1) Use a Teflon-Foot. They sell one for every brand of machine. It’s usually a zig-zag presser foot that has a Teflon coating on bottom that allows things like vinyl and leather to slide right on through your machine. Heck, Baby Lock even makes one for their sergers! If you don’t have a Teflon foot, some people put cellophane tape on the sole of their foot- not quite as nice and neat- but it can work in a pinch.
2) Use this machine hack that includes mutilating a Supreme Slider. You can find it in my Quiltess.com store. If you don’t want to buy a Supreme Slider, you can put tissue paper underneath your project. I don’t really like doing this, because then I have to tear it away from my seam and it can dull your needle a bit. What you can do is tape the tissue paper to the bed of your machine, and then the vinyl won’t stick on the area of the bed to right or left of the needle, and you can just pay attention to the area around the feed dogs. The tissue paper basically acts as a barrier between the machine and the vinyl.
3) Use a longer stitch length. This doesn’t reduce drag per se, but it does help to preserve the integrity of your vinyl. Vinyl is plastic, it is a bonded, man made fabric- it’s not woven or knitted fibers and it won’t heal. So, if you puncture it with a needle very closely, you’ll perforate it and it could tear. Use a stitch length of at least 3 or 3.5
4) Don’t use a leather needle on vinyl! This is another piece of advice that the TV show gave. A leather needle has a blade-like tip that creates a large slit. This is great for leather, but on vinyl, it can create weak points. Use a “sharp” or “microtex” needle to create the smallest hole possible, while still piercing the fabric effectively.
5) Use strong polyester thread. Vinyl can sort of “cut your thread” as your garment or project wears, so use something like Mettler Metrosene thread. It’s strong and durable and will withstand the stress of holding vinyl together in a garment.
ps. I disagree with the statement from that article about NOT using baby powder, which can also be helpful if you just put a tiny amount of it on your fingers and rub the sewing plate. The only warning - do not sprinkle it on the sewing machine, just rub a little bit with your finger and it will reduce the stubbornness of leather or vinyl on the metal plate. Common sense!