Skip to main content

Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners

Lesson 13 of 23

Oil Cloth Lunch Tote Prep

Susan Beal

Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners

Susan Beal

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

13. Oil Cloth Lunch Tote Prep


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 T-Shirt Appliqué Prep Duration:27:26
5 Building the Fabric Rainbow Duration:16:12
10 Easy Superhero Cape Duration:22:56
11 Embellishing Your Cape Duration:35:15
12 Basting the Cape Duration:20:26
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Oil Cloth Lunch Tote Prep Duration:29:13
2 Sewing Oil Cloth Lunch Tote Duration:30:01
3 Building the Lunch Tote Body Duration:21:14
4 Adding Pearl Snaps & Eyelets Duration:29:00
6 Prepping Images for Art Tote Duration:32:25
10 Adding Lining & Handles Duration:24:05
11 Oil Cloth Art Folder Duration:30:49

Lesson Info

Oil Cloth Lunch Tote Prep

One of my favorite things to do is make projects that really get used and there plenty of beautiful dresses and fancy things you can make for your house or for your kids. But when it comes down to it, we all have those things we reach for every day and use more often than anything else. That's. A little more of a special occasion, and one of the things that's easiest for me as stuff that's, very quick and easy to take care of. So I love this little oilcloth lunch bag because it wipes clean it's, easy, tio. Quickly take a lunch in and out of and there's nothing fussy or careful about it. My daughter can bring it to school, just put right into her backpack. She can carry it by the handles, there's, all kinds of just easy, simple options for personalizing it and it's, also very fast to so so I've designed this little. Well class lunch tote with an optional little change purse for milk money our lunch money to tuck with it and I love to show you how to make one we've got a few beautiful pa...

tterns of oilcloth I'd love to show you a couple of the other ones made up in the other fabrics I bought all of mine at fabric depot in portland, oregon and these are also available on their website, which is fabric depot dot com but you can also shop locally and find all kinds of great patterns from these kind of graphic, very colorful ones that are great for kids to really striking vintage inspired like nineteen fifties, nineteen forties and fifties kind of the heyday of of ah that tropical tiki look so this apple one is one of my absolute favorites. I also really like this orange gingham it's just got such a freshness and simplicity and I wanted to show to others as examples this's a little taller version that I made and used the orange as you can see the opposite configuration and it has just a change purse with a little ball chain loop you could also use a caribbean urges whatever you have at home I love how people personalize their own projects and then last this is ah yellow polka dot one I made that's also just colorful in light and fun so you're the sky's the limit when it comes to color choices and design, but once you make this very simple template version, you'll find you could such a second, third, fourth, fifth one. As soon as you like to get started, I wanted to demystify sewing on oilcloth a little bit because it's not something all of us have tried before, and I like to use a nonstick foot if you haven't used a nonstick foot on your sewing machine regularly. It's just a very simple sewing machine foot that is shaped and looks very somewhere to a typical presser foot, but it's treated so that it doesn't claim to any fabrics. And so for something like oil, cloth or anything else it's a little bit, the texture is more tactile and might be grabby it's just ideal for something like this. I've heard that you can also adapt our regular suppressor foot by putting tape under it it just just trying a few different options, like a washing tape or a scotch tape? Just add some kind of just a different sort of sleekness to the bottom of the foot and the feed dogs you can use totally as normal, so there's no difference there, which is nice with oil hoff another thing to remember is that when you perforate it with a sewing needle, you'll need to go ahead and make sure that you're sowing in the place that you'd like to use your stitch line because it will leave a small hole in the fabric. It won't damage it terribly, but you do want to make sure that you're not stitching over and over again or creating too much stress on the fabric if you get to the point where fabrics getting damaged or their multiple small holes honestly, I would just move on to a new piece it's, not the end of the world to get a new piece of fabric and saviors off another fifteen minutes of back and forth frustration, but yeah, for oilcloth cutting it is very easy. I I like to cut it with my rotary cutter and quote ruler, but you can also cut it with scissors. One great thing with oil cough that makes it very easy to cut is when you flip it over to the back. As you can see here, I'll just show with my pencil, this is just a typical home pencil, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary when you draw on it, say a straight line with a quote, ruler or any notation, the pencil marks shows up really well, so I'll just arbitrarily draw one here just to show you and just a line you're oilcloth and then draw line with your pencil the back of the oilcloth shows it very, very clearly so that's wonderful for any kind of pattern marking where the front of the oilcloth is very shiny, highly reflective and like you know, a pencil mark would essentially show up on your finish projects so it's much better to work on the back when you can. One thing I also wanted to mention is that in terms of sung machine settings I always use the streets touch on oilcloth I don't typically use decorative stitches or zigzags it just ends up being an easier material to work with in a straightforward way and then I always test on scraps so we're definitely going to be doing that with our first stitches just to make sure everybody's having a good time sewing and not working on their lunch tote from minute one with things they're not expecting I set my tension I'll just start with that I've said it higher at say a six it just makes the stitches better you can definitely try it a different settings but on this machine the singer heavy duty have been using it so's oilcloth beautifully but I've had a better experience when I the stitches look neater and more even in the back especially looks better when I use a higher attention I use a slightly longer stitch links like a three and then the nonstick foot I mentioned earlier is wonderful it makes such a good difference with that you'll want to make sure that you're using a good needle for this I want to make sure that I had a chance to change this since yesterday we did so much sewing on cotton and other fabrics that are totally different okay can I get a heavy duty sewing needle it's a leather needle that singer makes it works for really well on this type of fabric and of course is designed for leather so you know something that is designed for something is thick and durables leather will do well with a later wait but also very very densely woven and very different than our typical quotes and cotton I'm using all white thread and my bob in and in the upper thread spool because all my oilcloth has white you know elements I actually such a couple of these with with contrast threat just for fun but I like how the simplicity of way through it and it's also something that most of us just have around the house so it's good to start simple so to start with our oilcloth let's go ahead and work on how we'd cut it the's pieces are pre cut for this project which is wonderful but I just wanted to show you how with scraps as my standard and how I cut my oilcloth first I worked from the back as I mentioned she can see it has to manufacture information it's really easy to see and easy to work on because there's just this white surface rather than again this which really isn't going to show my marks or anything in particular that I want to keep an eye on our remember where I'm working from so for oilcloth you can tape it in place if it's slipping around on your cutting that you may want to tape it just here on the side you're not cutting for example just to hold it down and give it a good space I haven't had too much trouble with that but I just want to mention it in case you're working on a more slippery er surface that isn't as responsive so to begin this scrap um has a slightly diagonal edge I'll clean that up with my rotary cutter and it's just one of those things that is ah very simple good start you'll want to make sure that every piece you're working with is cut precisely because this pattern is very simple but it just depends on all the pieces being cut to the cracks link to begin I always leave my rotary cutter completely closed and locked until I'm ready to use it when I pick it up I open it then when I put it down I click it closed it's just a good habit to get into as I've mentioned yesterday and the earlier segments so I just want to show you how I work with my oilcloth cutting I will start closer to me and always cut away from my body evens pressure pushing down away from my body and they weren't done as I said I click it closed as you can see the cut is really neat and clean I'm not on green with this front peace just as the stomach but I just wanted to show you how easy it is to do this kind of cutting now alternately if you're cutting and you want to isolate part of the design or you want to be sure that you're using this getting on as a design element using sharp scissors fabric scissors are great you can also use paper scissors if you prefer, but fabric scissors are always a good choice for materials like this I think you'll just cut very neatly along thinking online and for this I'll just show you when I'm done. One thing I try to avoid when I'm cutting oil cloth is making big kind of inconsistent cuts I try to just stay really close and careful with my cutting otherwise you may end up with little divots and spots where they're not as even and you can always clean those up but it's just easier to start with something that's kind of a neat edge rather than losing more fabric to an eventual cut so then if for example I'm cutting my oilcloth that I've marked on the back of a larger yardage piece say I've decided that this is where my cut is going to be. I've used my measure, I've measured over and found out exactly where it needs to be and weaken oilcloth colder in the next segment, you'll see even more of this say I've made this line as my straight line and that's exactly where I want to cut my oilcloth I'll open my rotary cutter again, a line in neatly with my quilting roller justus I did before when I was working from a straight edge point of view instead of a pencil line to follows a pattern cut away from my body close it so now that we've had a little experience cutting oilcloth let's, try sowing at it really is fun. Um, I've got a heavy duty needle, so for the heavy duty needle you just use it just as you would any other one but it's just sharper and easier to use in terms of things like piercing the oil clots and not getting doled as quickly as a typical kind of needle that's designed for mid weight or lightweight woven fabrics. So I'll put it back in just a cz I would a typical needle and tighten it up let's if I throw it out of there and I'll use my automatic needle threat her and get this heavy duty needle threaded, so now you may be able to see my heavy duty needle and this nonstick food a little better again this is easy to find at any sewing machines store or through singer or the manufacture of your sewing machine, so to start with with our oilcloth what we'll do is we'll just take this scrap that we all have and let's pull down about an inch inch and a half say two inches so it's just got a little doubled area and we're going to stitch forward on this and see how it looks nice doesn't just want to clarify for our viewers at home you're using the having duty needle, but if they don't have one, is it ok to use the regular needle comes yes, go ahead and just use your regular needle I'd use a new needle, so you have a nice, sharp beginning needle and I just keep an eye on when you're such just might start to show that you know, it's, it would be a good time to change the needle over I just keep an eye on it there. I always think, you know, with sewing quoting it's just it's so fun to try it like if you don't have every single exact material I mention I would just use with the the closest thing you have at home for example, my first patchwork project when I first started quoting I didn't have a quarter inch but I just used my regular presser foot and tried to buy it and it's just you know sometimes you just have to get started before you can get to the store so for this one we'll just take our doubled strip of oilcloth slip it under machine just as we would a quilting cotton or other tort more typical material scott dropped the presser foot drop the needle in or actually before we drop the needle and let's make sure that we've all had a chance to set our stitch I have it on the street stitch my length is about three with doesn't matter since we're straight such ing and I have my tensions that higher as I mentioned at six and this is again something that you make just experiment with at home or here and see what works best for you we'll just stitch forward at a moderate speed just a normal stretch and then let's look at our stitching and see how you like it so the stitching looks pretty good I'm gonna adjust my stitch link down a little bit so it's between two and three and try may next one because my stitches air looking a little longer then word and then I'm gonna spree set my attention to a little lower than six I use this machine all last week at a home which was really fun and it was nice having a chance to work with it before my class started I'd also love to mention that what ideo that I love for projects like this is I keep a blank book like a notebook this's one made from a vintage children's book made by my friend jacob I love having this kind of sketch about candy for projects like this I can make notes about my oilcloth attention the size of the pieces and cutting anything on to remember and I always swatch my fabrics to so I just remember a year from now which boyle class I was sewing with and just you know what worked the best in terms of such length intention and all those things that you know, ten sewing projects from now might not be fresh in your mind, so I'm going to try my next stitches with that slightly different settings I mentioned hauser owns such yngling I tried it again with just a very slight difference of I did a slightly shorter such length of between two and three and I just to the tension downward and now I'm gonna interested upward because I had a great result with six attention of six at home and then the back of the stitching wasn't quite as clear is I got last time when I said these projects over the last month, so I'm going to do it one more time with this higher tension setting of seven and see how it looks really a couple of minutes of just this troubleshooting type of thing conceive you so much grief with the finished projects yeah I think that's starting to look better I'm going to do it just one more strip with attention higher at eight and see how that looks is that everyone having a good experience of that oil cloth but I mean excuse me the nonstick foot that the oilcloth is sliding over nuclear right there we go and yes I'm pretty happy with this it looks much nicer so I'm going to go with my attention setting at eight for this project and I like my such length which is between two and three a little closer to say about just over two point five and then I can always it's always very easy to just such length if you're doing multiple layers and it's starting to get tight you can easily and make your link hunger s o I'm seeing different I'm wondering what you're looking for when you find the perfect tension I like to see the back of the stitching just looking neat and organized no obvious threat polls or anything that looks really out of alignment and not becky concern lee look att the stitches and give use any thoughts juice and she has such a good perspective of similar to me but uh oh great well a song was there looking like nice and you're having a good okay, you know, it just it it doesn't have any places that look especially, you know, kind of tourney up. I'll, um oilcloth is a little bit the way that the needle pokes through it's a little bit different than, like a woven where the smallholder needle makes kind of blends and so you may see a little more of those whole like definition, but the stitches should look nice and durable, okay, great. So now that we've done some practice stitching, are you guys ready to work on her under oilcloth ourselves? Um, here's, how we will get started and as I said, we've got are pieces cut! I'm just going to show you on my mats. So this strap pieces we're going to cut our two inches by twelve and those are perfects that was great and I'm going to double check this one so it's two by twelve and again you can cut these with scissors or with your rhetoric cutter and then for this one it's four and a half by nine and for this one, I'm going to clean up the edges well, this one is foreign half my nine, the four and a half by nine ones this one's perfect, but as you can see just when I line these two pieces ah I don't know if it's completely obvious from the overhead camera but one of them is smaller than the other ones I want to make sure that they're both totally right let me know if anybody else's air a little off handles are perfect so we'll leave those so I'm gonna very quickly double back and do my twenty four and a half bye I'm kate so sewing live has some interesting challenges on this piece isn't big enough so I think we're going to need to switch it up thanks I'm actually just gonna go if uh the one that was cut before and just let's see twenty four and a half is correct the seven is too narrow which is how wide it's going to be so this particular oilcloth lunch bag is going to be twenty four by six and a half instead of seven and the way that this is made the only difference in the finished bag is going to be that it'll be a half inch narrower here so we'll totally work I just want to make sure it's straight up and down because if it is and it's just gonna have less of ah neat straightforward approach and be a little more wavy hair a little a little out of alignment and that's certainly not ideal but this is a great opportunity to redo this by showing you guys how to make the pencil marks on the back of your oilcloth so when you buy oil coffin book, you can get it on these rules that are fifty four inches, which is awesome, but it does enough with a lot so you can make several projects out of it and have scraps leftover and I've got some fun projects to show you that work with scraps to so when you end up with everything ready tio work with it'll be ideal says you can see here just on the overhead this is like a really wavy line and we just want to avoid that completely because it will end up with a really wavy and result an oilcloth doesn't really have his meat of a green is woven fabric, so it is, you know, a little more challenging tio work within in terms of keeping it totally need, but one thing that is a good good to work with is thie the edge of the roll that is going to be neat and clean and street and, you know, it's going to work well, so what I'm going to do here is using my pencil I'm just going to find a line here orange make a straight line I've got a ninety degree angle to my edge I know that's going to be very straight and I need to extend it half an inch beyond the twenty four just the way that this designed this pattern it's just slightly longer fan thiss ruler so I know this is my twenty four point five inches now I need to do seven inches which thiss ruler is six saul use my quoting mat underneath and I'll just find one inch here and added to my six so I've got a seven inches across and this is another thing my notebook is great for because it's so easy to forget measurements or not realized that you know you're miss a half inch or just anything in terms of sowing the more you can write down and have right at your fingertips the better so going to make sure this is also really neatly aligned and street and I'm going to draw my pencil in up here and then I'm gonna make sure that I use my same khun grew in line so for my last trick with this catching us back up I'm going to use this as my meat straight edge I'm going to find my two lines of going this is on the one inch park in the eight inch mark reinforcing that seven inches great make sure these air very neat and straight in parallel cut there and then I can just extend this so now I have a choice you can either cut the scissors I can use my rotary cutter and I'm going to use the rotary cutter just her precision so all I'm going to do is align the side of my ruler with my pencil mark and then I'm gonna carefully putting consistent pressure on and moving my hand up so that I've got my ruler and a good sturdy hold cut forward soon ivan need cut when extend it beyond since, as I mentioned before, this is a slightly longer piece, then my halting ruler and I'm just gonna extend it forward so I can catch the end of this one great! So now I'm going to do the same thing with my other side except just because I'm right handed, and it just is easier for me to work this way and then a line it's it's easier and sometimes toe having what you're cutting out whatyou're your pattern, peace under the ruler, but for this one, I'm going to go ahead and for my orientation on this sewing table, cut it this way again, even consistent pressure, always away for yourself and keep moving it forward and then I'm going tio align this down since I've got kind of a lot of fabric and not a lot of table, and I'm just gonna catch that again if you can see parpart and cut for great. So now I finally am down tio thiss last part and just saved myself a little bit of ah shining joy, enormous oilcloth wrangling it's just going to cut this out and liberate my table from a huge role. Well, um so here we go. My last one is just going to be a lot simpler, so I have a line my pencil mark, I'm just going to cut away this bit on now. Let's, check my oil cough against this should be seven inches straight sides. Okay, great. Looks like I'm a twenty four and a half by seven that's perfect. I do need to do one more cut and then I promise we'll start sewing. I'm just going to repurpose this one. That was the original one that was a little wavy and short, and I'm gonna use it tio recreate my correct ah side, which is four and a half by nine and as I showed you before, just trying to be just make you know cause some mistakes happen and so making it in tow something you learn perman figure out better for next time is hopefully the a good part of it thiss ones a little short, so we're not going to sew with us. I want to move it away so I don't accidentally grab it when I go toe get my hand, my sight and I'm just going to use this one as my template and trim it with a smaller quote ruler so working without is my edge, it's always better if you're on the line to just make it a little larger than you can always turn it away. I don't want to go to shorten, cut both at once, place you who worries, alright, last cut, all right, who is ready to make an oilcloth lunch bag? No, I am that you've got some very interesting comments coming from line who's, making other suggestions. Because comedy gumball machine is joining us from san diego, they're saying this might make fun party gift bags for these for kid's birthday parties. Oh, the speaker coming right on the shelby, saying, also for baby shower prizes you put the prize in the ladies with, then also have a lunch back that would be further away ahead. Yeah, I know it's things that such a simple it's, such a simple construction, you could make them in different colors for party justice. Favors, as you mentioned for baby shower he's. So fun.

Class Description

Are you intimidated by your sewing machine? Don't be! Join experienced sewist Susan Beal as she guides you through the basics of sewing, including using straight stitches, zigzag stitches, simple appliqué, and easy binding.

Using simple projects in kid's sizes, Susan will teach you to customize t-shirts, create simple tote bags, reusable napkins, and more! You'll learn tricks that the experts use to create their own contrasting binding tape, how to sew on a variety of fabrics, and how to incorporate snaps and eyelets into your projects.

If you're a beginning sewer this course will give you clear, easy-to-follow ideas and inspiration for projects that tap into your family’s creative spirit.



What a great class! Susan does a fabulous job explaining each project and is great at giving you a heads up on what issues you might face with each project. I've now made two applique projects with another in the works. I've also made two of the girls skirts. Susan gave me the confidence to try and I am really happy with the results. Hope to try the binding tape soon. Thanks for offering this video.

Amanda Siska

Susan's projects were the best introduction to sewing I could have hoped for! I wasn't able to watch every project, but the ones I saw were simple, VERY clearly explained, and perfect for a beginning seamstress like myself. I'd never used binding tape before, or elastic, but now I'm confident about making my own binding tape and adding elastic waistbands to pretty much anything. I was immediately inspired to make a few skirts for myself after watching the simple children's skirt in this course, and I'm planning to make cloth napkins and an oilcloth lunch sack as well. I wish I'd gotten to see the applique portion, so I think I'll have to purchase the course in order to see that part. I'm positive that it will be just what I need to learn the process! I see that the previous reviewer was disappointed by the lack of diversity of crafts for this course, but I find that the name "Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners" was completely accurate for what it was. Perhaps it was categorized in a craft category, which would still seem applicable. I think it was advertised as having back to school projects to make for your kids, which is an even more detailed description of the course, since it includes clothing for boys and girls, as well as a lunch tote, cloth napkin, cape, and maybe more things I missed. Overall, this was my first Creative Live experience, and I was blown away by how informative and fun it was to watch!


Fun projects to make for your little one. Susan explains things so clearly. Very nice that she also offers patterns and written instructions for free