Tips for Sewing with Waterproof PUL – Polyurethane Laminate

PUL-Fabric-Flare-FabricsPUL – or Polyurethane Laminate is a soft, waterproof fabric that most people think of as fabric perfect for the outside of cloth diapers. And while that is true, for me, PUL is perfect for the lining of bags – cosmetic bags, diaper bags, lunch bags, yoga bags, swim bags, essential oil bags – any bag where you carry items that spill, leak, squish, spoil – and so you know you’ll want to clean it easily.

I was pretty excited when I found the selection of PUL fabric we just brought into the store. I’m already experimenting and planning my next project.

WHAT IS PUL?

Polyurethane laminate (PUL) is a compound fabric made by laminating a cloth fabric to a thin film of polyurethane. The top fabric is a lightweight polyester interlock knit fabric and the back is a 1 mil thick film of polyurethane. These two components are bonded together into a single fabric using a combination of heat, pressure, and adhesive.

HOW TO SEW WITH PUL?

Sewing with PUL is easy once you get the hang of it – but it is different than cotton. Here are a few tips:

Do not prewash 

As PUL does not shrink, there is no need to prewash. You can also leave cut edges unfinished; it will not unravel or fray.

Do not use pins

Pins leave holes in the fabric, negating the waterproof features of PUL. Wonderclips are perfect for PUL (along with vinyl, leather, cork!). Try hair clips, binder clips, or washable glue sticks.

Use a Ball Point Needle

Use a Jersey or Ball Point Needle. These needles are used for sewing on knits and stretchy fabric; the rounded tip allows the needle to pass between the fabric threads by separating them. If you use a regular point needle you’ll poke sharp holes in the fabric. It will also result in skipped stitches and fabric damage, causing it to curl. Use a small needle diameter: 70/11, 75/11 or 80/12.

Use polyester thread to prevent wicking

Your thread should be 100% polyester. Make sure it is NOT cotton coated polyester – this can leads to moisture wicking along the seam line.

Sew with the coated side against the feed dogs

The laminate side of the fabric can stick to your presser foot. Sew PUL with the laminate side down. If you must sew laminate side up (for instance when making a wet bag), use a teflon foot, a walking foot, or lay thin paper over your seam.

No need to “heat seal”

It is not necessary to “seal” the seams of PUL items in a hot dyer prior to use, and this practice could potentially damage your fabric.

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