?! or at least making it look like it! on: March 21, 2009 06:26:14 AM
Not knowing what other people told you to do, I'm going to put my two cents in. I've never done anything like this before, but being an engineer I am intrigued with a possible solution. The fabric is acceptable, but I think it would look out of place. My suggestion would be a piece of leather or vinyl. You would have to glue it yourself, and the best glues to use for that would be a super-duty contact cement like Barge, or even perhaps an ACC-type (superglue), depending on what you have. They would both be permanent. But the problem remains that you still have a gap between the current heels and the sole. Here's my crazy idea, and it worked once before when I repaired the dashboard of my car. Turn the shoes upside down and fill the holes with an expandable foam. You can get aerosol cans for insulation at hardware stores, or you can buy the two-part stuff and mix it up a bit, then pour it in. It will expand A LOT so try it out before you actually do it to the shoes. If it comes over the top, fine. Just cut it off with a small saw when it hardens to the level of the soles/heels. That way you would have the rigidity of a full wedge heel without the weight, as if it were full wood/plastic/or whatever the rest of the sole is made of. You couldn't do the foam thing with fabric, because it would bulge out at the sides when it set. If the leather/vinyl was stretched tightly, it should be okay. It's an interesting problem, and I don't really care for wedge heels, but if you want to do it, fine. I think I like those shoes the way they are! What do you think?
26  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Boots on: March 08, 2009 08:32:41 AM

I couldn't find anyone to model them. They are made from shiny black vinyl with silver metalflakes in it and black leather-look vinyl for the trim. They were made on a pair of Candies slides. They're tight-fitting thigh-highs with just the slightest bend at the knees for better fit.
27  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: fabric adhesive? on: January 30, 2009 06:39:24 PM
Any time I have to glue anything fabric, there's one brand I swear by, not swear at: Fabri-Tac. Without a doubt, it is the best. I have done seams with it, if one can call them seams, and they haven't come out yet, even after years. Plus it holds to anything! Expensive, but worth it. It's one of those things I hope they never stop making. I do costumes for shows, and during the show I keep the bottle on hand for emergency repairs. Quick, and no horrible smell.
28  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Need help - trying to make fetish wear -WARNING GRAPHIC PIC on: January 30, 2009 06:34:39 PM
I've been sewing vinyl now for years, and I have never had any luck with either a walking foot or a teflon; I think I have had better results with using lubrication on the vinyl, even stretch patent. I use Sewer's Aid, which is silicone. It comes in a little bottle, and you put a few drops in front of the needle where you are sewing the seam. It lubricates the underside of the foot and the vinyl just glides through. It actually works better with thin vinyl than it does with thick. And also remember when you're sewing vinyl that pin holes never come out as they do with ordinary fabrics, so keep them within the seam margins. Another thing I found excellent, especially for seaming vinyl, is ordinary rubber cement. It's great for making narrow seams, and if you get it on the vinyl it just rubs right off.
29  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Grommets.... Best tools, Best Places to Buy, How to Install? on: January 28, 2009 04:14:52 PM
I've done grommets in canvas, so the technique would probably work in sails. Also on heavy theatre curtains. And light theatre curtains. And upholstery. Wow, I guess I put more in than I thought.

Anyway, the advice others gave on light ones is pretty sound. The larger grommets I found to use for the heavy curtains came from an automotive upholstery shop, and I bought the grommet setter many years ago, but I'll be darned if I remember where. I ordered it out of a catalog. Check with a local upholsterer. Those were definitely heavy-duty, two-piece affairs in brass. You'd need brass for sails, I guess, because they don't rust.

I agree with the concrete surface. But put a block of wood between the anvil and the concrete. That way you have less of a chance for misshapen grommets. The sizes range from about a quarter of an inch to an inch, center hole diameter, but you need individual tools for each size, unless since I purchased my set (about 20 years ago) they came up with universal setters. As I say, check with an upholsterer. Or maybe even people who rent tents. They use a lot of grommets and they require repair from time to time.
30  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Trouble with vinyl on: January 27, 2009 05:53:47 PM
I have been sewing vinyl for many years, everything from heavy upholstery to super-stretchy wet-look patent, and the only thing I have ever found to be worth its weight in gold was silicone lubricant. I just squirt a little bit (a drop or two) in front of the presser foot as the vinyl is going through and the stitches come out perfect every time. I like to do topstitching on vinyl, as it's the only way to really keep the seams flat.

You can get the silicone at almost any fabric store. It comes under the name Sewer's Aid, or something like that. I gave up using both the teflon foot and the roller when I found this stuff and I never sew vinyl without it. A couple of drops goes a long way. And it doesn't harm the sewing machine in any way. Silicone is also good fo the vinyl; it acts as a preservative. It's the primary ingredient in stuff like Armor-All and other rubber and vinyl preservatives. Try it and I'll bet you'll have no trouble with your vinyl seams. And I agree with you, I love working in that medium, too.

As far as the little indents go, I know what you mean. I had an older machine, but when I upgraded they went away. You can try lowering the force in your presser foot, if you can, but don't do it too much or the vinyl won't feed right. On my new machine, a fairly cheap one, you can't adjust the force.
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