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Sewing with waterproof fabrics
26th May 2015

Both The Utility Coat and The Holiday Top work well in waterproof fabrics. The surface finish of these fabrics can make them more difficult to work with, so here are some tips for sewing with waterproof fabrics.

Waterproof coatings can mark when pinned and anyway are trickier to pin than other fabrics. So when you are laying out your pattern pieces, weight them down and carefully draw round each piece with tailor’s chalk.

When it comes to sewing the garment together use a fine “sharp” machine needle and lengthen the stitch length to make less holes. To hold your pieces together while you are sewing, again do not pin but use quilter's wonder clips or paper clips.

Some coatings can melt so do not iron with a hot iron – use a cool iron and pressing cloth.

If you want to maximise your garments waterproof qualities instead of a straight seam use a felled seam. This is the enclosed seam you’ll find on jeans and work-wear garments.

Felled Seam

To make a felled seam, place the wrong-sides of your fabric together and stitch as normal. Press open your seam and trim back the left-hand seam allowance by 50%. Press the left-hand seam allowance over onto the untrimmed allowance. Then fold untrimmed seam allowance in half, sandwiching the left-hand allowance. Now fold again to the left, hiding the raw edge and stitch the folded edge down, parallel to the original stitch line. Finish the inside seam with an iron-on sealant tape.

Another consideration when creating waterproof garments is making allowance for your body to “breath”. Taking inspiration from outward-bound garments, add eyelets to the underarm area – see below. This will make your garment much more comfortable to wear. Practice inserting your eyelets on an off-cut of fabric first and remember to insert before stitching your garment together if using a hand-held eyelet punch.

Inserting eyelets

Finally when it comes to cleaning your garment, sponge it down rather than wash it as this will prolong the waterproof finish.