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Oil Cloth


I wanted to say a couple of things about oil cloth. It is bit different from plastic table cloth fabric. It has more weight to it. So it lays flatter and I think it is easer to cut. Which is nice for things like lining a drawer. Also the back has a slight web pattern, as apposed to the fuzzy back. It does not slip around. So when looking at cloth keep the weight and back in mind. Here is some info about oil cloth.


What is oilcloth?
Today's oilcloth is a vinyl that is bonded and supported with a coven cotton mesh. The surface can be wiped clean. The fabric has been tested and passes the National Fire Protection Agency 701 classification for commercial and residential use.
Oilcloth is waterproof and stain resistant. Fading may occur under direct sunlight for extended periods of time since the oilcloth does not contain a UV inhibitor.

How do I care for oilcloth?
You can wipe oilcloth clean using a warm, soapy sponge then dry it off with a soft cloth. Machine washing is not suggested. Store folded or rolled. Any creases from folding will smooth out over time-- faster in a warm environment. If you want to speed the process up you could use the steam setting on an iron with a pressing cloth between the iron and the oilcloth (DO NOT TOUCH THE IRON TO THE OILCLOTH).

What can I use oilcloth for?

Here are just some ideas-- table covering, lunch bags, dog food mat, high-chair mat, book cover, beach bag, shelf liner, apron, wallet..... what ever you would like to be pretty and waterproof!

How wide is the oilcloth?
The oilcloth is 47" wide.

What if I need a piece that is wider than 47"?
Oilcloth can be sewn using a size 16 sharp needle on your machine. If you are going to sew it by hand, I would nice heavy duty needle and a thimble. To strenghen your seams, you may want to seal them with a bead of silicone glue (available at most art supply or hardware stores). Silicone glue dries clear and flexible.
How do I hem oilcloth?
One of wonderful qualities of oilcloth is that the raw edges will not unravel or fray. If you are doing a tablecloth you can just cut a nice straight edge, or use pinking shears for a slightly decorative edge.

Thanks to Jody and Kim here are links to order on-line. I looked for you Canada ladies but did not find anything. I noticed a few on-line stores ship to Canada. Good luck !!!
A Bainbridge Island favorite Esters
Check out thier project page


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Clarice, I can always rely on you to post about something I am interested in! I have been wanting to try oilcloth for a long time, especially for some I have some great sources for it.
Thank you!!!

Copper's Wife

Thanks for another great post!! And thanks for your kind e-mail. I just got it today as it was caught, for some weird reason, in the spam filter. I did know there was a difference between oil cloth and the vinyl tablecloth material; but you really gave me a great education on this wonderful stuff!! Thanks so much. Especially for the sewing and on-line ordering info.


Beautiful photos! Thank you for telling us about oil cloth. I will be looking for it next time I go to the fabric store!!



I love the information about oil cloth. I love this stuff and can't believe I haven't used it before. I covered the children's art table with some oil cloth. I also bought some to be the ground cover for a soon to be picnic quilt. Amazing stuff.


I love the totes in the look so fun!
You always have such wonderful ideas...please come to visit Ohio!


Loved the projects picture at the top of this post! Now I wish I had ordered more than one color/print, but I'll order again sometime. Thank you for bringing Oilcloth, an age-old friend, back to the forefront. It's a timeless fabric, don't you think?


Thanks, you have answered all my oil cloth questions. Now I just have to find some here in little Tassie.


Wow, great post Clarice! Thank you for taking the time to research and share all of this useful information.
Great links as well! Thanks to Jody and Kim for those as well!
I didn't realize that there is as great of a variety of patterns as there are. I think it's going to be hard to use a favorite!


The top picture is EYE CANDY!! I love oil cloth and use it a lot. I like to make totes for pool things and I use buy yardage to brighten up an outdoor picnic/table.

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