View Full Version : taffeta nylon at wal-mart (vs silnylon)

05-08-2006, 05:19
While searching for silnylon in the wal-mart $1 bin (which I found), I came across an "unknown" fabric. When I felt it, the first thing I said was, "Gee, this feels like umbrella fabric. I'm sure I could do something with it." - So I bought 20 yards for $20.

When I got home I found that I have taffeta nylon, which is definitely umbrella fabric. So I water tested it.

It stood up to my water testing far better than the silnylon I bought. I did three tests:

1. I covered a bowl with both fabrics and power water over the fabric. Both fabrics lasted 5 hours without dripping through (before I got bored and stopped).

2. I made a small pouch out of each and filled them with water. While the silnylon leaked from all over with a small squeeze, the taffeta only leaked from the seams.

3. From 1 foot away I sprayed them both with a hose... hard. After about 1 minute the silnylon water started to slowly come through in spots. The taffeta had no issues...

Anyway... I don't think there is *that much* difference in weight. Not to mention that taffeta is much easier for me to sew... so I will be making a nice 8x10 tarp tomorrow out of the taffeta.

Just wondering if anyone else has used it for anything?

05-08-2006, 06:44
"except the seams"

what about seam sealing it? (unless it is wide enough to use as is)


Frolicking Dinosaurs
05-08-2006, 06:49
I haven't used it on any projects, but years ago (long before sil-nylon) all tents were made with cotton canvas. About 1970-75, nylon taffeta became the material of choice for obvious reasons. Most cabin tents and wind-proof clothing were made with taffeta nylon. Floors were often the heavy material still used in family tents today and roofs were still made with canvas :confused:, but the steep side walls were uncoated taffeta nylon.

Then came the dome tents. I still have a huge dome tent - one of the first to come out - that is completely uncoated nylon taffeta. (Burn, remember the huge orange tent I used in Serenity Hollow all the time?) I have stayed in that tent with half-a-dozen kids in pounding rain and stayed dry several times. I had that many kids in my tent because other tents were not faring as well. The tent survived a small tornado with ping-pong ball size hail in Jones Cove, TN. I was in the camp store watching - It laid the tent flat for several minutes, but the tent was fine afterward - and amazingly it was not really wet inside. I did use a homemade waterproof footprint (cut about four inches all around smaller than the floor) with that tent because moisture from the ground would collect under my inflatable mattresses if I didn't. The tent also had to be staked though it was free-standing because it would blow over (the wind would get under the rain fly and pull it upward like a kite).

If you experience any problem with leaking with your tarp (except in the seams which need to be carefully sealed), I'd suggest pitching it so the sides are steeper.

I'm using nylon taffeta to cover the top portion of the pad cover in the sleep system I'm making now (the pad cover is similar to Big Agnes's design except it is a double with a 6" wide insulated area between the two pads and has stuffable fleece pillow pockets built in so we don't have to chase our pillows all night :clap). Taffeta was used extensively in sleeping bags before ripstop nylon came into favor. I still have a oversided car camping bag purchased in 1973 that has been used in the neighborhood of 1,000 to 1,200 nights. It has two small rips. This stuff is very durable - more durable than ripstop nylon IMO. However, if a tear starts, there is nothing to stop it from enlarging as there is in ripstop. I patched a small tear with an air mattress repair patch about 20 years ago - the patch worked for another 6 years of heavy use.

05-08-2006, 21:24
At WallyWorld, the most common "unknown" fabric that feels silky in their $1 bin is polyester lining - about 0.6 oz/yd. Good stuff for some things. Not windresistant, not water resistant.

Rain Man
05-08-2006, 22:54
...When I got home I found that I have taffeta nylon, which is definitely umbrella fabric. ...

Are you sure it's nylon taffeta and not polyester taffeta???

The reason I ask is that polyester taffeta is used to make rain flies and tarps, such as this one...

I'm wondering what is the difference between "coated polyester taffeta" and "sil-nylon."



05-09-2006, 02:17
Yeah, it's definitely nylon. I had a friend (who is big into making her own clothes, etc.) tell me the same thing.

I already started on the tarp. I love the material... water beads up on this stuff and runs around like liquid mercury.

05-11-2006, 22:12
I bought some of this from www.fabricline.com a month or so back (with the idea of making a tarp and pack cover out of it). The pack cover is almost done, and I haven't started on the tarp. It was only $1 a yard (and is about 60" wide). I think this is nylon (and not the polyester).

05-14-2006, 18:46

I have bought both Ripstop nylon and the Poly taffeta( tent flooring) at Walmart, you can tell the difference. Poly Taffeta is a solid no small squares but the ripstop has small sqaures, almost see thru and coated with a water repellant( breathable too). I have tested the ripstop material with silicone mixer, It withstood 10-15mph winds and pouring rain for 3-5 hrs in my backyard.


05-15-2006, 18:22
At WallyWorld, the most common "unknown" fabric that feels silky in their $1 bin is polyester lining - about 0.6 oz/yd. Good stuff for some things. Not windresistant, not water resistant.

Spock, you dont happen to know anything else about this material do you? i found some silky polyester, but it had some raylon. does it say polyester lining on the label?