Sewing with Oilskin

Sewing with Oilskin


Traditional Oilskin is a cotton fabric that has been saturated with a blend of oils and waxes to impregnate the fibers of the cloth. This gives it a water repellant quality. Over time and use, the fabric develops a history of its own. It marks easily – crackling and creasing to give the cloth a more casual look, completely unique to how you wear it in.

Dry Oilskin is created when the cotton is treated with an emulsified wax which is then heat treated. This binds a wax-based product with water to give a non-oily finish. Dry oilskin has a more matte, crispier appearance that will scuff or crease little. The cloth won’t really change or wear over time.



  • Do not wash. Gently sponge dirty areas with a damp cloth.
  • Do not iron. Finger press or use a point turner to press the seams. 
  • Store away from other fabrics


  • Hand wash only, cool. Washing is not recommended as it may need to be reproofed. 
  • Cool iron with pressing cloth if needed. Finger pressing is best. 
  • Store away from other fabrics. Dry oilskin shouldn’t transfer oil but better safe than sorry! 


  • Use a 90/14 universal or denim needle
  • 100% poly thread is recommended
  • A hair dryer can help remove creases from folding during shipping. We recommend testing on a small piece of oilcloth to determine temperature so too much of the wax doesn't melt.
  • Use fabric clips or pin inside the seam allowance to hide pin marks
  • Use a hump jumper or wedge of paper to help your machine get over heavy seams 
  • Fusible interfacing will not stick to oilskin. Use sew in interfacing if needed or apply fusible interfacing to the lining if your project requires it. 
  • Traditional oilskin may leave slight oil transfer, dry oilskin even less so. For lining consider a tightly woven fabric such as poplin or quitting cotton. 
  •  If you need to unpick an area of stitching, rub the oilskin between your fingers to get rid of needle holes.


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