Sewing (or Camping) Best Waterproof Fabric for Making Raincoats, Sleeping Bags, and Keeping Warm in Winter.
Waterproof, windproof fabric
Soft, silk drape
Available variety of colors
Easy to sew
Waterproof and Windproof Fabric Which is Excellent Value for Money
Nylon Taslan is inexpensive folds up very small, is waterproof, silky, dries quickly, and is wind resistant. It is an easily sewn fabric for raincoats, rain hats, sleeping bags and other outdoor uses. Usually a fabric with this many attributes wouldn't be cheap, but at under $10 a yard, it is outstanding value for money. Indeed, if you search for items made of this fabric, you will find that they are very pricey and that they have quality guarantees.
I spent some eighteen months looking for a lightweight waterproof fabric. I discovered that nylon is more water repellant than polyester. I was also told that it was a myth that nylon rustled when you walked, and I have to say that in all the time I wore the raincape that I made, I never heard a rustle! To date, I have only found Nylon Taslan to fit all required parameters - lightweight, inexpensive, attractive, waterproof, and windproof.
About $10 per yard
When I went to live in snowy Scotland for nine months, I made myself a sleeping bag and a rain cape from this fabric. They were perfect. I was never cold. Neither wind or rain nor snow got anywhere near me!
Feel and Appearance of Fabric
The feel of the fabric is very much the same as any cotton treated product. It's impossible to tell that it is it in any way treated. It has a soft drape and feels and it looks like an ordinary (and quite expensive) raincoat. Many people who are unaware of just how inexpensive this fabric can be purchased for, paid a fair sum of of money for items of clothing made with the fabric. The material also breathes.
How to Make a Sleeping Bag from Taslan
The design behind all sleeping bags is that the outer covering is wind proof so as not to let any drafts in and to prevent the warmth from escaping while the inner covering provides the warmth. So it could be fleece, duck down, or imitation down on the inside - depending on how warm the sleeping bag needs to be and a lightweight wind and/or water proof fabric on the outside. The same principle can be used to insulate a blanket from a draft in the room by taking a few yards/meters of Taslan and sewing it on the outside of the blanket. It immediately adds an extra layer of insulation.
Always be careful to use the thinnest sewing needle available This is because if you puncture large holes in the fabric, the rain can get through. The manufacturer advises the use of a super thin sewing needle.
When traveling, instead of taking a travel blanket which can be quite bulky and heavy, I take a single sheet sized of hemmed taslan and use it for warmth. It's very good on planes, trains, and on ferries.
If you'd like to make your own blanket, purchase polar fleece and taslan, then hem them together.
Taslan is Waterproof Despite Claiming It is Only Water Repellant.
If you pour water over Nylon Taslan fabric, the water just slides off. It doesn't penetrate. I have walked in the rain for a few hours with a coat made of this fabric, and no water penetrated. It also dries very quickly..
The fabric is therefore useful for rainproof handbags, rucksacks, backbacks, rain hats, and anything else that needs to be strongly waterproof.
Waterproof Fabric for Sleeping Bags
Homemade Backpack with Ripstop Taslan Weave
As with all items mentioned here, because the fabric is extremely light and thin, it can be folded up very small. It might seem, therefore, that a backpack might not be strong enough to carry various items. Not true. The fabric is very strong. If one gets taslan nylon that has a ripstop weave, it is doubly reinforced.
Ripstop weave means that there is a stronger thread which runs in a square pattern so that if a whole develops in one area, the rest of the fabric won't rip. Not all ripstop weaves are made of nylon taslan and not all nylon taslan fabrics have a ripstock weave. I did not use the ripstock weave as I preferred my items to look as much like ordinary fabric as possible.
Sewing a Windbreaker
Certain climates have a lot of wind. That includes Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, and it definitely includes Campbeltown in Scotland where I am currently staying. This fabric cuts wind chill to a high degree. In fact, I personally kept noting that where my coat covered my body, I couldn't feel the chill at all, but exposed parts like my hands (despite wearing gloves), the chill penetrated.
This textile is fabulous because it not only keeps one dry, but keeps a cold wind from blowing through to one's skin.
In areas where the wind is very strong, it's best to make either a buttoned coat or a poncho because otherwise the wind will blow open the coat. Clips and velcro do not work well as they do not hold the coat closed as well as buttons do.
I Recommend This Fabric for Rainy, Chilly Outdoor Weather.
I have had a love affair with fabrics throughout my life as I love beautiful, high quality clothing and textiles. In the days that I used to design and sew fashionable items, my favourite material was viscose (rayon). Viscose is made of wood, so it's not 100% manmade, and I do feel a bit guilty about it because the process for making it is toxic. Generally, when out there buying, I check to see that all items I buy are made of silk, wool, and cotton. They are natural fabrics. I avoid linen because it wrinkles easily, although it is cool in summer. There are only two manmade fabrics I use. They are polar fleece (must be polar) and taslan. I do not touch polyester or acrylic as they pill easily and they do not look very nice shortly after purchase. Nylon is the longest lasting and strongest manmade fabric. Polar fleece is the only fabric we have that is as warm as wool. Nothing else is. So there you have it!
© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger