7 Tips for Sewing Ripstop Nylon Fabric

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 70 Denier Coyote Brown it will be a little easier than something uncoated like a micro denier. Here are a few more tips that have helped me out.


  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.     Lightweight nylon fabric = a lightweight nylon thread; however,  All Purpose Polyester Coats and Clarke is available  everywhere and will work great.

3. If you are working with coated Ripstop you may not notice much slipping, but if you ARE, 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!

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 the straight woven lines in the fabric.  Keep in mind ripstop typically stretches on the diagonal.

5. 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.

6. Check your stitch length.  If your stitch length is to small it can cause a couple 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 and shoot for around 8-10 stitches per inch.

7.  If your project is going to be weight bearing its 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.

We have some great closeout Ripstops right for $2.99 or less.  Our Coyote Brown is even waterproof!

One thought on “7 Tips for Sewing Ripstop Nylon Fabric

  1. 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.


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