So you’ve snagged and ripped your favorite down jacket or vest and you’re losing feathers like a molting chicken. That’s exactly where I found myself not long ago. My immediate and quick fix was of course Duct tape, but to me that’s more of a band aid than an actual repair job. When I got home and was researching how to more permanently repair the hole, I came across a few different methods. One was using a product called tenacious tape, the other was using seam grip. Maybe I’m a little but vain, but after looking at the two options, I thought they didn’t necessarily look the best. Some would argue, the rips are your battle scars, and sure if you tore your jacket climbing something just short of a 5.15C then HELL YA, tape away, but often times it’s the little things that occur in every day life that cause a snag, rip or tear. I’m actually pretty proud of my rip… I got mine helping teach my 4 year old daughter how to ice skate. I took a toddler size 10 toepick to the stomach.
Anyways, my wife likes to sew and she recommended I try a product called “Wonder Under”. It’s a heat fusible fabric web that is typically used to adhere fabric to fabric, so I thought I’d give it a try.
First, I carefully removed the Duct tape and tried to get off as much of the tape/glue residue as possible. My tear/ puncture was pretty clean but if your’s has misc nylon strands or frays, try to clean them up as best as possible.
Next, I cut a piece of Wonder Under that is a little larger than the area I was going to repair.
The next thing I did was to iron the Wonder Under piece to a scrap of fabric. I did this because I didn’t want the back side of the Wonder under fusing and sticking to the inside of my vest or any down.You will notice the Wonder Under product has 2 sides. One is shiny, the other has a paper backing on it. Leave the paper on it and iron the two together. I used a dish towel between the Wonder Under and my iron to keep any glue from getting onto the iron.
After the 2 were fused together I cut the piece to clean up the edges once again. Now it was time to peel the paper side off of my repair swatch.
I cleared and pushed as many of the down feathers away from the rip I was going to repair, and CAREFULLY inserted the repair swatch I made. Be sure that the side that you just peeled the tape off of is up. Remember, this is the “Glue” side that you need to adhere to the inside. Slide the piece into place and align the exterior edges as best as possible.
Next, carefully lay your dish towel over the are to be ironed, and iron it in place using only as much of the iron as necessary. I used the medium cotton heat setting and just the tip of the iron, and was sure to move the iron around constantly as to not melt my vest.
I peeled back the towel and made sure I had thoroughly gotten the entire area heat welded together. Once I was sure, I removed the towel and sure enough the hole was repaired.
Almost good as new and hardly noticeable once I put my vest on.
Now, I don’t believe that anyone’s really going to be packing an iron and some of this Wonder Under into some remote location. That’s why on pack trips I always try to have a little bit of Duct tape with me, because jacket repair is just one of it’s hundreds of uses. BUT, I hope that if your at home and looking for an alternative means of permanent repair to the tape or the seam seal, you consider this. I haven’t yet found anyone on the internet that uses this Wonder Under for down jacket, vest or sleeping bag repair, so hopefully I shared a new idea with you. My vest repair has held up after more than two weeks of constant use and is still going strong. If it works for you, please let me know.
Disclosure: My wife owns this product and she purchased it using her own funds… she had the great repair idea, I borrowed a piece and I fumbled my way through it.