Croft Mill

Top 10 Tips for Sewing with Waterproof Fabric

Top 10 Tips for Sewing with Waterproof Fabric

Mastering the art of sewing with waterproof & water resistant fabrics might sound like a daunting task, but fear not! With the right tools and techniques, it can be an incredibly rewarding and practical endeavour. Whether you're crafting raincoats, outdoor gear, or waterproof bags, these invaluable tips will ensure you achieve professional-quality results when working with waterproof materials.


1. Select the Perfect Fabric:

When embarking on a waterproof sewing project, your fabric choice is paramount. Not only should you consider the level of water resistance required, but also the texture and weight of the material. Think about the purpose of your creation – whether it's for everyday wear, outdoor adventures, or just a casual stroll. Your fabric choice will not only dictate functionality but also comfort and style. Take your time exploring the diverse range of options, request fabric samples, and make an informed decision based on your unique lifestyle and sewing needs.

Check out our waterproof fabric guide to see the different types of water resistant fabrics we have available and determine which would be best suited to your project.


Fabric Pictured: Liberty Bonded Cotton

2. Needle and Thread Matters:

To sew waterproof fabrics effectively, use a sharp needle with a fine point, like a microtex or general-purpose needle. These needles work exceptionally well with most waterproof materials, including nylon, polyester, and laminated fabrics. Needle size should match the fabric thickness, so opt for a size 70/10 or 80/12 for lightweight waterproof materials like rain jackets and wind breakers, and go for larger sizes (90/14 or 100/16) for heavier fabrics used in outdoor gear or tents. Replace the needle promptly if it becomes sticky due to coated fabric. Employ high-quality polyester or nylon thread designed for heavy-duty or outdoor applications. These threads resist water, UV rays, and abrasion, ensuring the longevity of your waterproof creation.


3. Cutting with Care:

Steer clear of pins when working with waterproof fabrics, as they can create damaging holes that compromise waterproof properties. Instead, use clips or fabric-specific tape to secure pieces during sewing. If a pattern is in use, use weights or any hefty items you have at hand to keep it in place. When marking the fabric, opt for chalk or washable pens to prevent any harm.


4. Invest in Appropriate Zips:

For projects such as waterproof jackets or bags, it's essential to use waterproof zips. These zippers come equipped with sealing mechanisms to keep moisture at bay. Make sure to choose the right size to match your project's requirements.

5. Lining Considerations:

Contemplate whether your garment requires lining, depending on your intended use. For chilly weather, cosy fleece linings provide warmth, while breathable fabrics like low-stretch jersey or cotton lawn are ideal for milder climates.


6. Choosing the Right Interfacing:

Test fusible interfacing on a fabric scrap because some water-resistant materials may not adhere well. If it doesn't stick, opt for sew-in interfacing. Exercise caution when attaching it to the fabric, using only a few pegs or clips within the seam allowance to prevent marking.


7. Mastering Seam Sealing:

Waterproof fabrics often necessitate seam sealing to ensure water doesn't seep through stitch holes. Seam sealers or waterproof tapes are readily available to reinforce seams. Apply them to the fabric's inner side before sewing or along the seams after stitching. Ensure your fabric can withstand the iron's heat and utilise a pressing cloth for protection.

8. Exercise Caution While Pressing:

Waterproof and water-resistant fabrics can be sensitive to heat. Minimize pressing and, when necessary, utilize the lowest heat setting without steam. Always protect the fabric by using a pressing cloth. Keep in mind that some fabrics, like waxed cotton, may temporarily change colour when pressed but should return to their original shade once cooled.

9. Select the Right Presser Foot:

If your fabric tends to slip while sewing, consider attaching a walking foot or dual feed foot. For coated fabrics that have a tendency to stick, use a Teflon foot or place a sandwich of tissue paper between the fabric and the foot.

10. Choose the Right Stitch Length:

Test your stitch on a fabric scrap before sewing your project. For heavier fabrics or to prevent puckering, employ a longer stitch length (3mm to 3.5mm). If your stitches skip, switch to a new, sharp needle.
Fabric Pictured: Torrent Check

Bonus Tip: After completing your waterproof project, adhere to the manufacturer's care instructions to maintain its waterproof integrity over time. Regularly inspect and reapply seam sealant as necessary, especially in high-stress areas.

Sewing with waterproof fabrics may seem intimidating initially, but armed with these top 10 tips and the right materials, you can craft durable and functional items that keep you dry in wet conditions. So, dive into your waterproof sewing journey with confidence, and happy sewing!

Posted in Guides and tagged water proof fabric, water resistant, water repellent, raincoat rain wear, pu coated, jacket, anorak, canvas fabric on