Oilcloth Fabric Product Guide

Oilcloth is a much-loved fabric because of its durability and ease of cleaning, as well as its bright and cheery colors and patterns. It’s available in a variety of prints and solids. Oilcloth is often associated with retro, classic, and novelty patterns.

It doesn’t fray when cut, so hems aren’t required. It’s waterproof with a shiny and smooth surface that can be easily wiped clean.

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.

Oilcloth is perfect for themed parties and camping, and it has many craft uses, as well.

Oilcloth Fabric Product Spotlight Video

Choosing the Right Oilcloth

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.

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.

Working with Oilcloth Fabric

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.

Useful Links

Check out our great selection of oilcloth fabric here.

Questions & Comments

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What about use for constructing kid raincoats with line ng? Or would laminated cotton be better
A shopper on Mar 5, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Laminated cotton would be better. Oilcloth is a little too stiff for raincoats.
Can oil cloth be used for upholstery, such as recovering a sofa which is on one side of the kitchen table?
Ellen S on Mar 5, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Oilcloth is sometimes used for upholstery in kitchen and dining settings, but mostly for bar stools and dining chairs. It depends on the complexity of the sofa. If there are a lot of curved lines, it may not work so well. It's also not as durable as vinyl made specifically for upholstery, though it's probably durable enough for most situations.
I will have to piece my fabric together for a 48" round table (oil cloth fabric), what is the best way to go about this. Putting fabric on top of one another and sewing down the right side of fabric, or putting both right sides together and sewing seam. You can't iron it so it may not lay right been finished. Please Help if can with this problem ??
A shopper on Nov 27, 2017
BEST ANSWER: People usually sewn with the right sides of the fabric facing. Then you can press it easily with your fingers to flatten the seam. You can also leave some heavy books on it overnight if needed. Good luck!
can it br used for raincoat?
A shopper on Mar 24, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Oilcloth is waterproof but it may be a bit too stiff for a raincoat.
What is the width of the oil cloth?
A shopper on Oct 11, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Most of our oilcloth is 47.5" wide.