Sewing with Plastic/Waterproof Fabrics: Some inspiration and tips.


Last week I decided to make my own changing mat ahead of baby's arrival. I wanted to make my own so that I could have a bit more control over the design- what it can hold, how it looks, etc, and because I thought I could make it cheaper than I could buy it.  

 DIY Changing Mat


The idea behind the design is that as well as being a place to set baby while changing, it contains everything I'll need to carry with me to do so. It's designed to close up when its full by folding around itself and closing with a button.

Inside the mat there are two sets of pockets. One zip pocket on the inside and two open topped pockets on the back. In the mat itself I can fit...

A full packet of baby wipes
About 5 nappies
A tube of nappy cream
About 10 cotton pads
A packet of nappy bags

DIY Changing Mat

The changing area measures 15 1/2 by 22 1/2 inches (which is bigger than some of the others I looked at). I measured it out so that the mat will fit in my changing bag widthwise. I also popped 80/20 wadding between the plastic front and back and some extra wadding around where the baby's head will be.

I haven't sewn much with wipe clean/plastic fabrics in the past and thought it might be helpful to some of you to share what I learned while sewing this little number up. So here are a few tips:

This fabric really isn't all that pinnable. Firstly, its just really hard to pin multiple layers of it. By the time I was binding this item, I had two layers of the plastic fabric, wadding and binding to try to pin, and it really wasn't easy. I bent a lot of pins in the process. Also, pins make permanent marks and they're not as effective in keeping the fabric in place as they are with cotton. This is a bit of a problem because you can't iron the fabric either, so keeping it in line as you construct and sew can be a bit of a nightmare.

So after going through the trauma of sewing this project up, I finally bought wonder clips. Until now I always thought they were a bit superfluous when you can pin or use kirby grips to hold cotton binding in place, but now I understand that there are some things my alternatives just can't do as well. So sewing this fabric has finally made me invest in them. (Not much, they're not very expensive.)

Do not even think about trying to hand stitch that binding on the back.

Machine Foot.
There is also a Teflon foot which you can buy for your machine. This helps prevent the plastic from sticking to the bottom of the metal foot. I haven't bought one of those yet but I think I'll try it for my next plastic project!

Hope this helps and that it answers some questions about sewing with plastic fabric! If there's anything else you'd like to know, feel free to ask a question.

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