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 are set up for heavy fabrics you will want to make sure you have the right needle and thread for ripstop. Also, nice sharp scissors or a rotary cutter, 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 have helped me out.
- Make sure you are using a new sharp Universal 70/10 Needle.
- An all purpose polyester or nylon thread is great. Some people like to match the thread the the fabric. Lightweight nylon fabric = a lightweight nylon thread; however, All Purpose Polyester Coats and Clarke is available everywhere and will work great.
- Slipping? Working with coated ripstop nylon, you may not have much slipping. However if you do, painters tape is great fast 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 is a great last resort to manage slipping too!
- 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 the straight woven lines in the fabric. Keep in mind ripstop typically stretches on the diagonal.
- Use sharp fabric scissors or a new rotary cutter for clean straight edges. Once you cut out your pieces it is 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 a little more challenging.
- Check your stitch length. If your stitch length is too small it can 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.
- Reinforce those seams. If your project is going to be weight bearing, it’s a great idea to reinforce your seams with a topstich (felded seam). It will make your seams stronger and, if done well, will make the final project look more professional.