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Sewing (or Camping) Best Waterproof Fabric for Making Raincoats, Sleeping Bags, and Keeping Warm in Winter.

Updated on September 27, 2017
TessSchlesinger profile image

Tessa has worked as an interior designer, designed clothing, make up artist,and decorator. She has various qualifications in the field.

Waterproof, windproof fabric

 
 
 
Waterproof fabric
Windproof
Inexpensive
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.

Warmth comes from stopping wind and water from entering into the sleep space. Add fleece underneath and you'll be snug!
Warmth comes from stopping wind and water from entering into the sleep space. Add fleece underneath and you'll be snug!

About $10 per yard

4oz. Black 4-Ply Water Repellent Nylon Taslan
4oz. Black 4-Ply Water Repellent Nylon Taslan

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.

By using a particular weave, extra strong threading is introduced. This makes Taslan Ripstop a very robust material for items like bags and other hardwearing requirements.
By using a particular weave, extra strong threading is introduced. This makes Taslan Ripstop a very robust material for items like bags and other hardwearing requirements.

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

Waterproof and windproof fabric for sleeping bags and outerwear. Taslan has a soft feel and a slgiht sheen which gives it a classy look.
Waterproof and windproof fabric for sleeping bags and outerwear. Taslan has a soft feel and a slgiht sheen which gives it a classy look.

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

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    • profile image

      blissfulflow 2 years ago

      alibaba seems to sell this taslan waterproof ( and not water resistant) in many bright colors too but one has to buy minimum 1000 meters...

    • profile image

      blissfulflow 2 years ago

      I am very interested by your post... Like you I have been looking for a very long time for a light weight waterproof fabric with a nice range of colors ( from black to pink! )

      I have designed a raincoat which is very much appreciated (even people stopped me in the street asking me where I bought it) it can be folded like an umbrella, useful for going about by cycle. I had found a shop on line in England ( pointnorth ) which sent me the fabric in Paris, a beautiful dark black like satin and quite waterproof, I made a few raincoats for friends but the shop does n t make it anymore.. I got a pink fabric from them (for skytes but is is noisy) in which I made the raincoat for myself . Yesterday it was pouring with rain I wore it and came back home drenched although it seems quite waterproof ( maybe because of the seams?) I would love to order this "Taslan" you are talking about... Which shop online would you suggest to me?

      Sorry for my english which is not my mother tong...

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
      Author

      Tessa Schlesinger 2 years ago from South Africa

      RTalloni, thank you. I will look out for that. Didn't know a fabric could be unsafe. If you go to Amazon and do a search for Taslan, you will see numerous products made of it.

      The link below is a jacket made for the United States Polo Association. Somehow I don't think that an organisation that prestigious would have something made of Taslan if it wasn't okay. :)

      http://goo.gl/sQvQI0

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      The reason I ask is because there have been questions about treated fabrics in the past. If this one is specifically designated as safe then it is even more appealing. I'll try to check it out soon. Thanks for highlighting what sounds like a fabric with many purposes for DIYers.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
      Author

      Tessa Schlesinger 2 years ago from South Africa

      RTalloni, Why wouldn't it be? Its used in sport's clothing, etc. The way I eventually found it was by researching expensive camping wear, etc. You can find clothing made of it on Amazon. :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Sounds like a dream fabric but is the treatment/coating on the fabric really safe?