Sealing Edges of Nylon and Other Ravelly Outdoor Fabrics

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How do I seal the edges on nylon fabric that I’m using for a windsock?

There are several ways to handle ravel-prone outdoorwear fabrics. The easiest is to use a hot tool, with a tiny blade that heats up and fuses the fibers along the edge of your cut pieces. It takes a bit of practice not to melt and distort the cut edge, but once you’ve got it down, it’s easy as pie. Using a heat-resistant surface like a glass cutting board, just run the heated point along the fabric edge and a tiny bead of melted synthetic forms, making it ravel resistant.

Another way to prevent raveling is to “candle” the fabric. This involves running the cut edge quickly through the flame of a candle to melt the fibers, just like the hot tool does. This method is a bit more precarious, as you have to be careful not to catch the fabric on fire or leave it in the flame too much that it distorts and/or blackens the edge. A very quick pass is all it takes to secure the threads–no blinking or sneezing allowed, as that increases the time too much!

Either of these methods should be done in a well-ventilated area, as you’re melting synthetic fibers which emit fumes.

A third option is to apply seam sealant to the cut edges of your project. This requires careful application just to the edge, otherwise staining can occur. The best way to apply the sealant is with a cotton swab or toothpick, then allow the fabric to dry before moving.

Yet another option is to zigzag or serge the edges and narrowly hem them to prevent raveling. Check to be sure that your pattern allows for a hem allowance if you opt for this strategy.