Summer Fabrics Series: How to Sew Cork Fabric

Join us this month on the Sew News blog as we get geared up for summer sewing with tips for sewing a variety of fun fabrics, from cork to double gauze. First up, we’re talking all things cork. An eco-friendly alternative to leather, cork fabric is a perfect pick for bag making or for any project where structure is needed.

by Sara Lawson
The full article can be found in the June/July issue of Sew News.

Screen Shot 2018 06 01 at 10.15.57 AM Summer Fabrics Series: How to Sew Cork Fabric

Sublime Bag Pattern by Sew Sweetness

Available in over 80 prints and colors, cork fabric is not a frugal purchase, so make a little go a long way. Because of its durability, cork is a great pick for embroidery, appliqué, home décor and more. Cork is perfect for bag making: Use it for straps and bag accents, paired with coordinating quilting cotton. Small pouches are also another favorite use for cork.

When sewing with cork, use either a PTFE foot or a walking foot, though consider experimenting with a standard presser foot as well. Thread the machine with a strong 40-wt thread and use a microtex or 90/14 needle.

To avoid creating unnecessary permanent holes in cork, have a set of fabric clips, such as Wonder Clips, on hand, as well as fabric glue and basting spray to secure layers during assembly.

Screen Shot 2018 06 01 at 10.20.50 AM 218x300 Summer Fabrics Series: How to Sew Cork FabricCutting cork is easy. Use fabric scissors or a rotary cutter to cut out the needed pattern pieces. For pattern pieces that are cut on the fold, instead of actually folding the cork in half (which creates a permanent crease), trace the pattern piece on the wrong side of the cork, and then flip the pattern piece over to trace the mirror image. For marking cork, use chalk to trace on the cork wrong side. Since it can be cut raw, avoid using fabric markers or pens; the coloring from the pen can show on the cork raw edge, whereas the white chalk just brushes off.

Cork is a great canvas for installing rivets and hardware. Rivets in cork install the same way they would in any other fabric: by making a hole through the fabric at a chosen position, and then using a hand press or tabletop press to install the rivets.

 Summer Fabrics Series: How to Sew Cork Fabric
This entry was posted in Tips & Techniques. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Summer Fabrics Series: How to Sew Cork Fabric

  1. Vickie Parlee says:

    I have purchased some cork fabric at what I thought was a reliable store. I’m make coin purses. The cork is breaking away from the backing when I turn the piece to the right side. Even the flap of the purse is splitting when I fold it over. Why is this happening?
    Thanks for your help.

  2. Barbara Bradford says:

    thanks for the warning I just started using cork glad to know that he black cork might bleed on some fabric. Thanks a lot.!!!!

  3. Kathy Hamm Jones says:

    I love the new cork colors, but warning….I made a small clutch with the black cork and when it got wet from spritzing the cotton that was an accent piece the black cork bled onto the fabric. I then put the rest of the cork in warm water with vinegar and let it soak for a while and let it air dry over night. After doing that it didn’t bleed anymore. I guess I saying use caution with dark cork, it may bleed if it get wet.