Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Gortex jackets#3 - on waterproofing
Janine has just asked me a question about the Oregon jacket I made last week. "What have you used on the jacket seams to seal them, and is it available in Aus?" This is a very timely question. I am currently procrastinating about sealing the seams, as it is a rather messy job. So to procrastinate a bit more, I am putting in a photo of an alternate front pocket, that I used on a previous jacket. This pocket is made longer than required, so that there is a double fold when the pocket is fastened. This keeps the rain out better than the pocket I used on the green jacket, but I had very little fabric, so could not use it this time.
Back to waterproofing. I use seam sealer, which appears to have no brand name, that I purchased from my local camping shop, in rural QLD. Any place that stocks tents (maybe not Big W or Target tents) generally carries this, as most tents are not presealed at the seams. The local shop carries 2 types of sealant, the other one is more expensive. I have been very pleased with the performance of this particular seam sealant, it is a bit like glue to apply, and does not keep well in the tube once opened. I originally applied it to the outside of the seams - bad mistake. I did this to the size 2 jacket, now intermittently on the body of my nephew, so cannot show you how like a snail trail it appears. There is a photo here where I applied it over the mesh lining at the hood on an earlier jacket, as this seam is sewn after attaching the lining, but I am not sure you can see how messy it appears. I recommend that you seam seal on the inside. I found that you cannot do the whole jacket at once, or the seams stick together where they intersect. I work on horizontal seams in the hood,allow to dry, vertical seams at the hood, allow to dry, raglan shoulder seams, dry, under sleeve and side seams, dry, then the front zip seams last. I spread the sealant with a disposable plastic knife. It is a slow job. This is why I have tried to avoid seam exposure as much as possible during the construction process. It is also why I am procrastinating about this next step. We are camping this weekend, and I am hoping it does not rain really hard.....
Seam sealing works well for extreme conditions. I made my husband a pair of Gortex overpants for a 10 day hiking/mountaineering trip in South West Tasmania. The other guys had purchased pants. It rained, sleeted and snowed, he walked through creeks and slid down mud, and he said he was the only one with a dry behind.