My mother-in-law had to go on oxygen a few months ago. The bag they gave her is functional but that’s all. Paul and I wanted to give her an oxygen tank bag that was both functional and looked cute. We knew we could do it, we just needed to figure a few things out. The first was the fabric, we knew quilter’s cotton wasn’t going to hold up over time. My gut told me we needed to use oil cloth. Oil cloth has a coating over it that makes it easy to clean and the coating makes it more durable than plain cotton fabric. I just wasn’t sold on oil cloth but then I found laminated cotton and I was excited!!
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The problem was all of the oil cloth in my area looked like tablecloths. That’s what it’s typically used for so it kind of makes sense. Plus, oil cloth is made with forever chemicals that I didn’t want to expose my mother-in-law to them. While I went back to the drawing board for fabric I got an email about Splash Fabrics. They were interested in working together and they carry laminated cotton fabrics. It was a match made in heaven.
Picking The Right Fabric
Splash Fabrics currently has 29 prints for sale in half-yard increments and one of those prints is called Juanita, which is my mother-in-law’s name. See why my initial response was, this was meant to be? I’m picky about the companies I work with, you don’t see a lot of sponsored posts here.
After doing a little reading, I loved that their fabrics were laminated with urethane instead of PVC like old-school oil cloth. It also can be sewn without special items, they recommend a poly thread and a little longer stitch than what we use when piecing quilts. They also recommend you use a denim needle but best of all, it’s completely washable, dryer-safe, and it can be ironed. Splash Fabrics is also an environmentally friendly company based in Seattle. I couldn’t ask for more really.
Tips For Working With Laminated Cotton Fabric
Splash Fabrics was generous enough to send enough fabric that I could make two of these oxygen tank bags. I will share a pattern in a future post but wanted to separate the review from the pattern.
I use fine pins and they did not work well with this fabric when I needed to pin multiple layers. Binder clips held but they also got cumbersome. Then I tried fabric glue which worked well but I went through two sticks! That’s when I turned to good old-fashioned Elmer’s Washable Glue Sticks.
You can’t turn the tubes like you do with quilter’s cotton. I ended up gluing and then stitching on top. It honestly will probably hold up better with all the stitching through the layers than a traditional fabric strap.
All of this gluing is also why I used a piece of scrap fabric when ironing. Yes, you can iron the fabric without one but the lower temp setting didn’t dry the glue. So, I cranked my iron up and used the scrap fabric like a pressing cloth to protect the laminated cotton but still get enough heat in there to dry the glue.
Setting Up The Sewing Machine For Laminated Cotton
My stitch length was 3.5 mm and I did need to adjust the top tension on my machine. I also needed to use a leader/ender but since I had adjusted my machine for this specific fabric I just used a scrap of fabric instead of a quilt block.
I also upped my needle to a size 16 needle because the straps are THICK! The actual fabric was easy to go through. I would use a larger needle with cotton if I was doing that many layers anyway.
My Necchi BU is what I used to sew the laminated cotton fabric. What I found out was a slower speed worked the best. When I tried to go really fast the fabric didn’t feed as smoothly so my stitches were uneven.
Would I Use Laminated Cotton Again?
ABSOLUTELY!! I was looking at the fabric I had left after making the oxygen bags and I am sure there is enough left for me to have something. I don’t know what I’m going to make but I am excited to have something.
How Does Laminated Cotton Hold Up?
My mother-in-law has been using the first bag for about 6 weeks now. It looks just as good as it did when I gave it to her. She loves being able to wipe it down with a damp cloth.