Last Updated on August 8, 2022
How to sew neoprene? This question had become relevant in the last few years when neoprene stepped from the underwater depths to the world’s fashion catwalks. We will tell you a little about the history and properties of this material and how to sew neoprene with your own hands, and how to care for it.
What Is Neoprene Fabric?
In its composition, neoprene is a synthetic chloroprene rubber with a cellular structure; each cell contains nitrogen. This material has been known since 1930, and since 1953 neoprene has been used for sewing diving suits. This material is used for various sewing cases, in the manufacture of various medical products, protective sports equipment, etc.
What are the properties of neoprene? First of all, it is a unique feature to keep the shape without any additional materials. Neoprene is very light, elastic, pleasant to the touch and waterproof. In addition, neoprene has excellent wear resistance and protective properties, and thanks to airtightness, warmth.
However, this last property of neoprene is also one of the few disadvantages of neoprene if we are talking about tailoring. The “sauna” effect easily sets in with prolonged contact with the skin, especially in the warm season. Therefore, skirts, coats and sweatshirts are often sewn from them for the cool season, and dresses are recommended to be worn only for a few hours.
Types of Neoprene
Neoprene is a group of materials that differ in density and surface finish. Neoprene thickness ranges from 1.5 mm to 12 mm.
For sewing and accessories use:
- Neoprene LS – Soft, with good elasticity (clothes, equipment for water sports)
- Neoprene S – Durable and elastic (for diving, covers, bandages, shoes)
- Neoprene HS – High density and compression resistance (for diving and riding)
- Neoprene NF – Repeats the characteristics of S but also has fire resistance; therefore, it is used for workwear and in industry.
The surface of the neoprene itself is most often black, gray or dark brown, although brighter colors have also been seen recently. Cells located on the surface can be intact or opened (the so-called “closed” and “open time”).
The neoprene surface can be textured (“Sharkskin”). Through perforation throughout the sheet allows air to circulate (neoprene)
And finally, the most popular option for sewing is lamination. Neoprene can be covered with fabric on one or both sides.
Nylon coating is economical, and various colors make this type of coating the most common.
- Plush adds coziness and comfort and increases the effectiveness of thermal protection.
- Cotton provides extra comfort and elasticity.
- Lycra – increases elasticity and resistance to abrasion.
- Reinforced materials (Armatex, Kevlar, etc.) – significantly increase resistance to damage.
Neoprene that is maximally adapted to tailoring can be sold as “Fashion neoprene” (fashion neoprene).
We have already mentioned that you should not sew casual neoprene clothes for the warm season. From the point of view of product modeling, there are also several recommendations.
Choose a model with a minimum number of seams and undercuts. But the silhouette is worth looking for an interesting one: the neoprene can support almost any volumetric shape, for example, a “cocoon,” and gives folds with clear lines. A zipper or buttons will look best.
How to Sew Neoprene With Your Own Hands?
So looking for How to sew neoprene with your own hands? Use a titanium needle for work: it must be very sharp for the needle to pass well through the rubber.
In addition, for thick neoprene (like a coat), leather needles (e.g., Schmetz 80(90)) will do. For thin neoprene, we recommend a knitting needle (e.g., Schmetz No. 70(80)).
Use strong nylon or polyester thread for stitching. The stitch length should be medium, 2.5-3 mm. If the sewing machine allows, lock it at a slow speed. If there is no adjustment, make sure that the speed is low and there is no smell of burnt rubber.
If you have an overlocker, try sewing small pieces of neoprene with it. Such seams are sometimes used on the front side.
Neoprene edges do not need to be overcast. To make the inside beautiful, you can use scissors with zigzag blades when cutting and then carefully attach the allowances by hand to the neoprene fabric layer. Another option for allowances is processing with an oblique inlay.
The bottom edge, necklines, armholes, and sleeve edges are often leave open. In this case, a straight cut line is very important, be careful when cutting with scissors or a knife.
How to Care Neoprene Products?
Neoprene products can be dry-cleaned or hand-washed at home. For washing, you need a delicate detergent (preferably in a gel) and warm water (up to 30 degrees).
Neoprene does not absorb water, so you need to wash it on both sides, from the front and the wrong side. Then let the excess water drain (do not twist!) and dry in a well-ventilated area (if necessary, again on both sides), avoiding direct sunlight.
Store the product in a straightened form, and if you need to pack it for the road, twist it.
As far as ironing is concerned, neoprene does not need proper washing and storage. But if the thing is still wrinkled, use an iron and set the iron to medium temperature.
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