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Separating and Reglueing Seams, Basic Hems and Reinforcing Glued Latex

©copyright 2002 by wetseal_rubber

From: Rubber The Right Way - A Condensed Primer on Making Your Own Latex Clothing


Separating and Reglueing Seams

For seam construction errors or garment alterations, you can usually carefully separate the joined seams. This technique DOES PRESENT A RISK TO THE GARMENT, but about a 95% success rate is acheivable. Practice first on glued scraps.

  1. Find a spot along the seam (preferably near the end) where you can carefully pick the seam apart. Avoid overstretching the raw edge and avoid starting where a jagged raw edge exists.
  2. Once started, carefully split the seam apart no more than 1/8" (0.3 cm) per tug, bracing the downseam latex with your fingers against splitting. Work from side to side along the width of the seam, being careful not to tug the raw edge at a shallow angle. Don't use solvent, because while it softens the glue, it also weakens the latex while in contact with it.
  3. When the seam is apart, smooth rough glued edges with solvent. Don't remove the glue, just smooth it out.
  4. Re-glue the seam, allow to dry, then rejoin.

Basic Hems

Hemming removes the risk of catching and splitting raw edges while giving your garment a finished appearance. Basic hems are made as follows:

  1. Turn the garment inside out and orient the raw edge towards you.
  2. If the hem is in the round, insert 3" (7.5 cm) wide strips of paper to protect the exterior surface turned inside from glue.
  3. Apply a 1/2" (1.3 cm) width of glue along the raw edge. For round hems (sleeves, ankles), glue in two steps, flipping the garment between steps.
  4. Allow to dry.
  5. Begin folding over a 1/4" (0.7 cm) hem and continue along the full length of the seam to be hemmed.
  6. Roll with a brayer or dowel when completed.
  7. Reinforced hems on tight garments do not roll up. Use the same reinforcing technique as for seams, keeping one edge of the reinforcing strip close to the edge of the hem. Start and end at a seam point, providing 1/2" (1.3 cm) of glued overlap on the strip. Ensure glue is complete to the edge of the overlap to prevent peeling.
  8. Roll with a brayer or dowel.

Reinforcing Glued Latex


Prepare Reinforcing Strips

  1. Prepare 1/2" (1.3 cm) wide strips of latex that are at least as long as the seams you intend to reinforce.
  2. Apply glue to the strips and allow to dry.
  3. If you need many strips, you can be more efficient by doing several at once.
  4. On the outside surface, use wide masking tape to back larger piece of latex (to prevent curling).
  5. With a ruler and marker, rule out 1/2" (1.3 cm) wide strips to be cut.
  6. Tape the latex, inside up, to the table with slight stretch applied.
  7. Apply glue, allow to dry.
  8. Cut the strips and remove the masking tape.
  9. Hang cut strips over a wide board or using clothespins until ready for use.
  10. Do not allow them to stick together.

Apply Reinforcing Strips

  1. Strips must be longe enough to reach to a hem or a seam without a break. Overlap strips at seams if needed.
  2. Begin application at one end, allowing most the strip to lie glued face up on the garment parallel to the seam.
  3. Take into account any hemming, zipper placement, or other finishing work to be done. Leave the width of intended hems un-reinforced to allow a good bond and to reduce bulk at the hem.
  4. Apply the strip an inch (2.5 cm) at a time, pressing gently so that it can be removed and placed again if necessary.
  5. On curves, apply smaller sections at a time, stretching the seam from side to side slightly. Press lightly when applying. Work between any rippling as needed. Avoid over-stretching along the seam length.
  6. On completion, stop about 1" (2.5 cm) from the end of the seam and cut the excess strip, accounting for any hemming at the seam end.
  7. Gently roll out the seam with a brayer or wooden dowel. The first gentle rolling sets the seam and strip bond so that unbonded sections won't bunch up under pressure.
  8. Roll out firmly a second time.


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