Vinyl Fabric: History, Properties, Use, Care, Where to Buy

Introduction to Vinyl Fabric

Vinyl fabric, constructed from synthetic materials, is used for a wide range of applications, from clothes to protective gear, and equipment covers, to tents for use by the military and businesses. It’s a polyurethane material converted into a nonwoven plastic patterned to look like leather.

Vinyl fabric, like the PVC used in many applications, has several commercial and industrial uses. As it is simpler to manufacture than other forms of industrial fabric and uses less energy, it is favored by many.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Vinyl fabric is a versatile and durable material that is commonly used for a variety of applications, from clothing to home décor and protective gear.
  • The history of vinyl fabric dates back to the invention of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) by a German chemist. It was later made malleable and widely used through the addition of additives.
  • Vinyl fabric is primarily produced in Asian countries like China, and it can be purchased from various retailers and online platforms. It is available in different forms, such as by yard or cut to order.

What is the History of Vinyl Fabric?

Eugen Baumann, a German chemist, is credited with inventing polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as PVC. However, due to the brittle nature of the material at the time, its applications were relatively restricted. 

In the 1920s, Waldo Semon successfully devised a method to plasticize it by incorporating additives into the process. He began his exploration of this topic by producing shoe heels and golf balls, which turned out exceptionally well. 

This resulted in the production of a malleable material, which could subsequently be put to a variety of different uses.

Properties of Vinyl Fabric

  • It is a fabric that is easy to clean.
  • It is a strong and durable fabric that doesn’t fray easily.
  • Due to the chlorine foundation of the fabric, it does not catch fire easily.
  • It is water-resistant.
  • It is a versatile fabric used as both soft and hard material depending on the product.

How is Vinyl Fabric Made?

Salt and oil are the only two ingredients in the production of Vinyl. The manufacturing procedure itself is known as “cracking.” Hot temperatures and pressure are required to break down petroleum oil. Several chemicals are produced during its decomposition, including ethylene,  propylene, and others.

To produce Vinyl, you must repeat the process until only ethylene remains. Electrolytic dissociation of salt is the process by which chlorine is extracted. The materials for making Vinyl can be derived from these two procedures. 

Vinyl is produced through compounding, in which powdered Vinyl resin is combined with several different materials. The final texture will be affected by the method of preparation and the ingredients used.

Where is Vinyl Fabric Made?

Most of the world’s Vinyl supply is produced in Asian countries like China. Since China is the market leader in the textile market, most Vinyl fabrics are produced there.

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Typical uses of Vinyl Fabric

Vinyl fabric is used for various garments along with different products.

Daily wear

Vinyl fabric is perfect for coats, jackets, raincoats, sports bags, skirts, slacks, and dresses—different fashions like emo, goth, etc. Also, use this sort of attire.

Home Décor

Vinyl is a popular fabric to be used in upholstery. Couches, pillowcases, curtains, and even wall hangings can be made from this fabric.

Other products

Vinyl fabric is used for making protective gear for firefighters, astronauts, and even soldiers. The durable nature of the fabric also makes it a perfect match for car accessories like airbags, seat covers, etc.

Sewing with Vinyl fabric

Vinyl fabric is a durable fabric that is a bit tricky to sew. The beautiful textile is simple to cut with a pair of fabric scissors. However, If one wants to get ideal results with their sewing, one should be sure to employ the appropriate sewing essentials, sewing notions, and supplies.

When sewing patterns and designs on the fabric, use the best presser foot, such as a Teflon foot, for efficient results.

It would help if you used leather-based sewing needles when working with classic Vinyl. The sewing threads used can be all-purpose polyester or cotton, depending on the composition of the fabric. A strong thread will ensure your fabric lasts longer.

Also, you must use the best sewing machines like the Brother SE600 for the best results. The length should be set to at least 3.5mm on your sewing machine. Vinyl fabric can be sewn in various ways, so long as you keep these minor tips and tricks in mind.

Dyeing with Vinyl fabric

To some, it may come as a surprise, but Vinyl can be dyed. Designers and buyers with specific tastes can benefit from the method. The fabric can be dyed depending on the composition of the material. The Rit All-Purpose Liquid Dye can be used as the best fabric dye available.

How to care for Vinyl Fabric?

Vinyl is a fabric that requires special attention and care when being washed or dried. 

Washing and drying

  • You can hand wash and machine wash the fabric
  • Use mild-warm water to wash the textile
  • You should use a gentle laundry detergent for washing
  • The machine setting should be set to a regular cycle
  • Fabric softeners can be used
  • Avoid the use of bleach
  • The fabric can be dried by air-drying it on a flat surface or by hanging it. 
  • Alternatively, you can tumble dry the garment on low.

Ironing

  • Using a shark steam iron, press the fabric on the wrong side
  • Use a low heat setting and a press cloth 
  • You can use pins to hold the fabric in place

Where to buy Vinyl Fabric?

Retailers of both fabric and garments carry Vinyl fabric in their inventories. Customers can also purchase Vinyl fabric from online merchants and websites such as Amazon and Fabric.com, which have the highest quality and best Vinyl fabric currently on the market.

It can be sold in several ways depending on the seller;

  • By yard
  • By Inches
  • Can be cut to order
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Vinyl fabrics can be used for a wide range of projects, and are most commonly used for outdoor applications and garments.  They are convenient to use because they are easy to care for and clean. This buying guide will help you find the perfect vinyl fabric for any project you have in mind.

Best Vinyl Fabrics

Here are our vinyl fabric reviews.

1. Kassa HTV Heat Transfer Vinyl Bundle

This bundle of heat-transferable vinyl sheets is the perfect choice for customizing any craft project, from t-shirts to handbags and more. The bundle includes 30 12×10 inch sheets in a wide range of colors. Just cut your design by machine or by hand and iron it onto your craft.  The vinyl is machine washable and durable.

  • Machine washable
  • Can be used with cutting machines
  • durable
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2. Marine Vinyl Fabric

  • 🛳 Marine Grade Outdoor Vinyl Fabric - This high-quality marine vinyl is designed to withstand harsh environments, ensuring your boat seats and other outdoor upholstery will last for years to come. It's UV, sunlight, abrasion, and water-resistant, protecting against fading and damage
  • 📏 One Foot Cut - With a width of 54 inches, this marine vinyl fabric is sold as a 1 foot cut, giving you the convenience of having a ready-to-use piece of fabric without needing to order multiple yards. Working on a small craft or a larger boat, this is sure to meet your needs
  • 🛋 Versatile Uses - This fabric is great for a wide range of projects, including boat seats, boat accessories, indoor and outdoor upholstery, headboards, and crafting. It's perfect for adding style and durability to any space
  • ✂️ Easy to Use - This fabric is easy to work with, making it a great choice for both experienced and novice DIYers. It can be easily cut, sewn, glued, or stapled allowing you to complete your project with ease
  • 🇺🇸 Made in the USA - This marine grade outdoor vinyl fabric is proudly made in the USA, ensuring the highest level of quality. Invest in a product you can trust, and enjoy the peace of mind knowing it was made with care

Marine vinyl fabric comes in a variety of colors and can be cut by the yard, so you can get as much as you need for your project. Because it is UV protected for up to 500 hours and is mold and mildew-resistant, it is perfect for outdoor applications. It is durable and can be easily cleaned with a cloth and mild soap.

  • Sold by the yard
  • UV protected
  • Mold and mildew resistant

3. ViViD Weatherproof Faux Leather Finish Vinyl Fabric

This VViViD weatherproof vinyl is the perfect choice for outdoor upholstery projects because it is waterproof and UV resistant.  It can be ordered in a range of lengths so you can order exactly as much as you need for your project. It is also easy to clean with just a damp cloth and water.

  • 54 inches wide, custom length
  • Easy to clean
  • Heavy duty finish
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4. Hongli Faux Leather Vinyl Fabric

This pack of 16 pieces of vinyl fabric comes in a wide range of solid colors. The realistic leather finish is moisture-resistant and durable, and the cotton backing makes it easy to work with.  It is great for a variety of smaller craft projects, such as headbands, necklaces, and jewelry making.

  • Each piece is 8×12 inches
  • Durable finish
  • Cotton backing
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5. Cridoz Faux Leather Vinyl Sheets, Glitter Finish

This pack of faux leather vinyl sheets includes 32 total sheets in a range of colors, all with a fun glitter finish.  The sheets are the perfect size for creating hair bows, jewelry making, and other projects. The back side is canvas, which makes these sheets easy to work with.

  • Each piece measures 12.6×8.6 inches
  • Can be sewn by hand or machine
  • Glitter doesn’t come off
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Vinyl Fabric Buyer’s Guide

Crafters generally use vinyl for applications where easy care and durability are desired, which makes it especially suitable for outdoor applications.  It can also be used for the decoration of garments and other projects and small crafts such as jewelry and headbands.  This buying guide will help you find the perfect vinyl fabric for whatever project you have in mind.

A variety of factors should be considered when choosing vinyl fabric for a project.  One factor to consider is the size and type of project that you have in mind. 

This buying guide includes both packs of smaller pieces of vinyl in a range of colors and vinyl fabric which can be cut by the yard for larger projects. Purchasing a pack of smaller pieces in a range of colors gives more flexibility when creating small projects such as headbands or jewelry because you can use multiple colors.

The vinyl fabrics in this buying guide also come in a range of finishes – some are faux leather, while others have glitter finishes, which make them especially suitable for accents on garments, headbands, or jewelry creation.  One of the products in this buying guide can also be ironed onto garments, so it can be used to create colorful designs on garments or other products like totes.

Another feature to consider is how easy the fabric is to work with and take care of. Many of the fabrics in this buying guide have a fabric backing, which makes them easier to cut and sew by machine.  All of the fabrics in this guide can also be spot cleaned with a cloth and mild soap, which makes them easy to care for.   By using this buying guide, you will be able to select the perfect vinyl fabric for your project.

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Conclusion

Vinyl fabric, sometimes known as PVC, is highly regarded due to several desirable qualities. There’s a wide range of applications for this material, and its benefits are numerous. Because of its many uses, it can be a cost-effective alternative to leather.

Crafting projects and apparel design both benefit greatly from the utilization of vinyl fabric as a material. It should not come as a surprise that Vinyl has largely replaced more conventional textiles such as leather.

Sources

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