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Knowing some quick and easy tricks on sewing neoprene will make your next pattern a breeze. It will also open up so many incredible doors for you and project possibilities. In this article, I’ll walk you through a few handy tricks you’ll want to know before starting your next neoprene or scuba knit project.

How to sew neoprene and scuba knit fabrics at home

What is Neoprene Fabric?

But before we can really get started, what exactly is neoprene? Neoprene or scuba fabric is double-knit fabric that feels soft and luxurious and stable all at the same time. It offers the most incredible support to structured pieces and is surprisingly easy to sew since it doesn’t require interfacing or linings like more lightweight fabrics. This fabric  doesn’t need to be lined since neoprene is already thicker and comes with a built-in structured drape.

For a fabric to be considered a “scuba knit” it should have a rubber center and requires some extra care. However,  neoprene fabric is often referred to as scuba so I felt the need to include it here.

To determine the difference, look at the raw edge of your fabric. If it consists of a waffle-weave core that is not solid and squishes slightly when pinched between your fingeres, you are looking at neoprene. If the raw edge of your fabric looks like two thin pieces of fabric sandwiching a black rubber core, you are holding scuba. This article will go in depth on how to work with neoprene fabric.

How to sew scuba neoprene fabric

5 Tips On Sewing Neoprene

  1. While preparing your projects, prep your fabric first by washing it in cold water. High heat can damage neoprene so I recommend washing it in cold water and using an iron on the lowest setting to prevent damaging your fabric. Also, let the fabric air-dry since the excess heat in tumble drying can damage neoprene.
  2. When cutting patterns with this fabric, be sure to use a rotary cutter rather than my regular scissors to make extra smooth edges. Since scuba and neoprene fabric doesn’t roll and has such a flattering drape to begin with, you can leave all of the hemlines raw and make your projects that much easier to sew. Creating smooth cuts with my rotary blade gives the hemlines a clean finish with less effort. It’s a win-win!
  3. To prepare your sewing machines for this project, use a ballpoint needle to prevent and snagging or slipping.
  4. Use a walking foot prevent any bunching under the presser foot. It really helped feed the fabric through the sewing machine before it started slipping.

My Latest Experience Sewing Neoprene

To say I was excited to get my hands on this neoprene fabric from Minerva Crafts is a massive understatement. To be totally honest I couldn’t decide what to make. Should I create a jumpsuit? A dress? Some wide-leg pants to wear on my next vacation? If I did go with a jumpsuit how could I possibly decide what kind of top to settle on? Then I got an idea… what if I created them all?

How to work with scuba and neoprene fabric. The ultimate sewing fabric guide.The first garment I made was the wide leg palazzo pant. If you are just getting started pattern-making, I have a full tutorial on how to draft this pattern yourself  HERE complete with free printables and lots of photos.

These pants are legitimately just as comfortable as my pajama pants but are far more acceptable to wear in public. Haha!

The pull-on waistband is super comfortable and I love the support and stretch of this fabric. It holds everything in without being uncomfortable or restricting. But maybe the best part of making your own pants is the inseam. For my entire adult life I’ve had the worst time buying pants that were long enough in a store. But that’s the magic in making your own clothes right? Everything fits exactly the way you want in the fabric you want.

How to work with scuba and neoprene fabric

From there, I created the one-shoulder top and the skirt. To draft your own draped pattern details like the ruffled on this one-shoulder top, you can use the basic measurements in making a circle skirt and customize the opening to fit the area you’d like to add detail to. I like using this method to add draped sleeve details, feminine hemlines, or …… draped details to a one-shoulder top. Get my free printable to make your own HERE.

How to sew with scuba and neoprene fabric. The ultimate sewing scuba fabric guide.

By making several pieces from the same fabric, I now have the flexibility to mix and match everything to create several entirely new looks. When I go on vacation in the next few weeks, I’m excited to wear the palazzo pants with my new one-shoulder top during the day, switch out the bottoms for a skirt at night, and still have options later on. If there’s anything I love more than making my own clothes, it’s having lots of options to choose from!

I hope you guys found some useful takeaways on sewing neoprene fabrics! I really can’t recommend them enough!

Lisa Mecham

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