When it Rains…

I had the brilliant idea to use oilcloth to sew rain jackets for my boys.  Brilliant because they love them, but sewing them was…the opposite of brilliant.  I’ve worked with laminated cotton before, so that wasn’t really the issue because I knew ahead of time what I was getting into.  But oilcloth is stiffer than laminated cotton, and really wasn’t meant for making garments.  So this post proves is can be done, but I’m not going to be the one who recommends you do it!

Rain Jackets 2

For the fabrics, I got 1 yard each of camouflage and black oilcloth fabrics.  My first issue might not affect anyone else.  But I’m hyper sensitive to smells, so I had to put this fabric out on a well ventilated porch for a few days to air out before I could work with it.  After a week or so, it had off-gassed, and I had no problem with the smell anymore.

Rain Jackets 9

I mentioned that oilcloth is stiffer than laminated cotton, which makes it not that suitable for garment sewing.  It would be PERFECT for outdoor furniture, tote bags, an umbrella, sunglasses case, and covering kitchen stools.  But I had decided to make rain jackets, and used the Puddle Jumper pattern from Peekaboo Pattern Shop.

Rain Jackets 1

If you look in the photographs, you can see the stiffness around the boys shoulders and elbows.  The raglan sleeves on the pattern I used did make it much easier to sew than trying to sew a pattern with a sleeve cap.

Rain Jackets 6

Another place you can see the stiffness is in the hood.  It comes to a cone shape at the top instead of rounding around their noggins.  But since this pattern has that elastic in the hood trim, it still grips to their foreheads and keeps them dry.

With any laminated fabric, it’s helpful to use a teflon foot on your sewing machine.  Also, I used a heavy duty needle.  It’s helpful to use clips instead of pins to hold the seams together before sewing.

Rain Jackets 8

Another thing you might notice is that there are not closures on the rain jackets.  It was simply too thick to sew on buttons.  So I decided to do hammer on snaps.  But before I got to the store to purchase them, we had a rain shower that was too perfect NOT to photograph the boys in their rain jackets!  But trust me, rain jackets without closures kind of defeats the purpose, so the snaps are forthcoming!

Rain Jackets 7

At least the lining worked out nicely!  For one I used a soft CaliFabrics flannel (sold out now) and my son loves how soft and cozy it is.  For the other I used some chambray leftover from making my chambray shirt.  It really makes the rain jacket almost elegant!

Rain Jackets 4

I guess it all comes down to what my boys think since they are the one who have to wear them right?  They’re absolutely, positively de-light-ed with their camouflage rain jackets.  So all’s well that ends well, right?

Alright, now you tell me about your latest sewing fail…I need the encouragement!!!

Audrey from Skirt Fixation

Audrey, a mom of 8, sews and blogs at Skirt Fixation, your home for everything skirt related! There's lots of other sewing goodness too...after all can't leave the boys out of sewing adventures! She also designs and sells pattern through Savvy Patterns.

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5 thoughts on “When it Rains…”

  1. Good for you–I would not have tried it, but you did a really nice job and the kids seem to really love them.

    I bought an oiled rainhat from some company in England that provides them to the royal family (or did whenever they got their warrant from them which still features inside the hat), and find the smell of the oil they use offputting, so can appreciate that whatever smells you might get with the heavier fabric could be very bad. Interestingly, the hat shrank drastically over the years, since it was not worn all the time but was safely indoors, and they told me that yes, that tends to happen if you don’t take some kinds of steps to maintain them. It might be interesting to see if yours shrink too, or do you plan to oil them or otherwise do whatever it takes so they don’t?

    Thanks for showing us what is needed to work with this tough fabric.

  2. Thanks for the helpful tips re sewing with oilcloth. Looks like your boys like them, though I had to laugh when I noticed they were both barefoot! 😀

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