Tips for working with Ripstop Nylon and some Helpful Tips.
When I set out to design the Go Green Bags and Pod project, I wanted to not only create a system that was smarter but also convenient, fun to sew, as well as, functional and fun to use.
I wanted the reusable bags to be so durable that you would be able to throw whatever you wanted into them without worry. Be washable and lightweight. Bulky reusable bags are such a pain and often become mere clutter or end up being just as disposable as plastic store bags. So, with all of that in mind I searched for the best product available that is the most lightweight but also durable (Thin can often translate into weak). Hands down the ideal product for the Go Green Project would be Ripstop nylon.
Ripstop is a synthetic nylon fabric that is woven using a special reinforcing technique that makes the fabric resistant to tearing and ripping. During the weaving process thick reinforcement threads are interwoven in a crosshatch pattern. While it is tear resistant, if a small tear were to occur the strong warp and filling fibers are done at intervals so that a tear will not spread.
Ripstop nylon may be waterproof, water resistant, fire resistant, or have zero porosity (will not allow air or water through), and comes in light, medium and heavy weights. Textures range from a soft and silk-like material to a crisp or stiff fabric that sounds like a paper bag when moved.
It was developed during World War II to replace silk that was used in the production of parachutes. The material comes in many different colors and sizes, including thickness.
Ripstop Nylon is slick, super strong, and lightweight. If you already know how to sew with other fabric choices, such as cotton, you already know the basics needed to sew with Ripstop Nylon.
When the Go Green Project went into testing the most asked question was, “Is Ripstop hard to sew?”
It is much easier to sew with than you may think. Yes, it does fray (be prepared to find little ripstop fuzzies all over you sewing room) and yes it is a bit slippery. Here are a few tips to use, but trust me you will do just fine; in fact, I think you will be looking for more reasons to use this fabric after you finish your Go Green reusable bags and Pods.
7 Helpful Tips when sewing with Ripstop Nylon
1. Choose the correct needle. I recommend a new sharp Microtex 80/12, but any brand of a sharps needle will do.
2. If you are worried about the ripstop being too slippery you can use a Teflon, Roller Foot, or even a Walking Foot.
3. An all-purpose polyester thread, or nylon thread is best. I use Dual Duty XP General Purpose Thread.
4. Use a little longer of a stitch length when sewing ripstop nylon. A small stitch length can cause the seams to be weak as they simply perforate a line down the fabric and can pull apart over time. It can also cause your fabric to bunch up or “pucker”. When sewing I recommend somewhere between 8-10 stitch per inch (2.5-3.0).
5. When cutting out your pieces use sharp fabric scissors or a new rotary blade to get clean straight edges; this can also aid in helping with fraying. If you are going to use a serger or overlock stitch option rather than the seaming techniques listed you can help prevent the edges fraying by using Pinking Shears.
6. The bags will bear some weight when you put them to use, so you will want the seams to be reinforced. If you are not finishing them off with a serger it is highly recommended that you use the felled and french seams that the pattern calls for. This will not only give you stronger seams but also a nice professional finish the bags.
7. Last but certainly not least, be sure that you set your iron on setting that is appropriate for nylon to get smooth seams. You do not want to burn the pretty fabrics. Use the nylon or silk setting on your iron.
Ripstop comes in a great variety of colors as well as weight. Any of the choices available will work just fine for the Go Green System. I recommend the 1.9 oz; however if you desire a less see-through fabric (especially the lighter colors) you can choose a heavier weight and get the same great results.
Now, that you know Ripstop Nylon is a fun and easy sew you are all ready to choose your colors, whether they be bright and loud, coordinated, or more subtle..boy Ripstop comes in a huge variety of colors, and get sewing!
If you make the Go Green bags and Pod we would love to see! Please hop on over and join the RLR Creations Sewing group to share your projects, find some inspiration or simply to say hi. We would love to have you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RLRCreationsSewingPatterns/
If you have any further questions concerning working with Ripstop please leave a message in the comments and I will be happy to answer them.