How to Repair Waterproof Fabric

Written by samantha volz
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Whether you are an avid outdoorsman or taking a weekend camping trip with your family, waterproof equipment can be a lifesaver in cold, windy or rainy conditions. Specially designed to resist water, waterproof fabric keeps you warm and dry in even the rainiest or snowiest conditions. If the waterproof fabric gets damaged, however, that seal of protection is broken, and you run the risk of equipment or your own body getting wet during your outing. Having the proper materials and knowledge for repairing this type of fabric can save your camping trip from a soggy ending.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Water
  • Washrag
  • Scissors
  • Patch of waterproof fabric large enough to cover the damage
  • Urethane-based fabric adhesive
  • Needle
  • Thread

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Instructions

    Small tears (one inch or smaller)

  1. 1

    Turn the fabric inside out, so that you are looking at the damage from the inside of the fabric.

  2. 2

    Clean the area with a washrag soaked in warm water. If needed, you can add a drop of dish detergent to remove dried mud or other stains. Remove as much dirt as you can, as this can prevent the adhesive from sticking correctly.

  3. 3

    Cut an area of the waterproof patch large enough to cover the tear and an inch extended around each side of the tear. Covering the area around the patch will help to prevent the tear from spreading.

  4. 4

    Spread a thin layer of the fabric adhesive onto the patch, and also onto the area up to an inch around the tear in the fabric. Use urethane-based adhesive when possible, to help maintain the waterproof protection of the seal.

  5. 5

    Lay the patch over the tear and push firmly into place. Let the glue dry for at least 24 hours before returning the fabric to regular use.

  6. 6

    Smooth down the edges of the tear on the outside of the fabric, so that you cannot see the patch.

    Large tears

  1. 1

    Turn the fabric inside out and clean it as indicated above. Thread a sewing needle with thread in the colour of your choice, usually designed to match the colour of the garment.

  2. 2

    Start at one end of the tear and sew together the stitches of the tear. Pull the needle and thread tightly into place, but be careful not to wrinkle the garment when you pull. You only need to pull tightly enough that the edges of the tear touch. Sew until the tear is completely closed, and then knot and cut the thread to finishing the sewing process.

  3. 3

    Cut an area of the waterproof patch large enough to cover the tear and an inch extended around each side of the tear. Glue the patch flatly into place over the sewn area, as instructed above. Let the glue dry for at least 24 hours before returning the fabric to regular use.

  4. 4

    Smooth down the edges and any bumps in the glue from the right side of the fabric.

Tips and warnings

  • Patches, adhesive, needle and thread will be available at arts and crafts stores or sporting goods stores. These retailers may also sell fabric repair kits, which include these materials. Consult exact product instructions if you purchase one of these products.

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