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Home Decor Fabric for Apparel?

Kbrane | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hello All,

I’m making a costume for a lady and we went fabric shopping yesterday. The picture we’re using as a guide is in leather and we were going to do some sort of “pleather” version. It’s a martial arts looking jacket/tunic with cap sleeves worn over a long sleeved t=shirt. Since I only have Joann’s an Hancock’s in my area, the closest thing we found was some vinyl upholstery fabric (not shiny, not oilcloth). Surprisingly it has a reasonable drape and isn’t super thick and stiff. We both thought it would work ok, but I thought I’d check with the Pros on Threads to be sure I’m not missing something that’s going to make us both crazy.

Is there a problem using Home Decor fabric to make apparel?
Thanks for all the tips and advice!


  1. starzoe | | #1

    I have never used vinyl for clothing, but speaking to an upholsterer just recently, I learned that the vinyl now is miles better than the "old stuff". It might be a good idea to buy a small piece and work with it to see how it feels.

  2. Ralphetta | | #2

    I made some leather costumes using leather coats, etc. that I got at the thrift stores really cheap. I found men's out-of-style long coats, jackets, etc., with great collars, pocket flaps, epaulets, etc.that had beautiful topstitching I'd have had trouble doing and I was able to incorporate them into what i did. I had fun and was really pleased with the results.

  3. regatta | | #3

    You might want to check with an upholsterer as to the stitch length.  The stitch length used at a lounge manufacturer where I worked (in the office - during the 70's) was just a bit shorter than a gathering size.  Smaller stitches can cut the vinyl.

    Fabrics have probably changed since then.  I once made a beautiful suade jacket from a left over - wore it for ages - then washed it. It shrunk to almost child size.  Luckily back then I just got another left over and this time had it drycleaned.


  4. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #4

    I made a jacket out of a lovely white leather look upholstery vinyl years ago. It is was heavier than the dress vinyl, but had a knit backing that probably made the difference. It was a bomber style jacket. I wore it for years and years. I used all the same techniques as I would for pleather or vinyl, such as a roller foot, and a slightly longer stitch length, and only stitching each seam once. MAKE A MUSLIN!!!!! It was a bit tricky to work with if you have never worked with a vinyl before, but I would do it again in a pinch, since they have come a long way since then. I used a lapped seam construction, for security and for ease of sewing, rather than the regular seam. Two seams are better than one? I also used a bit of gluestick ( at that time we didn't have the fancy temporary glues) to pin the pieces together before sewing. There are lots of double sided tapes available now to sewers as well. Sounds like a really fun project. Should have not too many problems with it. I still suggest sampling your stitches before jumping in tho. Good Luck. Cathy

  5. Ceeayche | | #5

    It should work fine!  I used some for some roman soldier's costumes for church and it worked beautifully.  In fact I glued on the ornamentation (ran out of time and was a quick fix), and even so the costumes have survived several Easter pagents.  I even spray painted one  vest succesfully with metalic paint and from the congregation it does look like metal.  Worked out well for a couple of sheilds and a crown (used jewel glue to add glass "jewels" to the crown.

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