If you are sewing light fabrics like ripstop nylon for the first time you might be surprised at how frustrating it can be compared to heavier materials.  If you’re set up for heavier weight fabrics, you’ll want to make sure you have the right needle and thread for ripstop. Also, a rotary cutter or sharp scissors, and possibly painters tape.  If you are working with a coated ripstop like our 70D water repellent ripstop nylon it will be a little easier than something uncoated like a micro denier. Here are a few more tips that may help.


  1. Make sure you are using a new, sharp Universal 70/10 Needle.
  2. An all purpose polyester or nylon thread is great. Some people  like to match the thread the the fabric. That is, when using lightweight nylon fabric, use a lightweight nylon thread. However,  all purpose thread will work okay as well.
  3. Slipping? Working with coated ripstop nylon, you may not experience too much slipping. However if you do, painters tape is quick and easy way to hold your seams in place so you don’t have to pin through your ripstop. A long running basting stitch on the edge can be a good last resort to manage slipping too!
  4. Sew Straight. Use the grid lines on the ripstop to help sew straight.  Sloppy sewing will be easy to notice if your seam looks crooked next to those straight woven lines in the fabric. Keep in mind ripstop typically stretches on the diagonal.
  5. Use a new rotary cutter or sharp fabric scissors for clean straight edges. Once you cut out your pieces, it’s ideal to sew them up immediately.  Leaving cut nylon lying around will cause your clean cut edges to get messy or frayed making the sewing more challenging.
  6. Check your stitch length. If your stitch length is too small it will cause problems; it can weaken your seams by basically perforating a line down your fabric that will pull apart easily over time. It can also just make the fabric bunch up, so try for around 8-10 stitches per inch.
  7. Reinforce those seams. If your project is going to be weight bearing, reinforce your seams with a topstich (felded seam). It will make your seams stronger and, if done well, will make the final project look much more professional.

Ripstop Nylon Source…

Big Duck Canvas Warehouse is a great place to buy Ripstop Nylon fabric online, by the yard. Sign up for the email newsletter too as there’s often a discount coupon offer for new subscribers.

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14 comments on “7 Tips for Sewing Ripstop Nylon Fabric

  • sewingspecialist

    I recently had a go at making a ripstop hammock for the kids. It wasn’t easy.

    I began trying to put a rolled hem down one side, but the rolled hem foot move seemed a bit advanced. So I cut a small square of ripstop to practice.

    Whether I was trying to sew a rolled hem or simply a straight stitch with a small seam allowance, I could not seem to get the ripstop from getting sucked into the feed dogs.

    I guess I should have read your article earlier.

    Please check out my site.

    • Nathan Thompson

      Nothing about this article mentions how not to get it sucked into the feed dogs…

  • Shellie Stinson

    Do you know who a manufacturer that will sew using this material

  • Shellie Stinson

    Do you know any manufacturers that sew with this material?

    • Big Duck Canvas

      We sell to manufacturers making all kinds of products. What are you interested in making?

  • Janet

    I am trying to make a flag with a club logo and lettering in the shape of a circle around the logo in ripstop nylon. Problem is that the designs are sewn on as an appliqué and the stitching around the letters causes tremendous bunching of the surrounding fabric. Tried using steamaseam 2 to hold the design and letters flat and provide some stabilization but it might be making it worse. The flag has a liner in between as it is 2 sided and the letters should not show through to the back side. Used 90 needle (now 70) and 1.0 and 2.5 stitch settings and med stretch setting for the fabric. Any suggestions or can you point me to someone who ca help? Would like to make several for my husband’s b/d

    • Big Duck Canvas

      Hi Janet,

      It is always hard to give good advice without actually seeing exactly what you are dealing with. You have probably already thought of this, but what about just hand stitching the logo on. It will take longer, but you can control placement and bunching much better.

  • Janet Pendleton

    That is a good suggestion but I have very arthritic hands so not very likely I will do that. Thanks for responding though.

  • Rose

    Try a spray-on baste, or an iron-on stabalizer (like what is used for machine embroidery).

  • Marguerite Young

    A waking foot (~$10-15) will make a huge difference in keeping the fabric moving along.

  • gmvoeth

    why not simply cut along the dotted line then seal it with a lighter heating the edge of the cut until the threads begin to melt together . Sort of like when you splice nylon line in the navy.

  • Beth

    How about cutting to size ,serge then all purpose glue, or epoxy.

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