Sewing with Outerwear Fabric

Rainy skies and cooling temps mean the time has come for our outerwear fabric to shine. We love waxed cotton canvas for “gear” of all kinds, from totes to rucksacks to parkas. Cotton laminates are cheerful, easy to care for (throw them in the wash!) and make great tablecloths, raincoats, and bibs. There are just a few tips and tricks to working with these fabrics. Read more to find out how you can successfully use these cool sale fabrics!

Tips for Waxed Canvas

Finger press so you don’t melt the wax and gunk up your iron!


  • Use a heavier needle: We found that denim needles (90/14, 100/16, and 110/18, depending on the weight of your waxed cotton) work great.
  • Never press directly on waxed canvas! Instead, finger press and use a clapper. The wax holds the fold well without the need for heat.
  • Use Wonder Clips instead of pins to prevent visible holes. 
  • Try not to take stitches out, since you will likely see the large holes made in the fabric. If this does happen, hover a warm iron above the area and smooth out the wax.
  • Expect some wax buildup on your machine—always clean your machine after sewing with waxed canvas, and change your needle!
Clover Wonder Clips work great for both waxed canvas and laminated cotton.

Tips for Cotton Laminates

  • Iron ONLY on the wrong (non-laminated) side. A press cloth will help keep your fabric and iron extra safe. Finger pressing also works, especially to open seam allowances.
  • Lengthen your stitch length to 3 or 3.5 to prevent a perforated edge that can tear easily.
  • Like waxed canvas, it’s better to use Wonder Clips than to pin! The holes in a cotton laminate will be permanent. 
  • If the laminate sticks while moving through your sewing machine, try using a walking foot or Teflon foot. Don’t have either? Tape some Scotch tape or masking tape to the bottom of a regular foot to help it glide!
Cover the bottom of your presser foot with masking tape to make it glide over the fabric easier.

And as always, experiment on scraps of the fabric you’re working with to see what works for you and your sewing machine! Have any other tips or questions? Post them in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *