Taped seams are the essential component of waterproofing and making sure sewing seams are watertight. A seam that is not treated against the seepage of water, through the perforations of a needle in a seam, can not be classified as waterproof.
What are Taped Seams?
Taped seams are simply seams that have been sewn and then sealed with waterproof tape so that water cannot penetrate through the needle perforations.
The taped seam waterproofing process takes place at the manufacturing stage by applying the thermoplastic tape. This tape is sealed under heat and pressure onto the seam.
When you are shopping for waterproof clothing check the seams have been waterproofed for added protection against water seepage. Taped seams are necessary on all kinds of outdoor equipment including tents and outdoor protective clothing.
Can You Waterproof Your Own Jacket or Raincoat?
Yes, you can create your own taped seams. It requires something called waterproofing seam tape which comes on a roll like scotch tape. Decide on a tape brand with a good reputation and try it out at home on a scrap of fabric to be waterproofed.
Supplies for a Taped Seam
- SEAM TAPE - There are also glues and sprays on the market, but the tape seam generally gives the best waterproofing.
- PRESSING TOOLS - A pressing ham is a great help and a pressing cloth as well. Create your own pressing cloth by using scrap fabrics, cut into long strips the length of the seams.
- IRON - Steam irons are the best for pressing seam tape as you need a strong bond between the tape and the fabric. This is achieved both with heat and pressure.
Taped Seams with Waterpfoofing Seam Tape
When creating taped seams with specialized waterproofing seam tape, here are a few tips to get the best results.
- SEAM ALLOWANCE -Fold the seam over to the side or press it open before attaching the bonding tape.
- PLACEMENT - The tape must cover both the stitching and the seam. Trim the seam if necessary. Make sure you are putting the waterproofing side to the seam and not the other way around. Keep the tape on the roll as you go along because that helps you to know which side is treated. Waterproof tape is not double-sided.
- PRESSING - Avoid putting the iron directly on the tape and use a presser cloth. Take your time and hold the heat down on the presser cloth. It is a pressing action rather than sliding. Use a tailor’s ham to help with the sleeve seams and curved seams.
- PATCHING - You can add patches of tape if you mess up in a small area.
- FINISHING - The tape will look transparent when the bonding is successful.
Taped Seams for Stabilizing
Fusible bonding tapes are another way of making taped seams. Bonding tapes can be used to stabilize knit fabrics. A useful idea is a fusible stay tape across the shoulder seam. This prevents the shoulder from stretching. Applying seam tape to the neckline is another helpful application to prevent too much stretching on a knit fabric.
Taped Seams - In Conclusion
Sealing your seam for waterproofing is really a choice you make for outdoor clothing that needs to keep you warm and dry. Without taped seams, the tiny needle perforations on the seam will allow water to penetrate your weather-resistant clothing.
Take time to practice the art of taped seams with specially manufactured tape, and you will be thankful on the next outdoor expedition that you did.
Keep a few pieces of excess tape on hand for patches in case you overlooked a small piece of a seam. It is a bit like keeping a puncture repair kit on hand. If you spring a leak or find you are not watertight, you have a little piece of waterproof tape to patch up those leaky spots.