This week we're covering a new favorite item of mine: laminated cotton. All week I'll be sharing projects I've done & tutorials using this versatile & unique fabric.
What is laminated cotton? The name says it all - cotton that's been coated on one side with a thin layer of laminate to render it water-resistant. Much like oilcloth & vinyl, but not as stiff or sticky and, unlike those, it does not contain phthalates (aka bad-for-you chemicals that leach out of some plastics), so it's safe for baby & kid's projects. It's also ideal for any item you want to be easy to clean. Just wipe with damp cloth and it's fresh again. What's more, you can get some really great prints in laminated cotton - I snagged some from the gorgeous Amy Butler Love collection over at Fabric.com (but since this first laminates post I get nearly all of mine over at Laminates which has the BEST selection & prices) so it's both stylish and useful!
Tips on working with laminated cotton:
- Do not prewash - this is a wipeable fabric, but not meant to be fully washed.
- Keep fabric rolled when stored, folding it will leave creases that are tough to get out
- Don't use pins - they'll leave little holes, so use bobby pins to join fabrics
- It won't smoothly move under the sewing machine presser foot & feed dogs, so there are 3 techniques that will join the fabric together and allow you to keep your sanity as well as stitch in a straight line: bias tape, stitching wrong sides out and using tissue paper (more detail on this below)
1 yd of laminated cotton
1yd of the firmest batting you can find
1 package of double fold bias tape
Sewing notions (thread, rotary cutter/scissors, bobby pins, tissue paper)
Now to get started you'll need to either use a pre-existing cover to trace or measure your high chair sides and back to get the dimensions for your cover. You'll make two pattern pieces, one for the back+sides and the other for the seat and add a .5inch seam allowance around all sides.
Cut out two of each piece from the laminated cotton and the batting. Also cut six 16 inch pieces of bias tape to use for the ties that will hold the cover to your highchair. Fold in the raw edges of each piece and stitch down the "open edge" to finish the straps.
Now, sandwich the cut fabric pieces so that the right sides of the laminated cotton pieces are facing each other and in between the two pieces of batting like this:
For the back+sides piece, also fold your two front side ties in half and place in the middle of the front side parts, between the laminated cotton pieces. Hold in place with bobby pins. Remember that you'll want the fold of the ties to line up with the raw edge of the fabric (so the strips to tie together will be on the inside.
Sew around the sides & bottom, leaving the curved upper back part open:
For the seat piece, sew around the sides & front, leaving the back side open to turn:
Trim raw edges, clipping curves and then turn both pieces right side out. Carefully trim about .5 inch from the batting of the open side of the seat (this makes it a lot easier to stitch this side closed).
To finish the seat, fold the open edges of laminated cotton in and pin closed with your bobby pins. Take two of your remaining bias tape straps, fold in half and insert the folded bit about .5 inch in at each corner. To easily stitch this closed take a piece of tissue paper and wrap it around this side, so you have tissue on top & on bottom where you will be sewing. Stitch this side closed close to the edge and simply tear off tissue when done.
To finish the back+sides piece, encase the open edge in bias tape, holding it closed with bobby pins all around. To add the remaining two upper back ties, fold them in half and carefully tuck the folded parts under the bias tape you just added, one at each side before you sew it on (your exact placement will depend on your own highchair & where the best "tie-on" spots are, so feel free to move the ties as needed). Stitch bias tape on.
Now your custom, wipeable highchair cover is done!
You can follow this same technique to make padded chair covers, play mats & changing pads. What do you think would be a cool use for laminated cotton? If you've made something already, add it to our CraftShare Flickr pool. I've got more fun ways to use laminated cotton coming up, but I want to hear yours, so come on & share your ideas in the comments!
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