Oilcloth’s most common use is as tablecloths for kitchen tables, cafe tables, picnic tables, and patio tables, but it’s popular for many other things as well.
You’ll often see oilcloth in kitchens and eating areas where it’s used for dining chairs and stools, placemats, drawer and shelf linings, basket liners, and aprons.
It’s also used for all sorts of bags, including totes, lunch bags, toiletries and makeup bags, and market bags. It
Oilcloth is perfect for themed parties and camping, and it has many craft uses, as well.
Oilcloth was originally a cotton duck or linen fabric that was coated with boiled linseed oil to make it waterproof. Then in the 19th century it began to be replaced with waxed cotton. In the 1950s, oilcloth become synonymous with the printed vinyl that we know today. Oilcloth is sometimes confused with laminated cotton or flannel backed vinyl.
Oilcloth designs are often classic or retro with a nostalgic feel. There are plenty of novelty prints, with fruit being a popular theme. Patterns include florals, checks, dots, stripes, or get it in a solid color.
The colors tend to be bright and cheerful, but there are some more subdued options too.
Most of our oilcloth is 47.5″ wide and some is 55″ wide.
The oilcloth of today is made of vinyl with a cotton mesh backing. It is sometimes confused with laminated cotton or cloth with a waxy finish.
Oilcloth’s slick surface can easily be wiped clean. Use a warm, soapy sponge and dry with a cloth. Machine washing or drying is not recommended.
The colors will fade in direct sunlight, so if you’re using it outdoors, we suggest moving it indoors or to a shaded area when not in use.
Oilcloth is easy to cut with scissors, and it doesn’t fray at all. Pinning is not recommended because pins will leave small holes in the oilcloth. Only pin in seam allowances, or use clips to hold the fabric in place instead.
Oilcloth isn’t hard to sew, but its slick surface can cause the fabric to slip or creep when sewing. Use a teflon or roller presser foot it you have one. Click here to learn more about sewing oilcloth fabric.
Do not iron oilcloth. You can finger press it by creasing and applying pressure with your hands. Or flatten it by leaving it under a pile of books overnight to make it hold the creases.