Sewing with PUL

Sewing with PUL Fabric

Tips for Sewing with PUL Fabric

Today, we’re diving into the wonderful world of PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) fabric. It’s a specialty material that’s perfect for crafting waterproof items like cloth diapers, wet bags, lunch bags, and outdoor gear.

PUL is fantastic because it’s durable, flexible, and easy to wash. However, it can be a bit of a challenge to work with, combining the quirks of both knit fabrics and laminated materials like vinyl.

Sewing with PUL fabric

What is PUL fabric?

PUL fabric started out as knit interlock fabric that has been coated, or laminated, with a thin layer of polyurethane on one side making it waterproof, breathable, and flexible.

sewing with PUL

You’ll notice that the coated side has a shiny appearance and a slippery feel – that’s the wrong side, or the back side of the fabric. The printed or dull side is the front or right side, and it resembles knit interlock fabric.

How to Sew with PUL fabric

1. Use the Right Tools

PUL has its roots as knit fabric, so it’s a good idea to use tools that work well with stretchy materials:

  • Use a ballpoint needle, preferably in a smaller size, to help prevent holes and keep it from snagging or getting damaged.
  • Choose a longer stitch length (around 3.0-3.5mm) to minimize the number of tiny holes in the PUL.
  • Select a stretch stitch setting designed for knits (or a narrow zig-zag stitch) and experiment with your machine’s tension settings to find what works best.

2. Avoid Pins

Holes are permanent in PUL, making it less water-resistant, so avoid using pins:

Sewing with PUL fabric Sewing with PUL fabric

  • Instead, try pattern weights to keep the slippery PUL in place when cutting with scissors or use a rotary cutter with a ruler and cutting mat.
  • Use clips, like Wonder Clips, hairpins, or clothespins, to secure seams without the risk of creating holes.
  • Try double faced seam tape instead of pinning with zipper placement
  • If you do need to pin or clip, do it within the seam allowance to keep any visible holes in the final product to a minimum.

3. Ease the Fabric

PUL can be a bit sticky, slippery, and stretchy, making sewing a challenge:

sewing with PULsewing with PUL

  • If the back side of PUL is sticking to your sewing machine, try placing tissue paper underneath it to reduce the stickiness. It’ll tear right off after stitching.
  • Use a Teflon foot or non-stick foot to help the fabric move smoothly. If you don’t have one, you can try attaching clear Scotch tape to the bottom of your sewing machine foot.
  • Using a walking foot attachment can help feed the PUL evenly through the machine, preventing puckering or stretching when sewing PUL to other materials.

4. Practice Patience

Sewing with PUL requires some patience, especially if you’re new to it:

  • Take your time and enjoy the process. Grab a cup of tea and don’t rush through your project.
  • Test your settings on scrap pieces of PUL before you start sewing, as ripping out stitches can damage the fabric.
  • When sewing PUL to other materials, it helps to place the PUL fabric on the bottom and the other fabric facing up on your machine to ease the fabric through the feed dogs.

How to care for PUL fabric

Sewing with PUL fabric

  • Don’t iron your PUL fabric, as direct heat can melt the laminate. If you absolutely must iron, then set your iron to a low to medium heat and place a pressing cloth between the iron and the PUL.
  • Wash on cold and line dry. Technically PUL can be machine dried on low, but you really don’t want to risk the laminate separating which can happen with high heat.

What to make with PUL fabric

Sewing with PUL fabric Sewing with PUL fabric Sewing with PUL fabric

Start with a simple PUL sewing project, something that you’ll actually use. Below are a few of my easy sewing patterns and tutorials that use PUL.

  • Reusable Sandwich Wrap is the easiest beginner sewing project using PUL.
  • Velcro Wet Bags are a nice beginner friendly project that work for so many uses.
  • Zippered Snack and Sandwich Bags are a great beginner project with a super easy zipper installation method that’ll make you feel like a pro.
  • The Kitchen Wet Bag is a must have for the eco-friendly kitchen. Hang it from your oven or cabinet to easily store paperless towels and snack bags headed for the wash.

Remember, practice makes perfect! With a little experience, you’ll become more comfortable and confident sewing with PUL fabric.

Happy Sewing!

Joanne

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