Once you have the basic sewing techniques down, you can pretty much sew anything. However, there are sometimes when you do not want to jump right in and start sewing on a large piece of fabric. These times are typically going to be when you have specialty fabrics such as satin, lace, or any of the thicker upholstery fabrics. For these, you will want to practice on a smaller sample of the fabric just to make sure you have the hang of it. While it may seem tedious, it will save you the trouble of tearing out stitches later because the fabric was snagging on the needle or the thread broke. It will save you time later if you take the time at the beginning to practice.
There is a certain way for sewing vinyl versus sewing cotton or chiffon. For starters, you definitely want to practice on a small piece of vinyl fabric. Any marks made in vinyl are going to stay there; there’s no way to get them out. Even those tiny holes made from pins are going to show. This is why you do not want to have to rip out a seam or re-pin your vinyl fabric; all those mistakes will show. Practicing will get you used to the feel of sewing vinyl.
You will be able to tell from practicing sewing the vinyl that it is a heavier material. If you have never sewn vinyl before, you will learn right away from practicing that you will need heavier pins and needles. The lighter pins and needles will work but you will end up breaking more than a few of them. Heavy quilting pins work better if you feel the need to pin (remember, the holes are permanent). If you do pin, keep the pins within the seam allowance so the holes don’t show in the finished piece. Needles that are used to sew leather will also work with vinyl.
If you are using a sewing machine, an industrial machine will give you an easier time than a machine that is typically used just for mending at home. Make sure to oil the machine before every use and place tissue paper under the vinyl when sewing to help make the sewing process smoother.