Choosing and Sewing Waterproof Fabrics

How to choose and sew waterproof fabric for the best results.

Waterproof fabrics have been used for a while now to make weather-resistant outdoor items. From tents to furniture, to even sports clothing, waterproof fabrics are the main ingredient to make these products.

However, these fabrics would’ve been no use without proper sewing techniques, especially when dealing with seams. If the stitches aren’t done the right way, the water-resistant item will leak.

For this reason, we’ve put together this guide to inform you on how to work with waterproof fabric to create the best results.

How to Choose the Right Waterproof Fabric

Naturally, there’s a wide array of water-resistant fabrics to pick from. Of course, you should make your choice based on what you need the fabric for.

Here, we’ll provide you with a short list of popular waterproof fabrics that you might want to work with.

  • TPU: Great for making cloth diapers, soft, flexible, and eco-friendly
  • Nylon taffeta: Good for making rain umbrellas, has a smooth feel and a sheen to it
  • PVC-coated polyester: A bit on the stiff side, 100% water-resistant
  • Laminated cotton: A nice, eco-friendly option for making raincoats and ski clothes
  • Vinyl and plastic: Perfect candidates to use in tote bags and beach bags, durable, and flexible
  • Branded fabrics: Densely-woven, durable, and rain-resistant

These are only a few examples of what you can find on the market. Yet, there are more types and variations of fabrics out there that you can select from.

Just remember to look closely at their characteristics including their thickness, manufacturing, and texture.

How to Sew With Waterproof Fabrics

You might use some help on how to sew with waterproof fabrics. Since they tend to be different than other conventional fabrics, you’ll need to take care of a few things when working with them.

Let’s start with the supplies that you should have.

Supplies

  • The waterproof fabric of your choice cut into the dimensions that you want
  • Ultra-violet protected thread (weather-resistant and long-lasting)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and straight pins (optional)

Sewing With Waterproof Fabrics

Now that you have everything that you need, let’s discuss the steps that you should follow when sewing with a waterproof fabric.

1.     Prepare the Sewing Machine

The first thing you should do is put the ultra-violet protected thread on the sewing machine. We’re using this thread instead of the traditional one because it should withstand harsh weather conditions. Therefore, it’s more suitable to use with waterproof fabrics.

Next, set the machine on medium length straight stitch.

2.     Sew the Seams

Before you begin sewing, make sure that you put the wrong sides of the waterproof fabric pieces together. This is the opposite of what you’d do with other fabrics, but it does the job in our case.

After that, start sewing the seams, making sure that there’s at least a ⅝ inch allowance in from the edge of the fabric.

When you’re done, spread the seam and cut off the raw edge using your sharp scissors. The best way to do this is by placing the thin tip of the scissors ¼ inch from the seam line.

3.     Finish Your Seams

The step after that is to fold the longer side of the seam over the shorter side. Then, position the raw edge against the seam line and use an iron over it or pin it in place with straight pins.

Then, sew ⅛ inch from the folded edge of the seam. If you’re working with a rather heavy waterproof material, this should be your final step.

Yet, if the fabric you’re using is lightweight, you’ll need to sew ⅛ inch from the original seam line. This should give you the tightness and durability necessary for light materials.

If you follow these steps, your seams shouldn’t allow any leakage that you might be worried about. Still, you can make your product more resistant to water by purchasing a tube of waterproofing at the nearest camping equipment store.

To Wrap It Up

Now that you’ve learned all the basics of how to choose and sew with waterproof fabric, you should be able to create anything you want. From water-resistant clothes to tents, to outdoor furniture, there are no limits to what you can produce.

Don’t forget to pin this information for later, and check out some more sewing tips and techniques listed below.

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