A Guide to Waterproof Fabric

A Guide to Waterproof Fabric

Let’s be honest, we live in Great Britain and while that may have advantages like David Beckham and lovely Afternoon Teas it does also mean that we always have to think about rain. Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter: rain is always on our minds. 


What does that mean for our fabric choices? Well naturally it means we need to be thinking about water repellent and water-resistant fabrics for our makes, ranging from outdoor cushions, to coats and even backpacks. 


The Definition of Waterproof, Water Repellent and Water-Resistant Fabric


We thought the best place to start would be the definitions and differences between Waterproof, Water Repellent and Water-Resistant fabric.


Waterproof Fabric – prevents water from reaching your skin

There is a big difference between water-resistant and waterproof fabric, which consumers often confuse. As an example, waterproof fabric is where the structure of the fabric, and usually a combination of layers, prevents the water from reaching your skin. 

On the other hand, if a fabric is water-resistant or water repellent, this means that the fabric itself is acting as a barrier between the wearer and water. The water can’t easily penetrate the material, but it would eventually start to seep in through the coating, the fabric and onto your skin.

Water Repellent - water will struggle to penetrate the cloth. 

Another word for this is hydrophobic which quite literally means fear of water. This is usually achieved by covering the fabric in a coating which can wear away after time and regular washing. 

Water Resistant - the cloth can cope with low level exposure to water such as rain or humidity.

An interest fact we found in our research is that polyester is water resistant (not waterproof to be clear) and the higher the thread count, the more water resistant it becomes. This is true for all fabric because the high thread counts have a tighter weave, literally making it more difficult for the water to get through. 


Which Water Resistant Fabric is Best for Outdoor Use?


So, we guess the next step would be to tell you about the water resistant and repellent fabrics we have currently and their brilliant uses.


Outdoor Cushion Fabric


To start with, we have a brilliantly coloured range of water-resistant outdoor fabrics. These are made of a PU coating polyester, meaning they can be washed at 30 degrees as well as dealing with rain. They are perfect for making outdoor cushions, which if you leave out in the rain one night, they won’t be damaged. The PU coating means it has a protective film to keep the water out, but not only that it also makes the fabric more robust and durable too. 


Water resistant outdoor cushion fabric


Outdoor Furniture Cover Fabric


Our other water repellent range is Teflon coated acrylic, and although these don’t come in the same jazzy colours as the PU coating fabric, these also make great outdoor furniture covers. You may be thinking what does Teflon coating mean? Well, although it also has a protective film on it, this time it allows for a more natural texture making it feel more ‘natural’. And for all your pub quizzers, Teflon was created in 1939 by Chemours (a part of DuPont) in 1938. 


Water Resistant Outdoor furniture fabric


Backpack and Bag Fabric


Now the other thing about both these ranges is not only would they make great outdoor cushions, but they are also perfect for making bags as there is nothing worse than coming home to find your pack a mac has worked a treat, but all your stuff has taken a beating from the downpour. 

But if you had your heart set on something a bit more patterned these would make great linings for those days when things are just going wrong, and your re-usable bottle has leaked.  Although teaming one with a co-ordinating brushed cotton panama would make a chic and practical bag, even if a backpack isn’t your thing. 


Water Resistant Bag Fabric


Picnic Blanket Fabric


Talking of other uses for these cloths, how about the backing of a picnic blanket? We are big fans of a blanket/play mat hybrid and although we have mentioned a lot about some children themed blankets, we have been thinking recently about making one from our Summer Drinks Furnishing cloth with a water-resistant backing perfect as a Christmas gift for next summer. 


Water Resistant Blanket Fabric


Raincoat Fabric


We can’t talk about anything waterproof without mentioning raincoats; right now, we haven’t really got anything suitable for that. But don’t worry we are always on the lookout for it. Although the above fabrics are suitable because they repel water to a certain degree, they would be slightly too hard or crispy for a coat and would be possibly quite uncomfortable. However, if you’re the type to always carry a brolly (and who doesn’t at this time of year?) then do check out our fabulous coat fabric collection.


Shop for Water Resistant Fabric Online


If you’re already looking forward to the return to outdoors next year, come and browse all the collection of water-resistant fabrics at Fabrics Galore London and if you’re not sure what you need, you can always call the friendly team on 0207 738 9589


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Welcome to the Fabrics Galore London online store, packed full of beautiful fabrics to inspire your next dressmaking, patchwork quilting, craft or home furnishing sewing project. We stock a huge range of different materials alongside designer fabrics from Liberty, Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely, Laura Ashley, William Morris and Alexander Henry. We source the highest quality fabrics, so whether it be a cotton, linen, viscose, chambray, jersey or wool, we have you covered.Check out our dressmaking fabric for something with drape, fabulous Liberty cotton lawn prints, quilting fabrics for patchwork inspiration or the home furnishing section to pimp your pad. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get sewing!

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