Wearing, Sewing Neoprene–Yes? No? Maybe?

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber; it’s distinguishing feature is a foam core creating a rubbery, spongy hand.  And is most familiar used in wetsuits where the foam core keeps body heat in and moisture out.  Great features for wetsuits, not so much for fashion wear.  However, there are other properties that make Neoprene very desirable for garments.     See Is it Neoprene or Scuba Knit?  Should I Care??? for more information.

Double Faced Neoprene with foam core

Double Faced Neoprene with foam core

Neoprene properties:

  • insulates
  • light weight
  • wrinkle free
  • wind resistant
  • firm, dense material that holds it shape without under support
  • easy care–wipe off spots or gently wash and air dry.  Did I say it dries quickly?  It does!
  • stain and moisture resistant; liquid beads up
  • double faced so lining is not needed
  • perfect for raw edges–seams and hems
  • raw edge lapped or butt seams reduce bulk

 

The unique, stylish and comfortable neoprene fabric

Watch the following video for expert advice on what designs work best in Neoprene and how to work Neoprene garments into your wardrobe.

 

 

How to sew Neoprene

A simple design with few pieces will be quick and easy to sew in Neoprene.  Seam finishes, interfacing, lining are not needed.

  1. Neoprene in 2mm-3mm thickness is best for garments and home sewing machines
  2. Cut with a rotary cutter for perfectly smooth edges that require no further finish
  3. Seam finishes are not necessary as fabric does not ravel
  4. Lapped and butted seams reduce bulk–Google for how-tos
  5. Neoprene should not be pressed; although foam is heat resistant, the outer layers may not be.  In any case, a lapped or butt seam doesn’t need pressing.
  6. Needle–sharp point, size 14-18
  7. Thread–Polyester, wooly nylon–any thread that stretches
  8. Stitch Length–3mm+
  9. Stitch type–straight stitch, zigzag, flatlock–See Serger manual and/or YouTube
  10. Sew slowly as friction may heat needle and melt the thread
  11. Presser Feet–roller foot, walking foot
  12. Sample, Sample, Sample

 

What should you sew with Neoprene?

My personal recommendation is anything not too close fitting due to it’s thermal properties.  On the other hand, not oversized, as it will not drape.  Simple design is best.

  1. Unlined jacket or vest to layer, or not
  2. Reversible Coat/Raincoat–water resistant; wrinkle free; lapped or butted seams  make it reversible;  all-purpose travel coat
  3. Moto-style jacket
  4. Pencil skirt–won’t wrinkle, form-fit
  5. customized wetsuit
  6. beer kozy, wine carrier
  7. face mask, balaclava
  8. laptop, tablet cases

Neoprene Garment Options

The neon-hued designs and the shape-holding features of Neoprene offer some tantalizing  structural possibilities.  The flared skirt, below, will maintain its shape no matter what.

The jacket is also Neoprene and holds it boxy shape while keeping the wearer warm.

Neoprene maintains it shape without under-structure

Neoprene maintains it shape without under-structure

 

Pleated Skirt with raw edge hem

Pleated Skirt with raw edge hem

 

For the Metro Guy/ GQ

For the Metro Guy/ GQ

 

This is a Pucci hooded bomber style jacket.  Similar Pucci jackets are printed silk laminated to Neoprene.  Wouldn’t you like to get your hands on a designer over-run of this!

Screen shot 2015-04-02 at 1.30.37 PM

Wind Resistant Face Mask

Wind Resistant Face Mask

 

Here is what I will be sewing with Neoprene.  Bought the fabric for a wine kozy so don’t have enough for the vest.  Will supplement with a black Ponte.

 

What will you be sewing with Neoprene?

Related Posts

Is it Neoprene or Scuba Knit?  Should I Care?

Scuba Knit is the Apparel Neoprene

 

 

 

 

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12 Responses to Wearing, Sewing Neoprene–Yes? No? Maybe?

  1. karina says:

    I would like to know where i can buy this fabric
    Thanks

  2. maryfunt says:

    I’ve often wondered about these fabrics being hot to wear. Maybe I’ll try a pencil skirt. B&J Fabrics also has a selection.

    • neucarol says:

      Mary,
      Even the thinner fashion neoprene will retain body heat. So a pencil skirt is a good choice; the fabric doesn’t wrinkle and will keep its shape. And the top can be a breathable fabric.

  3. Lori Martin says:

    Thanks for your insight Carol. I already have pattern and fabric in hand. I want to throw together a muslin of the Winter Street Dress, then plan to put together the “real” dress in the fabric from Mood.

  4. Lori Martin says:

    I am thinking about sewing the Pattern Review Winter Street dress in this beautiful “neoprene” from Mood:
    https://www.moodfabrics.com/catalogsearch/result/?cat=&q=307450

    Do you think that will work?

    • neucarol says:

      Hi Lori,

      It certainly is a lovely print and it would work beautifully in the Pattern Review Winter Street Dress 65379.

      However, I would recommend ordering a swatch as the fabric description leads one to believe it is suitable for wetsuits; however, the fiber content does not include Neoprene, the expanded foam filler. I did ‘chat’ online and was informed the fabric thickness is 1mm; am not aware of neoprene thinner than 2mm, and has no foam filler. Will forward a copy of the ‘chat’ for your reference.

      Since you are not sewing a wetsuit, this Scuba knit is a suitable fabric choice.

      Hope the fabric is not sold out if you do take a chance and don’t order a swatch.

      Look forward to seeing the completed garment.

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