A Quick Guide To PUL Fabric

What Is PUL Fabric?

So, what is PUL fabric? Or  polyurethane laminate – apart from being a mouthful!?

Polyurethane laminate can be abbreviated to PUL fabric.

PUL is special… It’s a waterproof AND breathable fabric!

Waterproof swim bag

Boring Legal Bit: If you follow any tutorial or guidance found in this post, or on this blog, you agree to be bound by our disclaimer which can be viewed here

Why is this important?

Well, it means if you make waterproof items of clothing your body heat has a better chance of escaping into the atmosphere!

Heat escapes THROUGH the fabric – so you “glow” less.

It’s pretty brilliant!

Composition of PUL Fabric

PUL has 2 sides.

One side is a polyester knit, so has a slight stretch which is great for clothing.

The other side has a laminate coating applied.

It’s slippery and shiny – this is the waterproof bit.

PUL fabric - smooth and knitted side

  • PUL is soft & flexible
  • It doesn’t really crease
  • It air dries in super quick time
  • It’s safe – there’s no lead, phthalates or BPA

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What is Sandwich PUL

As well as single layer PUL we also stock sandwich PUL which works in the same way but instead of being composed of 2 layers of fabric there are 3 layers. The layer of laminate is sandwiched in between 2 layers knit fabric. This is especially helpful if you don’t want to have the shiny laminate side against the skin as it’s hidden away between the knit layers. It’s also stronger so if you are applying a kind of fastener such as KAM snaps, extra reinforcement isn’t required around the fastenings.

Uses: Cloth nappies and wraps, anoraks, waterproof trousers, wet bags, swim bags, changing mats, changing bags, mattress protectors, pillow protectors, baby bibs, picnic blankets, incontinence products, anywhere you need a waterproof, breathable layer.

Is there a right or wrong side?

We ALWAYS get asked this.

Is there a right side to ensure “waterproof-ness”?

There isn’t really, it’s a personal preference.

The fabric will be waterproof no matter which side you choose, so go with the look that pleases you most!

That said, for aesthetic & comfort reasons I usually use the knit side as the “right” side most often.

It’s more comfy if your project will be close to the skin.

Waterproof fabric

Tips for sewing with PUL fabric

✂️  Needle: Use a stretch needle

✂️  Stitch Length: Use 3mm stitch length

✂️  Machine Foot: A walking foot is helpful. If your machine foot is sticking then you can apply a bit of Scotch Magic Tape to the base of your normal machine foot

✂️  Thread Type: Polyester thread is recommended to match the fabric composition

✂️  Sealing sewing holes: When you sew your needle will leave tiny holes behind in the laminate layer which MAY affect the waterproof effectiveness of your garment.

These holes are easily resealed … either:

✂️ Pop your garment in the tumble dryer on low for 20 minutes

✂️ Or if you’re using our White PUL it’s weldable so just iron it (using a pressing cloth!) and the holes will seal!

❤️  A special note regarding our own brand of white PUL … we get this manufactured ourselves here in the UK & it has some very special properties:

☔ Its waterproof YET breathable

☔ Its medical grade

☔ Its weldable giving you a completely sealed seam (Look! No leaks!)

☔ Its fungistatic which – apart from being a brilliant word – means it inhibits the growth of fungi & bacteria ?

☔ Its double laminated – whaaaat’s that?! It means it lasts longer & is less likely to delaminate over time as it’s washed loads

☔ Its fire retardant

Uses For PUL Fabric

Love the sound of PUL? So where can you use it?! Well… anywhere you need a waterproof layer really…. here’s some handy projects on our blog!

PUL Backed Waterproof Bib
PUL lined waterproof wet-bag tutorial
Waterproof Swim Bag Tutorial
PUL Lined Wash bag tutorial
Waterproof mattress protector tutorial

Other ideas include….

  • Waterproof trousers
  • Wet bags
  • Cloth Nappies (We have a guide all about these here)
  • Changing mats
  • Changing bags
  • Picnic blankets
  • Pillow protectors
  • Incontinence products
  • Cloth sanitary protection

Have you sewn with PUL fabric? Have you got any tips to share?

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14 thoughts on “A Quick Guide To PUL Fabric”

  1. Thanks for the explanation. I was never really sure about the properties of this fabric.

  2. If, like me, you don’t have a walking foot, use a piece of baking paper between the PUL and the machine foot to help it glide. Just sew through it and pull away afterwards.

  3. I used PUL when I made us Covid face masks, as it has the waterproof layer and the knitted polyester layer. I lined the masks with cotton fabric for comfort. That way they have the 3 layers recommended by the World Health Organisation.

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