You’re about to go into a job interview, or an important presentation, or your sister’s wedding when you look down and realize the hem of your trousers or skirt has ripped out! In a pinch, you can often use a piece of tape to fix this before anyone notices. If you know the best kind of tape that sticks to fabric, you will be well prepared for this kind of emergency!
The best that sticks to fabric is fabric tape, which comes in double-sided or single-sided, wide or narrow, clear or matte colors. Many other varieties such as duct tape, gaffer, and Gorilla tape will stick to fabric but will not come out easily. Fusible hem tape also offers a permanent fix and will stick well to the fabric.
In this article, you will learn what makes tape adhere to fabrics. You will discover the best kinds of fabric tape to repair your clothing. Finally, you will learn what kinds of tape stick well to specific types of materials.
- What Tape Will Stick To Fabric?
- Best Tape That Sticks to Fabric
- Is There Such a Thing as Fabric Tape?
- Can You Use Gorilla Tape or Mounting Tape on Fabric?
- Does Alien Tape Stick to Cloth?
- Will Duct Tape Stick To Fabric?
- What Kinds of Tape Do Not Stick to Fabric?
- What Kinds of Fabric Will Tape Stick To?
What Tape Will Stick To Fabric?
Many different kinds of tape will stick to fabric, but some use adhesives that offer a much better hold on fabric fibers than others. For instance, Duct tape will hold many kinds of fabric quite well but will not peel away again later. Fabric tape is designed to adhere to the fabric and is usually your best choice for temporary clothing fixes.
Can you use tape on fabric? In most cases, yes. You can use fabric or hem tape in place of actual sewing if you don’t know how to sew or are in a hurry. It’s a great idea to keep a small roll of fabric tape in your bag or car in case of emergencies!
But tape may not offer you the most professional-looking, permanent fix. It’s a great stop-gap measure and can save the day on many occasions! However, even tape designed for use with fabric can create unsightly ridges or lines in your clothing in some cases.
The absolute best way to fix your clothing is to either sew it yourself or take it to a professional tailor. Barring that, you may find that using fabric glue will create less obvious repairs.
As a fun bit of history for you, the first kind of adhesive tape ever invented was masking tape, designed in 1925 to help paint two-colored cars without messing up either color! The guy who created this went on to invent Scotch tape and found 3M. Today, you can find thousands of different kinds of tapes available, including a wide range of products designed specifically for use on fabric.
So, what makes tape adhere to the fabric? The answer begins with just a bit of science.
The special kind of adhesives used on most types of tape, from cellophane tape to duct tape to fabric tape, use a special kind of stickiness known as pressure-sensitive adhesives, or PSAs. Usually, this kind of adhesive contains some type of polymer combined with a resin for added stickiness. They rely on physical reactions instead of chemical interactions to form a bond between the tape and the surface.
This gives tape its flexibility and–in some cases–removability. Think about how easily tape peels off the paint on your wall. Contrast that with what would happen if you used glue instead. It would dry and harden and would not peel away easily!
Different kinds of tape will vary in its backing, primer, release coating, and adhesive. This gives some types, such as 3M bonding strips or Duct tape, a super-strong adhesion, while other kinds, like washi tape, focus much more on a decorative backing.
Manufacturers usually focus on the adhesion element most when designing a product for use on a particular surface. This is why packing tape clings to cardboard so well and why duct tape sticks to most kinds of metal! You can find lots of different types of adhesives, ranging from epoxy-based adhesives to acrylic adhesives to rubber or silicone-based adhesives.
Many kinds of fabric use a special acrylic-based adhesive applied to a fabric backing. This has a flexible, slightly tacky feel and will stick well to most types of cloth. In some cases, it will also peel away easily. (Some fabric tape is designed to remove from your clothing, and other kinds are designed for a more permanent hold).
Double-sided fabric tape is the most popular kind for use on clothing. You will also see it called fashion or body tape. It has many potential uses, including holding up a strapless dress or bra, preventing the dreaded gap between buttons in your shirt, and fixing a torn hem.
This kind of tape usually has a soft fabric backing and uses an adhesive that will stick to cloth but peel away without leaving any residue in its wake!
Best Tape That Sticks to Fabric
The best tape that sticks to fabric in most cases is double-sided fabric or fashion tape. You can find double-sided tape in soft, flexible rolls. It also comes in conveniently packaged strips ready to go for a fashion emergency like a gaping blouse or a torn skirt.
You can also find several other useful products designed for use with fabric, like hem tape and heavy-duty fabric tape.
Is There Such a Thing as Fabric Tape?Yes, there is a special kind of tape designed specifically for use on fabric. You can buy fabric tape at most sewing stores, drug stores, grocery stores, and online.
This tape contains a strip of fabric coated on one or both sides with a special polymer and resin adhesive that clings to cloth. It is designed to invisibly hold clothing, curtains, or other cloth items in place without sewing or using glue.
This is not the same thing as regular plastic double-sided office tape. It is also not the same as decorative fabric tape, which is a kind of washi type backed in decorative fabric.
One of the big benefits of using fabric tape instead of any other kind of adhesive is that it will stick to the fabric and peel away later without leaving a tacky residue. Professionals like actors and dancers use fabric tape (also known as fashion tape) very heavily for this reason!
Is fabric tape permanent? Sometimes it is. If you want to hold a carpet to the floor forever, you can find special heavy-duty fabric tape that says “permanent” or “ultra-strong grip.” In general, though, fabric tape is designed to work in a fashion emergency at the moment, but not to stay in place forever.
Likewise, most fabric tape is not washable. If you want the adhesive to stay in place permanently, try using a fusible, heat-activated type instead of a peel-and-stick type.
Fusible hem tape is fairly permanent. Once you use an iron to melt the heat-activated adhesive, it is there to stay!
Can You Use Gorilla Tape or Mounting Tape on Fabric?
In some cases, you can use Gorilla tape or mounting tape such as 3M strips on fabric, but this is usually not ideal. First, you can find a pretty big variety of different products within the Gorilla brand. Some kinds of Gorilla tape will stick to some fabric types, but you can find big exceptions here.
For instance, Gorilla tapes often do not adhere well to anything with an oily texture, meaning that it may not stick to polyester even if it sticks to cotton.
On top of that, even if these kinds of tape do stick to your fabric, good luck getting the adhesive back off! You should probably only use super-strong products like Gorilla tape or mounting strips if you want the fabric permanently fixed to a wall or another surface.
Does Alien Tape Stick to Cloth?Alien tape will stick to most kinds of cloth but is not the best choice for fabric because of its incredibly powerful hold. Alien tape is a brand name for nano double-sided tape designed to have an even stronger hold than Duct tape. It is intended to hold shelves or heavy implements in place without screws or nails.
There is also a very popular brand called Aleene’s that offers a line of fusible fabric tapes. These are intended for use with clothing and would be a much better choice than Alien tape for most fabric items!
Will Duct Tape Stick To Fabric?
In many cases, duct tape will stick to fabric. That said, the Duct Tape brand offers multiple different products, each with its own unique type of adhesive, so some types may work better than others.
The original Duct tape was invented to seal up air gaps in air ducts, which is why it comes in that gray plasticky shade. It is a fabric tape because it is made out of fabric, with a plastic coating for waterproofing on one side and a heavy-duty adhesive on the other side. It is flexible, water-resistant, and has a very powerful hold.
The big problem with using Duct tape on your clothes is that it will not come back off easily. Even if you can rip it away from the cloth, it will leave a tacky residue in place on the fabric. If you want to get this residue out, you will have to apply rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer and spend some time gently scrubbing the adhesive away.
What Kinds of Tape Do Not Stick to Fabric?
Several kinds of tape like painter’s, Scotch, masking, washi, and packing tape will not stick to fabric easily. In general, any adhesive product designed for use on paper or cardboard will probably not work great on cloth. This holds true for any kind made out of cellophane, such as packing or office tape, too.
The fact is that not all kinds of tape are created equal. These days, you can find a specialty product for just about anything. Some adhesives stick to rubber, or cement, or wood. But this also means that a tape designed for paper or rubber will not work as well on fabric.
Your best option is to stick to fabric tape (no pun intended) for any clothing or cloth uses.
What Kinds of Fabric Will Tape Stick To?
In general, fabric tape will adhere to most kinds of fabric, but other kinds of tape may stick to one kind of cloth and not another. Different kinds of fabric contain unique fibers made of vastly different materials like plastic and cotton.
Polyester is a synthetic fabric made out of petroleum by-products. Its tiny fibers are little pieces of plastic! Polyester does stick to most kinds of peel-and-stick fabric or fashion tape. Other kinds of tape, like Scotch or Gorilla tape, may not adhere as well to polyester because of its plasticky fibers.
You will also have to use extra care if you want to apply fusible tape. Polyester may melt or scorch if you use a very hot iron on it. Try using a pressing cloth between the iron and the fabric, and set your iron to a lower temperature than usual.
In general, most kinds of tape that stick to fabrics will adhere to cotton. Fashion tape works great on cotton, as do fusible products. You can safely apply high heat to this material without damaging it.
When using tape on cotton, the only thing to keep in mind is that cotton is often quite a lightweight, thin material. You will want to make sure you cannot see the outline of the strip through the cotton on the outside of the garment.
Wedding Dress Fabric
The only kind of tape you should risk using on your wedding dress is double-sided fabric or fashion tape. It has a light enough hold that it will not damage your gorgeous gown, but it will also keep everything where you need it during this important day!
Common wedding uses for fashion tape include holding up strapless dresses, holding wedding veils in place, shortening the chain of a necklace at the last minute, providing emergency hems, or even taking the place of missing buttons, snaps, or zippers!
In general, it is not a good idea to use any kind of tape on felt. You really cannot peel away the adhesive without peeling chunks of the felt with it! This means that you will ruin the felt the minute you try to take the tape back off.
That said, if you want the tape to remain in place permanently, consider using a kind with a powerful hold. Felt does come in a thicker and heavier weight than many other kinds of material, so you will need a strong tape to hold it in place.
You can use peel-and-stick fabric tape on Chiffon quite easily. This is a pro tip for many seamstresses who like to use this handy product on slippery chiffon instead of pins or clips as they sew!
This is also a good trick to keep in mind for prom dresses, wedding veils, or other diaphanous garments. Sometimes you need a part of the garment to stay in one place, and a tiny piece of double-sided fashion tape can fix the problem for you!
On the other hand, you will want to avoid fusible tape with chiffon. This cloth can melt easily, so you do not want to risk using a heat-activated product with it.
Heavy-duty or extra-wide fabric tape works best on curtain fabric. Curtain and upholstery fabric usually features heavyweight materials like damask, velvet, or broadcloth. A thin little strip of regular peel-and-stick fashion tape might not hold this kind of heavy material for long.
However, heavy-duty peel-and-stick fashion tape or permanent fusible tape will hold the hem of a curtain with no trouble at all!
The best tape that sticks to fabric is specially designed fabric tape, also called fashion tape. This product uses an adhesive that will cling to cloth and peel away without leaving a messy residue in its wake. Many other kinds of tape, such as Duct Tape and Gorilla tape, can stick to fabric, but they will not easily peel away.
Fabric tape usually comes in a double-sided version with a fabric center and adhesive on both sides. This can hold two pieces of fabric to each other or attach the fabric to your skin. Fabric tape also comes in a single-sided variety for hemming or in a fusible, heat-activated variety for a more permanent hold.
Have you ever had to tape your clothes together in an emergency? How did it work? Leave a comment below to let us know!