Water Wednesday! How to Sew with Water Resistant and Water Proof Fabric!

Before we get into how to sew with these fabrics, let’s answer the question: What’s the difference between water resistant and water proof?

waterresistant 230x300 Water Wednesday! How to Sew with Water Resistant and Water Proof Fabric!

Water resistant fabrics are either tightly woven and naturally resist water, or are coated with a finish that causes water to bead on the fabric surface rather than soaking into it. Water resistant fabrics are good for a light rain, but could become soaked in a downpour. 

waterproof1 300x225 Water Wednesday! How to Sew with Water Resistant and Water Proof Fabric!

Water proof fabrics cannot be penetrated by water and should keep you dry even in heavy downpours. Water proof fabrics tend to have a rubbery feel and are less breathable than water resistant fabrics.

How a fabric is made water resistant:

To make a fabric water resistant, it is sprayed or immersed in a synthetic resin, oil or wax. This technique allows the fabric to keep some of its natural characteristics. However, water repellent coatings are not permanent and can start to wear off after time. Multiple washings can also make the coating come off quicker.

How a fabric is made water proof:

To water proof a fabric, it is coated with a plastic or synthetic resin and then vulcanized, or essentially baked. This causes the fabric to loose its porosity and lightness and the fabric can be susceptible to cracking. Water proofing a fabric is permanent.

waterproof 300x225 Water Wednesday! How to Sew with Water Resistant and Water Proof Fabric!

Downsides to both fabrics:

Coated fabrics tend to stick to the bottom of presser feet

Prone to puckered seams

Can be easily damaged by pins, machine needles and hot irons

Benefits to both fabrics:

Resist tearing and snagging

Don’t need to be pre-shrunk

Interfacing is rarely needed

Tips for sewing with both fabrics:

Use weights or clips to hold the material while cutting and sewing. Pins will leave holes in your project that could allow for the fabric to leak.

Use a sharp needle in the smallest size possible that is able to stitch the fabric without skipping. The bigger the needle, the bigger the hole, which could again make your fabric leak.

Use a polyester thread; it will be as mildew resistant as the project you are sewing.

Finish seams with seam sealant. This well help make sure the fabric doesn’t leak.

Patterns and things to make!Brake For Lunch 2001 Water Wednesday! How to Sew with Water Resistant and Water Proof Fabric!

Rain coat

Lunch tote

If you’re extra spill prone when working in the kitchen, make an apron from water resistant fabric. Basic apron pattern.

Have you ever sewn with these fabrics?  What did you make?  Did it stay water proof or water resistant?

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5 Responses to Water Wednesday! How to Sew with Water Resistant and Water Proof Fabric!

  1. Jane C. says:

    How do you classify the new laminates?

  2. Linda Long says:

    I made a raincoat for my grandpuppy. He is a standard poodle and when his fur gets wet it matts. I used black heavy pleather with a snap off an on hood. Also lined it with zebra velboa. Used the zebra duck tape to cover some of the vulnerable stitching areas. It turned out great and best of all he doesn’t mind wearing it.

  3. Ashley says:

    Hi Jane: I would classify them as water resistant.

  4. Rosie says:

    Hi there,

    I would like to make a raincoat and have been searching for waterproof or water resistant fabric online. I am finding it impossible to find a supplier. The only waterproof fabrics I find are meant for tablecloths so look very heavy and unbreathable. I get a lot of results that are shops selling coats made of waterproof fabric, rather than the fabric itself. Do you haver any tips about suppliers of waterproof/resistant fabric?

  5. I am attempting to take up the sleeves of a jacket – that is waterproofed on the back – I would like some suggestions as to how I can do this with minimum amount of blood, sweat and tears? The turn up is about nearly two inches and I am trying to do without having to cut any off, however, the manufacturers have in their wisdom at the sleeve edge added another piece which is the material that goes inside the sleeve, has anyone any easy suggestions apart from cutting it and just putting a small hem on it. It is also quite hard to get a needle through and I am doing it by hand.

    Thanking you in anticipation.

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