A Cork Experience


when it gets close to Quilt market time it’s not at all uncommon for us to get requests from various fabric houses or designers to make bag samples in their brand new fabrics for display in their booths.

It’s a classic symbiotic relationship in that my bag sample serves to help THEM sell fabric, while that same bag sample hanging in their booth display helps ME sell patterns. So I generally say yes, unless the fabric they’re releasing just isn’t my style at ALL.

But this time a relatively new company called me and here’s the thing… their main product wasn’t fabric… it was CORK!

My first inclination when I heard this was to decline and I told the caller that, because I never really thought of my designs as being particularly suited to cork. I guess its because the corks products I’ve seen and handled so far struck me as being too thick or bulky for our patterns, particularly in the seam areas. But my contact assured me that this cork was different… more like fabric. “Just give it a try”, she said!

So I did… and it was AMAZING!

I’m telling you, this cork is SO thin, SO pliable, and SO easy-to-work-with that it was hard to believe it was cork! But is IS cork so…here’s a couple of special considerations I noted as I was working with it!

  • I tried to do most of my pinning in the seam allowance areas. Cork does tend to self -heal but it’s wise to be careful all the same.
  • this cork takes a press beautifully, but I definitely utilized a pressing cloth.
  • the cork side of this product can be a little grabby with a standard metal sewing foot so I used a teflon foot with much better results.
  • I did not use the called-for interfacing in the areas of the bag that were corked.
  • and finally, I used the called for cotton webbing on the interior of my strap, but in retrospect, I think I should’ve used nylon webbing which is less thick, (or maybe no webbing at all) so that the strap would move thru the slide buckle easier. I’ll experiment more with that.

Now here’s the BIG question!

The company that sent me this cork maintains that their cork is much thinner and more pliable that any other cork fabric on the market today!

Is that true? I honestly don’t know, but I’ll tell you what…when I’m at Market in a few weeks, I plan on checking out the various sources of cork that will also be there and I’ll give you a complete report upon my return! So in the meantime, please do not take the suggestions I’ve outlined above and apply them routinely to the cork you have in your possession, because here’s the deal…it may not work and cork is too expensive to waste, right? So do stay tuned for my post Market report!

And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

So how about you? Have you ever tried cork? And if so, do you have any tips of your own to share? And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.


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  1. Lorna on October 7, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve never used cork at all, every time I pick it up and look at the price I put it back and head for fabric. There are more and more pattern designs that are just for cork so I avoid those as well. I am interested in your thoughts but unless the price goes down I won’t be using cork.

    • Kat on October 7, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      I loved working with it but you are right, it IS pricey. I really dont see myself designing ONLY for cork but its nice to have a design or two that can be used for BOTH fabric OR cork~

  2. Pat Ross on October 7, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I use cork all the time
    I love it. It adds dimension to the project

    • Kat on October 7, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      I agree! I’ll be interested to see how the thickness and flexibility of this brands stacks up to other brands at Market!

      • Katerina on October 11, 2019 at 9:58 pm

        I bought cork from Portugal recently and I loved it! But the price is really a huge problem. I have only made smaller things, like wallets and key fobs, but I wish I can make a whole bag one day! I would like to see the price of this thin cork you used in your lovely bag !!!!

  3. Beth on October 7, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve never used cork but your sample is so attractive it makes me want to try some.

    • Kat on October 7, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks Beth. I love it too!

  4. Elona on October 7, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Love cork. Thank you for the experiment with your new pattern and keeping us informed about how this brand works. Look forward to hearing your opinion after market.

  5. Carolina on October 7, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    I’ve never used cork, don’t think I’ve even seen it to be able to buy it. But this purse really caught my eye! It could have been a cover for your pattern, it is so stunning but realize that wouldn’t be feasible or make the pattern appealing to those that don’t like cork or are unsure about using it. BTW, you never mention the company/brand name. Was that on purpose?

  6. Bobette Larsen on October 7, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    I love the cork pattern. Glad you will be able to see more at market. Will be interested in what you see from this company. Have fun.

  7. Karol on October 8, 2019 at 2:50 am

    I would be interested in how it ‘wears’. Is it going to scuff or scratch if it gets bumped etc…. I love the look of your bag, but too much money and work to have it show wear easily.

    • Kat on October 11, 2019 at 11:51 pm

      After I carry it a while I’ll let you know!

  8. Linda on October 8, 2019 at 3:00 am

    I have used it and I really like it, though it is pricey. I made a wallet for my son sand he loves it. I have a Sling Along cut out that is part cork and part fabric. It’s pretty easy to work with. I use clips instead of pins to hold the pieces together for sewing.
    I look forward to seeing your report on what this new company’s cork is like and what others have to offer.

    • Kat on October 11, 2019 at 11:52 pm

      Stay tuned for our “after=Market” post… sometime in late November!

  9. Rosemary on October 8, 2019 at 10:23 am

    I use cork for nearly all my work. I love it. I find the thicker cork is better than the thin.

    • Kat on October 11, 2019 at 11:53 pm

      Have you actually used both? And how exactly is it better than the thin. having never used the thick cork I would be interested in knowing! 🙂

  10. Merilee Kennedy on October 11, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    I use cork all the time and we sell a ton of it at my lqs where I work part time. I usually use a combination of cork and cotton and adjust my stabilizers accordingly. There are different qualities of cork and the more expensive tend to be softer. Save your scraps and make embellishments and jewelry! I use wonder clips instead of pins. I love cork!!!

    • Kat on October 11, 2019 at 11:54 pm

      Great ideas all! 🙂

  11. Anne Hendley on November 15, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    I have two purses that I have made with cork fabric and I LOVE working with it. Always get so many compliments on my purses.