In a world where everything is being rushed, confusion and breakdowns are inevitable. It would be best if you took it slow sometimes; to slowly relax and savor the passing moments. Sewing by hand will go a long way in helping you with that. When repairing little areas, don’t rush to your machine. Give your fingers a chance! I promise you’ll love the process and the result. And when the power goes out, you’ll appreciate that you learned this.
Webbing is a strong and closely woven fabric used to make items such as belts and straps. It is also used in upholstery to support the seats of upholstered chairs. There are different types, colors, and fabric of webbing. It is, therefore, exceptionally versatile, and you’ll have a variety to choose from. You’ll require unique materials and techniques to sew webbing, but that is not to scare you. It is relatively easy to do!
How to Sew Webbing by Hand?
Sewing by hand happens to be very relaxing. And it is probably just the thing you need for your sewing projects like webbing. You’ll need a size 18 needle and a preferred thread. Pull this halfway through in such a manner that a double thread will be going through the fabric. The best thing about sewing by hand is that you get to feel fulfilled with the result.
Selecting the Right Webbing Before Sewing
You may have wondered what material makes the most robust webbing. Cotton, polypropylene, and nylon take the battle in this, with each having their strongholds. However, one is stronger than the other two, and here is a breakdown of the materials.
The most significant advantage that cotton has is the ability to get rid of static electricity. Despite it being thin and lightweight, it is stable and firm. Besides having a great texture, it is a more comfortable fabric to sew than the other two materials and gives a more natural fiber feel.
The applications of cotton webbing include:
- Space applications
- Canteen straps
- Bag handles
- Upholstery furniture
- Industrial Belts
- Military uses
- Moving straps
Polypropylene, also called polypro, is a more popular webbing fabric. It has excellent tensile strength and is more robust than cotton. Moreover, it is a prevalent webbing material with incredible tensile strength. It dries quickly, is an excellent insulator, and is easy to clean. Despite being a lightweight material, it is resistant to abrasion and hinge stress hence very durable. It is also water-resistant, shrink resistant, and mildew resistant. Its applications include:
- Luggage straps
- Dog collars
- Child safety
- Boat rigging
Nylon webbing is the most robust webbing. It has greater tensile strength than polypropylene and is very durable. Nylon is relatively elastic, being able to stretch and return quickly to its original shape. It is also shrink-resistant, mildew resistant, and abrasion-resistant.
Nylon is considered perfect for webbing due to its strength. It, therefore, has several heavyweight applications, which include:
- Boat rigging
- Making luggage straps
- Creating parachute straps
- Making backpacks
- Industrial and apparel belts
- Climbing harnesses
Each material has its advantages and may be suitable for your sewing project, depending on what you are looking to achieve. However, if you are looking for the most robust material, then nylon is just what you need.
Steps to Sewing a Webbing by Hand
Step 1: Select the type of webbing. Webbing is versatile, and consequently, there’s a variety of considerations to make before selecting one. These include material, color, and width. Cotton webbing is best for making purse handles, whereas synthetic fabric webbing is excellent for load-bearing sewing projects like backpacks. There are also those with solid color and others with printed designs. Choose a webbing that will best serve your needs.
Step 2: Measure the amount of webbing you’ll need and round it up to the nearest yard. Having extra webbing material ensures that you have enough to finish the project without coming up short.
Step 3: Determine the width of your webbing. It is determined by comfort, stability, appearance, and personal preference. Choose anything that will work best for you.
Step 4: Cut out the ends of the webbing. Webbing, however, disentangles easily, and tape will help with this. Wrap the ends with tape before cutting them to the required size. Do not adjust the width in the same manner; it will be disastrous. Only change the length. You should cut across the length of the webbing and avoid at all costs cutting along the length.
Step 5: Melt the ends after cutting. The tape will only help temporarily, but to permanently secure the webbing, melt the ends. Hold them over a flame and wait until the fibers melt into themselves. If you are to eventually take this project to a sewing machine, avoid sewing through these melted parts. Your sewing machine needle could break.
Step 6: Pull the thread through the needle and have it go halfway. It is to ensure that you are sewing with a double thread. Use a size 18 needle as it is big enough to go through the fabric without breaking. The thread should be at least two feet as you’ll be using almost twice as much as you would on ordinary sewing.
Step 7: With your needle threaded, start your stitches at the outside edge going all the way until you are done. Use a thimble to push the needle to avoid hurting your thumb. You could also use a pair of needle-nose pliers to pull the needle from the other side to make the process easier. Ensure that the thread is going through all the layers.
Step 8: When done sewing, tie a knot in the thread to prevent it from coming out.
Joining Two Pieces of Webbing
When webbing, you’ll find that the most useful knot is the overhand bend, commonly known as the water knot. It is tied by rethreading and serves to join two ends of webbing together. It is often used to join two ends of the same piece to achieve a sling or even a loop.
Webbing doesn’t tie the same way as rope as it is flat. The water knot lies flat in webbing and hence is most suitable. Other knots like the figure-eight knot don’t lie flat. They thus make the knot hard to inspect and significantly compromise on its strength such that they untie easily.
Webbing knots must be tightened carefully. The tails should also be 3 inches long. For slings, use your foot to hold the sling and pull hard. When webbing knots are not set well, they randomly untie.
Steps to Setting Your Webbing Knots
Step 1: On one end, tie a water knot and turn it over.
Step 2: On the other end, trace the first knot’s path. Also, make sure it is complete.
Step 3: Adjust the knot to ensure both tails are at least 3 inches and then pull tight. It is just that easy!
What Thread Should I Use While Sewing Webbing?
With many options to choose from, you may find it hard to pick the perfect thread. Nylon is the most recommended among sewists and tailors. It is strong, hard, and smoothly slides through the fabric, unlike other threads. The upholstery thread is good as well. What you should avoid are Vinyl threads as they don’t sew well regardless of the fabric.
Can I Sew Nylon Webbing Straps?
Yes, you can. It, however, happens to be very tiresome to do this by hand. It would need a lot of hand and wrist strength, which you may not have. You’d be surprised to know that some machines can’t be used for this either. Only heavy-duty sewing machines can handle the webbing and the several layers you’d need to sew through.