How to Finish Vinyl Fabric Edges

You have finished sewing your cosmetic pouch, bag, or sofa upholstery. Finally! Everything looks superb outside as you envisioned. But wait. It may be tempting to leave the raw edges inside, particularly if you’re scruffy or short of time.

Yes, the vinyl fabric usually doesn’t fray. And finishing the edges is hardly done. However, it makes a huge difference between a homemade and couture design. It gives the edge of your vinyl fabric a more professional and cleaner appearance. But most importantly, it sorts out the seam allowances and toughens the seam line.

How to get started? Take some inspiration below and try for yourself!

How to Finish Vinyl Fabric Edges?

You have three options: a typical sewing machine, a serger machine, or by hand. Finishing the edges is done either separately or together through a machine. It creates a strong edge finish. So, you have varied options. Whether you do the bound edge, zigzag, fringed, or pinking, you can also use a special machine, like a serger. Mostly ideal if you prefer a clean and hasty finish.

4 Easy Ways to Finish the Edge of Your Vinyl Fabric

Finishing edges is a common dilemma that both beginners and experienced sewers deal with. You spend tons of hours making a purse or garment. However, you want to ensure a durable edge for longer-lasting use.

Worry not. I’ve covered some of the easiest and best ways to finish edges to your garments or accessories.

1. Zigzag

It is carried out through the machine’s zigzag stitch function. It helps to tidy up the entire design besides preventing raw edges from potential fraying. Its ease of use makes it a simple alternative to an overlocked machine. The zigzag finish is not equally durable as a serged seam. Though, it is one of the quickest finishing methods you can try without the serger.

Step 1: Run a zigzag stitch alongside the raw fabric edge. Do this when you have stitched the seam together.

Step 2: Now, iron extra seam allowance to the back of the garment or accessory you’re sewing. The simplest way is to iron the seam on the garment’s face.

Step 3: Choose either to stitch separately or as one depending on your project.

Easy-peasy! Any normal sewing machine can help you achieve a lovely zigzag edge finish. It’s also ideal for creating decorative stitches. It looks good not only on vinyl but also on other fabrics. That’s because it doesn’t produce a huge seam. And since vinyl is tacky or sticky, you should use a non-stick foot version.

2. Bound Edge

Another rewarding method to finish off your sewing project is through high-quality binding. Bound edge is used in several outdoor and indoor upholstery and sewing projects. When executed properly, you will have a professional, neat look to work with finished edges. No matter how crimped the application or intricate the shapes are.

Step 1: Once you sew the seam together, unfold the binding. Align the edges accurately to the fabric raw edge.

Step 2: Pin in a parallel course to keep the material and bind together.

Step 3: Close the fold of the binding above the edges. It will seal it off.

Step 4: For regular sewing, you can opt to iron the fold down. Ensure to place some pins, so the fold does not move.

Step 5: Sew a straight stitch above the binding near enough the fold line’s edge as possible. Do this on a side where the fold is exposed and not yet sewed to the fabric material.

Step 6: Iron on the seam face side.

The bound seam is an expensive finish, unfortunately. You can make your own with a pre-cut fabric band. However, you can also purchase from a local store. It is available in different widths – from 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch. A 1/2 inch wide double folded binding may work for vinyl fabrics.

The binding you intend to buy must have the same color as your fabric. But if you feel like being more adventurous, choose a contrasting color instead.

3. Pinking

The edge finish is made with good quality pinking shears. It is a special type of scissor that creates a zigzag design on the cut edge. Thanks to its sawtooth blades. It helps to prevent wearing while keeping your garment looking spotless and crisp.

Step 1: Sew your garment first. After that, grab a pair of pinking shears.

Step 2: Trim both seam allowance sheets to the fabric raw edges.

Step 3: Make a thorough, long cut.

Pinked seam finish works well for items that only require less application and use. Vinyl mat is one great example. Use it for working with your indoor plants while protecting your countertops. It is durable, attractive, and tidies up smoothly.

4. Fringed

Fringes is a decorative thread border generally used as a fabric trim. Leave it loose from a tangled edge. It is more of an ornate finish usually used together with other edge finishes. You can decorate and secure your vinyl accessories or home décor items using it. Attach it to your fabric or make one for yourself, such as using an embroidery yarn or thread. From jean bags to chair covers to mats, fringe finishes go a long way.

Finish an Edge With Overlock/Serger Machine

Certainly, it is the most convenient and fastest method to finish an edge. It’s ideal for all types of fabrics, including vinyl. An overlocker or serger is a multi-thread machine. It does an excellent job of cutting seam allowance, sewing a seam, and enclosing the raw edge together.

Don’t worry; you don’t need technical skills to use it. Set the machine as required. Then, apply the finish on the fabric edge along with your design. You can serge the edges after stitching the seam or serge as you make the seam. Otherwise, serge the edge before sewing together.

Some Important Tips to Remember

  • Even some types of vinyl can shrink. So, make sure to preshrink it before trimming out your design. Check the instructions provided by your manufacturer to determine whether or not the fabric is dry clean only. Preshrinking will also get rid of storage marks easily, like creases.
  • Pay attention to your stitch length. Small stitches can break or tangle the threads. It usually needs to be 3 mm. However, you must do some experiments before settling on what works best with your fabric. Longer stitches are believed to make vinyl designs more heavy-duty.
  • Another mistake that most sewers fall into the trap is marking the sewing pattern with a washable pencil. Vinyl’s surface can be absorbent, so using chalk is much more ideal. It wipes the mark off easily compared to other alternatives.
  • Vinyl is sensitive to pins. It has a habit of showing marks of pins, so better avoid pinning your material as possible. Not to mention these small pin holes can restrict the waterproofing capability of the fabric. Use sewing clips as an alternative. Or else, go and grab your office supplies for tiny binder clips.
  • Aside from the finishing methods above, you can also try topstitching. It gives a finished look and increases support. To achieve a store-bought appearance, buckles or metal snaps will do the job.

Can You Sew Vinyl With a Regular Sewing Machine?

Absolutely, yes! Any home sewing machine will do. Just be sure to use a heavy-duty one. Vinyl tends to get adhesive when hassled from the presser foot. Hence, you will have to use Teflon foot. If not, use a roller or walking foot. And for a much easier sewing process, use tissue paper above and under the vinyl fabric.

What Needle Size Should I Use for Vinyl?

You can use an ordinary sewing needle. However, for thicker vinyl, its stickiness gives more pressure on the needle. So, you will usually need a bigger needle – either the universal 100/16 or the denim/ leather needle 90/14. These are very sharp, so be careful when using them. Do not use regular thicker needles as they might create overly big holes in the fabric.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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