Master the Art of Sewing Nylon: A Comprehensive Guide for Both Beginners and Pros

Ever wondered how to sew nylon like a pro? You’re in the right place. Nylon, with its durability and lightweight nature, is a popular choice for a variety of sewing projects. However, it can be a bit tricky to handle if you’re not familiar with its unique characteristics.

Sewing nylon requires specific techniques due to its unique properties; beginners and pros alike can benefit from a detailed guide to handling this material. While specific high-authority guides were not identified in the top results, general sewing tips for nylon and other synthetic fabrics can typically be found on comprehensive sewing resource websites or books available on platforms like Amazon. For those interested in exploring sewing techniques across a variety of fabrics, including nylon, the “Ultimate Thread Reference Guide” by Sewing Parts Online offers valuable insights, accessible here. Additionally, the “Complete Book of Sewing Techniques” available on Amazon provides extensive coverage of various materials, including nylon, and is available here. For video tutorials, YouTube channels like “Made to Sew” offer practical demonstrations on working with nylon, which can be found here.

Understanding Nylon Fabric

When tackling a nylon sewing project, it’s crucial to first understand the nature of this unique fabric. Nylon came into the limelight during the 1930s as one of the first-ever synthetic materials. Over the years, it has become a staple fabric in the textile industry due to its undeniable benefits. But what really sets this fabric apart?

Its Lightweight and Durable Nature

One reason you will adore working with nylon is its lightweight quality. This property makes it a breeze in crafting clothing items that require a delicate touch yet remain functional. With its sturdy tendrils, nylon boasts a high resistance to wear, tear, and weather conditions.

So, whether you’re tailoring a sleek raincoat or creating a tough hiking backpack, nylon is an excellent pick.

Flexibility in Use

Another outstanding characteristic of nylon is its versatility. There’s a wide range of nylon types available, each with unique qualities making it suitable for an assortment of projects. To name a few:

  • Ripstop Nylon: Known for its crosshatch pattern, it’s resistant to tearing making it ideal for outdoor gear.
  • Tricot Nylon: With its soft feel and slight stretch, it’s perfect for making lingerie or swimsuits.
  • Ballistic Nylon: Originally developed for military protection, it’s extremely durable and suited for heavy-duty items.

Managing Nylon’s Challenges

Despite its many merits, it’s important to be aware of nylon’s potential challenges. For one, it tends to fray at the edges, meaning you’ll need to make sure any cut edges are properly sealed. Additionally, nylon’s slippery nature could make it slightly difficult to handle.

The key is getting accustomed to its behavior, so you can handle it more confidently and with greater finesse during your sewing project. Having the right tools and taking advantage of sewing techniques for slippery fabrics will surely make your sewing experience smoother.

Choosing the Right Needles and Thread

Venturing into the world of sewing nylon, one essential factor to consider involves deciding on appropriate needles and thread. Let’s delve into it, shall we?

Opting for the correct type of needle is paramount. You’d want to make sure your needle can navigate through the nylon without causing it to rip or pull. Selecting a universal needle of size 70/10 will serve best for most nylon types, especially lighter ones such as Ripstop or Taffeta. Bolder materials like ballistic or Cordura nylon may necessitate a stronger needle of size 80/12 or 90/14. For a fun project, you could even try making a pizza delivery bag using heavy-duty nylon.

Picking the right type of thread to go along with your precise needle is equally crucial. Nylon thread is typically your best bet when sewing nylon fabric. This thread boasts an exceptional strength-to-size ratio and robust contraction and stretching abilities, making it ideal for sewing light and heavy-duty nylon materials alike. Just as pork is versatile in many dishes, the right thread can adapt to various sewing needs.

However, polyester thread, known for its resilience and resistance to ultraviolet (UV) damage, can also be an excellent choice. Polyester thread tends to be less expensive than nylon thread and is also readily available in a wide array of colors. The variety of thread colors can be as diverse as flavors in ice cream, offering you numerous options for your projects. Whether you’re making new things like bags or repairing outdoor gear, the right thread and needle combination is crucial. When you’re working around to work on intricate designs, this attention to detail ensures a successful outcome.

Here is a quick reference table for the needles and threads best suited to different nylon types:

Nylon TypeNeedle SizeRecommended Thread
Ballistic80/12 – 90/14Nylon/Polyester
Cordura80/12 – 90/14Nylon/Polyester

Keep in mind, this table is merely a guide. Personal preferences and specifics of individual sewing projects can affect needle and thread choices. It’s recommended to always do a test run on a swatch of your chosen material before plunging into the actual sewing project.

Preparing the Sewing Machine

Now that you’ve got your nylon fabric, the appropriate needles, and thread in hand, it’s time to prep your sewing machine. Get ready to handle nylon like a pro!

First, set up your sewing machine with the nylon-specialized needles you’ve selected. Thread it with the robust thread you’ve chosen, specifically for working with nylon. Remember, nylon being slippery can make sewing a bit tricky. So, the right setup for your machine can go a long way in ensuring a smooth sewing experience.

Next, adjust the machine’s tension. Standard tension settings might not be ideal for nylon. It’s often best to loosen the tension slightly when working with nylon as it’s more prone to puckering than other fabrics, especially under tight tension. Hence, it’s crucial to test your machine settings on a scrap piece of nylon before sewing your actual project.

Moreover, the stitch length is another setting that needs your attention. When dealing with delicate or light nylon, a short stitch length can cause puckering or warping. A slightly longer stitch length is recommended as it not only prevents puckering but also gives extra strength to the seam.

Finally, consider using a walking foot, an optional addition that can be particularly handy when dealing with nylon. Why you ask? Well, it’s because a walking foot helps feed the fabric evenly through the machine – a great advantage considering the slippery nature of nylon.

Tips for Sewing Nylon

  • While preparing your sewing machine is a significant step, your skills and technique matter too. Here are the top tips for sewing nylon that can elevate your work to professional levels.

Use Sharp Tools
Sharp tools can be your best ally when dealing with nylon. Because of its high tensile strength, you need razor-sharp scissors and needles. A sharper needle will allow for more precise stitches, guaranteeing a neat and professional seam. Keeping the tools sharp throughout the process is paramount.

Use the Right Thread
The choice of thread can determine the strength and the appearance of your seams. You can go for an all-purpose polyester thread, which pairs nicely with the stretchiness of nylon. For outdoor projects, a UV-resistant thread is an excellent choice, aiming for durability and longevity.

Backstitch at the Beginning and End
Don’t overlook the importance of backstitching to secure your thread. At the beginning and end of a seam, ensure to backstitch. This will lock the thread in place and prevent your seam from coming undone.

Avoid Pins
Pins can leave permanent holes in nylon. Instead, use pattern weights or binder clips to hold pieces together without piercing the fabric. This method prevents potential damage and ensures a professional look.

Press Carefully
Nylon is sensitive to high temperatures. Use a low heat setting when you’re pressing your seams and always use a pressing cloth. This can prevent a nasty surprise of scorched or melted fabric.

  • Keep in mind, that these tips will help boost your stitching. And remember, practice makes perfect. Start by sewing small, undemanding pieces and gradually tackle more complex projects. Here’s a pro tip: always have a seam ripper on hand. When sewing nylon, some mistakes are inevitable. But don’t fret – you can always rip the seam and start again. Let’s remember, that the journey to mastery is a process, not a sprint. So, take your time, adjust as required and keep a positive attitude. Making errors and learning from them will help you become a proficient nylon sewer in no time.


Mastering the art of sewing nylon isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a skill that requires patience, practice, and the right tools. Remember, sharp scissors and needles are your best friends here. They’ll give you those precise stitches and neat seams you’re aiming for. Don’t underestimate the power of the right thread. All-purpose polyester or UV-resistant thread can make a world of difference in your projects. And let’s not forget about backstitching. It’s your safeguard against seams coming undone. Pattern weights or binder clips? They’re the unsung heroes that keep your fabric intact. And when it comes to pressing those seams, remember – low heat and a pressing cloth are key to avoiding any damage to your nylon fabric. So keep practicing, stay patient, and don’t be afraid to use that seam ripper when needed. You’re on your way to becoming a nylon sewing pro.

What tools are recommended for sewing nylon?

The article advises on using sharp tools like scissors and needles. These ensure precise stitches and neat seams, essential for professional-looking results.

What type of thread is suitable for sewing nylon?

Suitable threads for sewing nylon include all-purpose polyester thread and UV-resistant thread. They offer the right balance of strength and flexibility necessary for different projects.

Is backstitching recommended during nylon sewing?

Yes, backstitching at the beginning and end of seams is advised to secure the thread firmly. This step helps to prevent the seam from unraveling.

Should I use pins to hold nylon pieces together during sewing?

Instead of using pins which can damage the fabric, the article recommends using pattern weights or binder clips to hold your nylon pieces together.

How should I press seams when sewing nylon?

When pressing seams in nylon fabric, use a low heat setting and a pressing cloth. This helps prevent any possible damage to your nylon fabric.

How can mistakes be rectified during nylon sewing?

For correcting mistakes, use a seam ripper. Remember, becoming proficient in sewing nylon doesn’t happen overnight. It requires practice and patience.