Sewing Neoprene Fabric: 5 quick tips
Knowing some quick and easy tricks will make sewing neoprene much easier. As a result, so many opportunities will be presented to you for your projects. Let me demonstrate a few helpful neoprene and scuba knit tips in this article.
How does Neoprene Fabric work?
But before we get started, what does neoprene actually mean? Scuba or neoprene fabric is a double-knit fabric that is at once soft, luxurious, and stable. Since it does not require interfacing or linings like more lightweight fabrics, it offers incredible support to structured pieces and is surprisingly easy to sew. Due to its thickness and built-in structure, neoprene already doesn’t need to be lined.
It is necessary for the fabric to have a rubber center and require extra care before it is considered a “scuba knit”. Scuba is often called neoprene fabric, so I decided to include it here. You can determine the difference by looking at your fabric’s raw edge. Neoprene feels like a zipped hose when squeezed between your fingers, wrapped around the waffle-weave core. The scuba hold is composed of two thin fabrics sandwiched between thin, black rubber strips. In this article, I will walk you through all the steps of sewing neoprene fabric.
5 Tips on Sewing Neoprene
Make sure you wash your fabric in cold water before preparing your projects. Neoprene can be damaged by high temperatures, so I advise you to wash the material in cool water and use an iron on the lowest setting. Neoprene can suffer from damage when exposed to excessive heat during drying.
Use a rotary cutter instead of a pair of regular scissors to make sure that the edges are as smooth as possible when cutting patterns with this material. You can leave all the hemlines raw on neoprene and scuba fabrics as they don’t roll and have such a flattering drape from the start, which makes sewing them much easier. Using a rotary blade allows me to make clean cuts on the hemlines without much effort. There’s no losing here!
- Use a ballpoint needle on your sewing machines to prevent snagging and slipping while sewing neoprene.
- Prevent the presser foot from bunching under a walking foot. As a result, the fabric was fed through the sewing neoprene machine more easily.
- Getting my hands on these neoprene fabrics from Minerva Crafts was an exciting undertaking. Truth be told, I had trouble choosing.
- A wide-leg palazzo pant was my first garment. I have a full tutorial HERE with free printable and lots of photos on how to draft this pattern yourself if you are just getting started.
This fabric is stretchy and supportive, and the waistband is super comfortable. Without feeling uncomfortable or restricting, it holds everything in place. Making your own pants may be best when it comes to the inseam. The problem of finding pants in a store that are long enough has plagued me my entire adult life. You have to make your own clothes, but that’s the appeal, right? You can choose the fabric and fit everything exactly as you want.
The top and skirt were created from there. You can use the measurements for drafting your own draped design details like the ruffled on this one-shoulder top to make your own circle skirt and adjust the opening to fit whatever area you’d like to add detail to. The draped technique is great for adding draped sleeves, feminine hemlines, and draped details to one-shoulder tops.
With several pieces of the same fabric, I can create several looks simply by mixing and matching everything. The palazzo pants will look great with a one-shoulder top during the day, change into a skirt at night, and still have options afterward. I’m excited to go on vacation in the next few weeks in the pants and top combo. Having a lot of options on which to choose is my favorite part of making my own clothes!
It is difficult to sew neoprene fabrics by hand due to their thick nature. If your fabric is thicker than 2 mm, you should pull the needle through with needle-nose pliers. With the thinner material, it may be okay to sew by hand without the use of sewing tools, but with the thicker materials, you will need to use sewing tools.
To guard their fingers, leather workers often wear specialized gloves. If you do not have one, you may use a strong thimble and stretch your hands frequently as a preventative measure.
To ensure the stitches end up where you want them, you’ll also need a long needle. It is possible to glue the thicker materials together to prevent your fingers from going through this stress. This will save you time and money. Before starting to sew neoprene, wind two to three bobbins. You should also use a heavy-duty thread such as nylon or polyester. If you want to use upholstery thread, you can use that as well.
Machine for sewing neoprene
A heavy-duty sewing machine is required if you want to repair or make a wetsuit from thick neoprene fabric or do any other project with lightweight neoprene fabric. If the neoprene material is thicker than 3 mm, you’re a regular sewing machine cannot handle it, so it will need to be upgraded. Standard equipment includes a portable walking foot. By slowing down the machine by 50%, the walking foot protects the needle from overheating.
If you use a water-based lubricant, you will find that it eases the process of sliding the needle through the fabric. If the machine has more than one stitch option, you should have that option as well. When stitching pressure points, especially those where additional hold is necessary, you can use this guideline. Cutting neoprene with scissors is not recommended. The result will be an edge as clean as this. Sewing neoprene after cutting it won’t require you to hem it because it doesn’t fray. You can save time by skipping hemming.