Oilcloth!

Over the past few years that I’ve been traveling to Oaxaca, Mexico, I’ve grown even fonder of oilcloth than I already was. Oilcloth in Mexico is very inexpensive and I’m always tempted to get tons, but I’ve learned it’s quite heavy, so I restrain myself.

Oilcloth in the Benito Juarez market in Oaxaca

Oilcloth in action at the Etla market

I’ve used oilcloth to make zippered pouches, to line a cosmetic bag, and to make tons of totes.

They are perfect for farmer’s market and swimming pool season—easy to wash and dry. I taught a class at Home Ec Workshop on Saturday, where my students made a simple oilcloth tote.

Photo from an earlier class, not this past Saturday

It’s reversible and they can add a pocket on the inside, outside, or both. I love it when I spy one of them being used around town—that happened just last week at the Saturday Farmer’s Market.

Oilcloth in the Abastos market in Oaxaca-Oilcloth was harder to find this year.
I agreed to make reversible table runners for my traveling companions

I’ve learned a few tricks since sewing with oilcloth (and from Kelly McCants, author of the 2010 Sewing with Oilcloth, who I interviewed for a 2012 UPPERCASE story). Use a slightly longer stitch length, try a denim needle, and most important, slip tissue paper between the bed of the sewing machine and the fabric–it can be very sticky. I shared those tricks with my students, and they each left with a completed bag—I love when students walk away with a finished project!

Also an earlier class and not last Saturday–I cant’ find that photo!
More oilcloth in a Oaxacan market