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waterproof fabrics

Making outdoor clothing: Sources and Resources

Now, after I posted the last bit about what I’d do next, I realized that I didn’t have the proper zippers to do the demonstration, so I ordered them (I use Wawak because they have the largest collection and selection of zippers that I’ve ever seen and their service is really fab) and while I’m waiting for those to arrive, I’ll cover a couple of other issues and items that I think you might find useful.

First – if you have never worked with waterproof or water resistant or DWR (which stands for durable water resistant) fabrics before, this is totally new. I remember the first time I did this, all I could think of was that everything I ever knew about sewing in terms of pressing, laying out and so on was utterly useless with these fabrics. Why? Well, first of all, they are made of manmade fibers – polyester or nylon usually and they have a very low melting point which means that ironing the seams down except for when you are doing ‘seam sealing’ (which you WILL want to do), is a no-no. Secondly, there are a couple of different ways that fabrics are made water resistant/waterproof: coatings on the top (which usually makes them shiny, like laminated cottons) or coatings/waterproof membrane layers on the inside, which depending on the fabrics, can also require that you use a lining on the inside to protect them from abrasion from what the person is wearing inside the coat. There are 2-layer systems (which usually require some sort of inside lining of nylon taffeta or mesh), 3-layer systems (which may or may not require some sort of inside lining). There is even something referred to as 2.5 layer (which does not require a lining). I’m still trying to figure out what half a layer is. (more…)

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