About a year ago, I did some pattern testing for a new sewing book, Sewing With Oilcloth. The author, Kelly McCants, came to Atlanta this past fall to do a book signing and hangout session, so I went so I could meet her and get my books signed.
While we were hanging out, we got on the subject of embroidery. We weren't sure how the embroidery machine would handle the oilcloth.
I am just now getting around to trying it, and it works just fine. I use a home embroidery machine (Brother PE780D), so i am sure the industrial machines will handle it just as well, if not better. Before you try it, there are some things you need to know, though:
1) DO NOT hoop the oilcloth. Hoop the stabilizer and stick the oilcloth to it. Sticky stabilizer or temporary spray adhesive can be used.
2) The embroidery needles will wear out more quickly when stitching on oilcloth, so be mindful of that.
3) Since oilcloth should not be pinned down, I usually babysit the machine while stitching oilcloth due to the chance the oilcloth can come off the stabilizer from the movement of the embroidery arm.
When I embroidered my beach / pool tote, I used:
~ A fill stitch. Since this bag will get a lot of use and the lettering was large, I opted to not use a satin stitch.
~ Medium weight cutaway stabilizer
~ Temporary spray adhesive to stick the oilcloth down
~ Titanium Organ sharp embroidery needle
~ Gunold polyester embroidery thread. I would stay away from the rayon on oilcloth. It tends to break easily.
I wrote this post, assuming that folks familiar with embroidery are reading it. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to comment or email me!