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Sewing With Fishing Line: Is it a good idea? (you may be surprised)

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A question often raised on many survivalist forums is whether it’s a good idea to use fishing line for sewing. What’s the deal with sewing with fishing line? Let’s find out.

What is fishing line

Fishing line is a tough material designed to withstand the stress of pulling a fighting fish out of the water. As you can imagine, it would be very, very strong.

Modern fishing lines are usually made of tough synthetic materials like nylon.

Can you sew with fishing line?

The main reason you’d like to use fishing line for sewing is if you’re in a tight spot and all you have is fishing line. You want something durable that can withstand elements and still remain strong.

Many discussions on survivalist forums talk about using fishing line to sew and repair kevlar vests or backpacks. The idea is if you’re in a survival situation, you most likely will have fishing line on you to catch your food, of course, and you may not have thread – so what can you do?

Other people have reported successfully using dental floss, too, as it is similarly very tough and the waxy coating also makes it water resistant and extra durable.

While you could get away with using fishing line to sew tough materials like backpacks and kevlar vests, the extra strength of the fishing line is actually a disadvantage when it comes to regular fabric.

That’s because thread is generally weaker than the fabric it sews. When under stress, the thread gives, not the fabric, so you can just stitch it up again.

If the thread is stronger than the fabric, the fabric will give, not the thread, so you’ll lose a little bit of fabric any time there is a tear!

So I guess the better answer here would be: you can sew with fishing line, but it’s better if you don’t.

To be prepared for emergencies, there are some alternatives you can keep in your survival pack:

Alternatives to sewing with fishing line

A good alternative to the strength of fishing line is waxed braided cord, which you can get for quite cheap and throw in to your survival pack.

You will need a large-eyed needle to work with this, because it is cord after all, but it’s tough and can do the trick for sewing in emergencies.

Tandy Leather Waxed Braided Cord 25 yds. (22.9 m) Red 11210-07
  • TANDY LEATHER COMPANY-Waxed Braided Cord
  • Add some color and extra fun to your leather craft projects with this high quality, heavy duty braided cord
  • This cord is also fantastic for making friendship bracelets
  • Spool contains 25 yds
  • Imported

How to actually use fishing line in sewing

So while you can’t really (or shouldn’t at least) use fishing line for the thread itself, there is another cool way to use fishing line in your sewing, though it definitely won’t be in emergencies!

You can use fishing line to sew curly lettuce hems or ruffles in your dresses.

It’s really easy to do, and it works in a similar way as a wire in a bra.

First off, you’ll need to shape your fishing line. Decide on how big you want the ruffles or curls to be, and find a roll or jar with that diameter. Wrap the fishing line around it to the length you require and use a hair dryer to really heat it up(but don’t melt it).

Let it cool, and you’ll see that the wire now has a new shape!

Now all you have to do is sew your curly fishing wire into your dress’ hem or your blouse’s hem and you’ve got yourself a curly hem or ruffle!

This tutorial is super useful to follow:

About the Author SMC

We're a husband and wife team of craft enthusiasts! Mostly we love working with different kinds of fabrics - in fact, you'll be hard pressed to find a store-bought piece of clothing in our home. Most of the stuff we enjoy making by hand!

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1 comment
Bob Fayle says

I sewed up one of the seems in my coveralls with 8 lb fishing line! I did the same thing a few years back and it worked very well. So far the job I did on my coveralls seems to be ok. I decided to google the idea and most advice is not to use it. I am not a proficient sewer but it doesn’t have to win any awards for beauty. aside from the thread being tougher than regular thread are there any other drawbacks to be aware of? The seems are folded to make a fourfold seem. I feel that that thickness of material should support the extra strength of the nylon! The coveralls are military material. I am going to stick with my sewing job till it fails, but I just wondered if there are any other considerations to consider. Thank you for your time and consideration of my conundrum. By the way the stitching is done manually, not on a machine! I don’t know how to use a swing machine yet! lol.
Bob Fayle.

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