When I was making the pencil-case for Boy Child, I used quilting fabrics, which I knew would not be able to stand up to the wear and tear of daily use by a child. The fabric would end up stained by crayons, markers, and pencils or getting a hole from wear-and-tear. Since this was the fabric that he really liked, I decided to go ahead and use it. I also decided to protect the fabric with vinyl. There are two ways I could have done this. The first would be to make everything in two layers, with a layer of clear vinyl over top of the cotton. The second method would be to use an iron-on vinyl. I decided to go with the fusible vinyl since there would be less movement of the fabric in the finished product and fewer layers to handle. I found this product made by Pellon at my local fabric shop.
It comes in a roll that is 15 inches by 2 yards. Pellon makes both a matte and a gloss version, depending of which look you prefer. If you want to do a lot of laminating, you can buy it in 10 yards bolts online at several different retailers.
I cut out a piece of fusible vinyl slightly larger than my piece of fabric. Then I set aside the backing paper and trimmed the vinyl to the exact size and shape.
I lined up the vinyl with the right side of the fabric, took it over to the iron, covered it with the backing paper, and pressed it according to the package directions.
When I finished, I had a nicely laminated piece of fabric. The vinyl adhered to the fabric evenly with no air bubbles and to threats of peeling up at the edges. The feel was like an oilcloth. I did not hear any crinkly noises as I bent and twisted the fabric.
I sewed the pencil-case on my regular, 20-year-old, low-budget sewing machine. I used a universal needle for heavyweight fabrics (it was a 100/16), which worked very well. Other than using clips rather than pins to hold pieces together, I did not handle the fabric any differently than normal. I did not feel like it tried to slip around anymore than normal either.
If you were thinking about laminating your own fabrics for a project but were worried about how it would go, I say go ahead and do it. It was surprisingly easy to use and it sewed up more easily than I thought it would. I only used a small amount of the roll and I am brainstorming for other projects I could use it on. If you have tried it, let me know how it went for you. And if you have ideas for other projects I could use this on, comment with those too.