PVC coated cotton skirt

I wasn’t sure whether to post about this skirt because it’s not really finished. I mean it could be – since the fabric barely frays I could claim that I am happy with it being un-hemmed. Realistically though I’m not going to finish it because it didn’t turn out right and the hem will take way too long for something I might not ever wear. I wanted to talk about it anyway though, because it was a learning experience (like most of my sewing is!).


Whenever I shop at The Fabric Store I usually try to find something unique that I couldn’t get elsewhere. I went in there during the 40% off sale and was blinded by the discount into thinking that this PVC coated cotton was that special piece. I think I was influenced by the scuba/neoprene garments that have been around lately and thought this fabric would give a similar structured look.


I decided to use McCalls 6842 again but used slightly smaller seam allowances this time to give myself a bit more breathing room. It’s come up a little big though so I will need to figure something out if I make it again. (It’s hard to explain but I think it is ok around the waist but needs to be tighter around the pelvis. It looks really bad from side-on).

This fabric is really easy to sew but so hard to press. Impossible to press. I used a press cloth and tried different settings etc.  The seams don’t sit flat at all and I wasn’t able to do the exposed zip insertion as well as I’d like (there are little points at the bottom). A more skilled (and patient) seamstress could probably tame PVC coated cotton, but not me.


Once it was clear that this was not going to turn out the way I wanted I lost interest and began thinking ‘where am I ever going to wear this?’. After a few months of it sitting on the shelf, I forced myself to sew down the facing due to my self imposed ‘must finish or bin 2014’s UFOs before starting new projects’ – but I still can’t bring myself to finish the hem. I know that turning and pressing won’t work due to the thickness, so it would have to be bias binding which I can’t be bothered spending the time and money on.


Anyway, my lesson from this (and a couple of silk projects late last year) is that I don’t like working with difficult fabrics and the problems they cause kill my sewing mojo. My machine is very low-level and a few functions don’t work like they should so it’s not as easy for me to wrangle special fabrics into submission. For instance I can’t adjust my stitch length at all. I would love to upgrade but I am always flitting between hobbies am it is hard to justify to my guy that I need a new road bike one week and a new sewing machine the next. I’m sure it’s the same for everyone! If I manage to do a good year of sewing I think I will treat myself next year.

It bores me to say it but I think I am going to have to take a step backwards and focus on doing the basics well for a little while. (Then again, we sewers are always saying we’ll do something then reneging – stash busting/re-using patterns etc).

Thanks for bearing with me through another moan! It’s not really a moan, for one thing I’m glad that I didn’t pay full price for the fabric and I do have a little more experience with exposed zip. It actually doesn’t look terrible to me in these photos but I think the mental damage is done!

I am struggling to do much sewing at the moment because it is so warm. I just want to find a shady spot or some water to sit in and can’t bear the thought of concentrating on details. We are trying to put a big shade sail over our back deck for some relief, but it involves digging holes into concrete and getting guys around to check where electrical and plumbing lines run and.. ugh so much harder than it should be. In New Zealand people are obsessed with buying houses and renovating etc, and it does seem like a fun idea until you get into one and realise that 90% of the work that your house will require is boring (expensive!) stuff like fixing leaking pipes and installing gates etc. Anyway I don’t know why I’m complaining, I love summer, but yes.. not much sewing happening.

Let me know if you come across PVC coated cotton and are compelled to make something with it 🙂


6 thoughts on “PVC coated cotton skirt

  1. PVC coated cotton certainly sounds interesting… This actually looks pretty good on you though, at least in the photos. How about just folding it over once and using a some sort of ribbon to cover up the edge on the inside to avoid bulk?

  2. Your zip is so nice and neat! I haven’t thought about trying this fabric and it’s a shame it added extra stress to your project. In all honesty I used to feel very ‘meh’ about bias binding too but I have grown to love it 🙂

    • Oh thanks! Yeah the sewing in of the zip was not difficult just turning the little flaps down the bottom. I thought that unpicking might leave holes in the fabric, so better not to. I don’t mind bias binding but circle hems go on forever!

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