Tarp Fabrics

How To Choose the Right Marlen Fabric

We were so pumped to have our Marlen Rep come out and speak at our March 2018 IFF! It helped us share how to choose the right Marlen fabric with our attendees.

In case you weren’t able to make the event, here are some of each unique Marlen Textiles fabrics’ strengths and applications.

About Marlen Textiles

U.S. manufacturing company Marlen Textiles makes the well-known Top Gun. They have a number of Top Gun variations and many other fabrics. Each line is specifically designed to enhance certain features, and when there are so many options, it can feel overwhelming to try and judge which fabric is best for a particular project. It isn’t really as complicated as it seems. It’s just a matter of preference.


Coated Fabrics

All Marlen Textile fabrics are made of 100% polyester. Polyester is a hydrophobic, synthetic fiber that dries quickly and is therefore inherently mildew resistant. It is strong and durable, hard to tear, and holds its shape. The coated products take this polyester weave and give it a weather-resistant acrylic coating.  All of Marlen’s textiles are printable. As you read below, note that “D” stands for Denier, which is a thread size unit of measure. The larger the number, the larger the threads.

Top Gun

This is Marlen’s hottest product, and understandably so. It’s a 600D* woven polyester fabric with an acrylic coating on both sides.

It’s completely reversible, 11.5 ounces, highly water resistant, puncture and abrasion resistant, UV resistant, mildew resistant, and doesn’t sag or shrink.

It’s used for boat tops, truck bed covers, canopies, tarps, equipment covers, banners, and wherever a strong, weather-resistant fabric is needed.

All Marlen’s fabrics are between 60-63 inches wide. Top Gun also comes in two-meter rolls.


Top Gun 1S

Also 600d, Marlen coats Top Gun 1S on one side. The other side is bare, non-pigmented polyester. This eliminates color rub and reduces fabric weight to 9 ounces. The bare underside makes it an ideal equipment cover because it doesn’t scratch, and it has all the weather resistant properties of regular Top Gun. It’s great if you don’t particularly need the coated treatment on both sides of a boat top, gazebo, etc.



Top Gun 9

A 9-ounce 450D polyester, Top Gun 9 a lighter-weight variation. While heavy duty enough for applications like boat tops, canopies, and tarps, it’s an economical choice for sleeping bags and packs because of its lightweight feature.



Odyssey is a very light, flexible fabric. It’s 300D with an acrylic coat on one side and a clear back coat that doesn’t scratch. This is a high-performance, lightweight fabric. At 6.5 ounces, it is more affordable and yet can still be used for the same applications as Top Gun.


Softouch is specifically designed to be a very gentle equipment cover. Its Odyssey laminated to a soft, non-woven backing. This product is ideal for protecting paint and other delicate surfaces with a strong, mildew resistant cover. It can be used in mild weather, but since the inside is easy to dirty, it’s been our experience that it performs best as in indoor equipment cover.

Solution Dyed Fabrics

Solution-dyed products have an incredible ability to hold true to their color over time. In these fabrics, the fibers are dyed before they are made into thread, penetrating the color to the very core, instead of soaking already extruded thread in dye.

The end result is like a cut carrot, consistently orange all the way through, as opposed to a radish that is stained on the outer layer but white within.

Top Notch

This is Marlen’s main solution-dyed woven polyester. It’s 11.5-ounces, 840D polyester with a fluorocarbon finish. This strong, breathable, reversible fabric has dimensional stability, UV resistance, mildew resistance, water resistance, abrasion resistance and exceptional colorfastness.

It is commonly used for awnings, marine tops, trailer covers, canopies, patio furniture, cots, bags, and the like.

Top Notch 9

A 600D, 9-ounce version of Top Notch, this lightweight fabric makes fantastic backpack material.

Top Notch 1S

This product is an all-purpose,7.5-ounce, 600D fabric. It has a clear urethane back coat that increases water repellency and abrasion resistance. It’s ideal for awnings, outdoor bags, patio umbrellas, boat tops or anything that needs to stand up to heavy weather.


Fire Resistance

Top Gun, Top Notch, and Odyssey come in FR lines as well. Marlen Textiles specially formulates these fabrics for fire resistance. They can withstand both extremely high and low temperatures without cracking or peeling. They are certified to pass NFPA 701, CPAI 84, CAN/ULC-S109, FAA/FAR 25.853, and California State Fire Marshall.


They also manufacture a safety reflective fabric called Amerglo. It’s 100% polyester coated with fluorescent orange or aluminum and then a thin layer of clear glass beads. It has a 300 ft visibility range, making it great for safety vests or reflective strips on bike gear, bag gear, or boat trailer covers.


All of Marlen’s fabrics are backed by a warranty.

Top Notch, Top Notch 9, Top Notch FR, & Top Gun FR: 8 years

Top Gun &Top Gun 1SL: 5 years: 

Top Gun 9: 4 years

Top Notch 1S, Odyssey, Odyssey FR, Softouch, & Amerglo: 3 years

Hopefully, with a little more understanding of these products’ unique qualities and overlap, you will find your fabric decisions much easier. There are no rules. Which fabric do you think best compliments your needs?

Marlen’s Fabric Finder chart is a helpful quick reference.

Index:   Green= Excellent for that factor

Yellow= Can be used but may not be the best choice

Red= Not recommended if this factor is important for your application

Don’t forget Marlen Textiles also has their own water repellent solution, Aqua Tite Green. It’s a premium grade, silicone repellant available in quarts, gallons, or 55-gallon drums. Click here for tips on cleaning and caring for Marlen fabrics.

Posted by Chris Nash in Awning & Tent Fabrics, Marine Fabrics, Outdoor/Bag Fabrics, Tarp Fabrics

How To Set A Snap

How to set a snap

Setting a snap is a very easy process which at first can seem daunting. With a little knowledge and the right tools setting a snap is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4! First, let’s lay out the groundwork. If you are in the industrial fabric world you probably are going to be using snaps on a variety of fabrics like Recacril, Sunbrella, Top Gun, Weatherwax, Vinyl and many others. So let’s dive in!


A snap consists of 4 separate parts. Cap and Socket are one side. Stud and Eyelet are the other.

There are several ways to set a snap. In this write-up we will cover 2 of the most common ways: Hand Setter and Press-N-Snap.


The hand setter is the least expensive works great on table tops and will last for small projects/repairs. (Requires A hammer)


To set your snap with the hand setter, simply place the cap on the concave side of the anvil. Next place your fabric over the post. Then you will want to place the socket hole right where the post is poking up and give a few good hits with the hammer.

To set the eyelet and stud, simply flip the anvil over, place the eyelet on the flat surface and repeat the last step.


When you are finished you should have something that looks like this. We used some 600 denier polyester and this method worked well for 2-3 layers

The Press-N-Snap tool is a must-have for boat canvas manufacturers, bag makers, or the general handyman.

This easy to use tool is beneficial if you are unable to take your cover off for a repair. This tool works essentially like a vise grip to set a snap instead of using a hammer and hand setter.

To start off it is important to note that the Press-N-Snap tool comes in 4 parts,

Cap/Button Die

Socket Die

Eyelet Die

Stud Die

Cap and Eyelet dies will go in the top half. The socket and stud will go into the bottom.

Place the cap and socket dies in the Press-N-Snap Tool, watch as the actual snap parts lock into the rubber bushing, and as the socket/stud lock into the lower end.

Put your fabric in between and PRESS!

Take out your dies out, replace with Eyelet and Stud, and repeat.

Take your fabric out and you should have a perfectly set snap!

Typically a snap will puncture through most fabric in double layers. In some cases, increasing the layers you are going through will increase the chances of you needing to poke your own hole. With the right tools and a little know-how, you should be able to get anything snapping!


Products Featured


TO-DIE-HAND-DIS (Hand Setter)


TO-PNS (Press-N-Snap comes with snap dies)


F-670-SS Stainless Steel Cap/Button


F-548-SS Stainless Steel Socket


F-550-SS Stainless Steel Stud


F-550A-SS Stainless Steel Eyelet


Posted by Chris Nash in Auto Fabrics, Awning & Tent Fabrics, Canvas Fabrics, Hardware & Accessories, Marine Fabrics, Outdoor/Bag Fabrics, Tarp Fabrics, Upholstery Fabrics, 0 comments
Quality not Quantity: Not All Specialty Fabrics are the Same

Quality not Quantity: Not All Specialty Fabrics are the Same

When it comes to specialty fabrics, it’s important to know that not all textiles are created equally. In fact, specialty fabrics are created for a variety of industries and not everyone uses the same process, materials, or customer service when it comes to supplying textiles.

Using a quality textile that’s produced with care may cost just a little extra, but that fabric will last and save you in the long run; you won’t have to replace so often. For example in an awning fabric, you want to be sure the textile you use in your project is designed to withstand the elements, is UV ray resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and waterproof.  If you choose a fabric that is mass produces and doesn’t have the aforementioned qualities, your project’s textile may not last as long.

Remember fabrics in the marine, upholstery, outdoor, and auto industries are designed with unique properties that make them last within their respective environments. For example, in the marine industry, boats use specialty fabrics for shade covers, boat covers, and upholstery.

Marine fabrics are typically designed to withstand the sun, rain, ocean or fresh water spray, and the wear and tear of watersport activities. Some marine fabrics are UV ray resistant and waterproof but may lack that mildew and mold resistance which is important for boats. That’s why finding a supplier with knowledge of your industry’s needs is essential. After all, you don’t want your project to fall apart or your customer to be upset.

Another important aspect of a quality fabric is the customer service that it is backed by. Some fabrics suppliers may not have the knowledge you need to support your project’s specifications, or they may not be fast in responding to your queries. Whatever the case, it’s important to know that your textile supplier is efficient, responsive, knowledgeable, and willing to help.

Now that you know a little more about specialty fabrics and why using quality textiles matters, let us know how we can help you with your next project by visiting us at www.vaughanbros.com or giving us a call at 1-800-444-4701.

Posted by Vaughan Brothers in Auto Fabrics, Awning & Tent Fabrics, Canvas Fabrics, Hardware & Accessories, Marine Fabrics, Outdoor/Bag Fabrics, Safety Fabrics, Screen Fabrics, Tarp Fabrics, Upholstery Fabrics, 0 comments