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Sewing With Cork

It's So Easy to Work With!

by Beth Cooper

Cork is the new, hottest “fabric” out there.  Have you tried it?  It’s perfect for making bags, wallets, placemats, and so much more.  Cork has so many things going for it – it is washable, durable, antimicrobial, and sustainable.  It is soft and smooth and is similar to a very nice leather – but much easier to work with.  It is very lightweight and it is water resistant – a perfect combination for a bag!

Cork Comes from Tree Bark!

Cork comes from the Cork Oak tree, which grows in Spain, Portugal, and France.  The cork is scraped from the bark of the trees, dried, and eventually shaved into thin sheets.  The sheets are then adhered to a backing of fabric (a blend of Polyester, Cotton, and Polyurethane).  None of this harms the trees.  The trees re-grow more cork and each tree can be harvested every nine years.

You may be thinking, “How do I get started with cork?”  Good question.  Here are a few things to know before you start.  There are a lot of color and print options when it comes to cork.  There is way more out there than just the classic tan cork.  (Yay!)  Cork is most commonly sold in 27” wide pieces or 54” wide.  There are basically two levels of quality when it comes to cork – Touch Cork and Pro Cork.  Touch Cork is a lower quality and should not be ironed.  Buy from a quality shop and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

Check out this beautiful piece of Cork from Sallie Tomato, available on Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Things you will need before starting a project with cork:

Make a Wallet

There are so many fantastic patterns for cork projects out there.  A small wallet is a great place to start.  Check out this Triple Play tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  These three ladies will have you whipping out wallet projects left and right.  They’re that easy!

Learn how to make a cork wallet? Yes, please!

Cork Creations by Debi Schmitz-Noriega is a great resource if you’re wanting to try a variety of cork projects. There are so many included – bracelets, placemats, home goods, and more! You’ll want to try them all!

Order Cork Creations by Debi Schmitz-Noriega on Missouri Star and you’ll have a ton of cork patterns at your fingertips.
This bag! Swoon. It is the Poppins Tote by Sallie Tomato and it is gorgeous!
The Pattern is available here.

Cork is an amazing fabric and a total game-changer when it comes to making bags and purses. Can a person have too much cork? Absolutely not! Buy it and get started on those projects today. You will wow your friends with what you create and you will surprise yourself with how easy it is to work with! Happy sewing!

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1 year ago

I bought the book after watching the video on cork wallets. I am not impressed! The wallet pattern is not in the book nor anything else I will probably use. Some may find it great and I will look further but it is a not go for me so far. Wish I could have previewed it before I bought it. I will share with my friend. She may love it?

Louise Johnson
Louise Johnson
1 year ago

What a pleasure to find this article in my email today! My husband and I spent most of two weeks in mostly Portugal and some Spain in October. On our last of four days in Lisbon I visited two fabric stores in the old part of the city. In the second store I saw and bought some cork yardage. It was in a very nice small store. I had seen cork purses (large and small) and hats of all kinds, and other accessories in souvenir stores.

When I asked the saleslady what I might make with cork, she said that I could do almost anything with it. I bought 1/2 meter and plan to make a hat that will fit my large head. Later “The Cork Lady” spoke to those of us who were sailing on the Duoro River about all things cork. She also designed purses and jewelry in cork which she sold easily to a very fascinated group of people.

Shelly Nickel
Shelly Nickel
1 year ago

Love making the Lucky Penny wallet. Sew Easy. The book you have pictured is not the Sallie Tomato book-also-will you be getting more poppins kits? The link takes to the home page.