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How to sew neoprene fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

Neoprene fabric is a thick foam-like fabric made of a synthetic rubber that is flexible and durable for items such as wetsuits. Neoprene resists the damaging effects of sun and weather and performs well over a range in temperatures; in addition, it's difficult to burn and almost impervious to damage caused by too much flexing and twisting. Sew neoprene fabric at home with a simple sewing machine if the neoprene fabric is under 4 millimetres thick. If it is thicker than 4 millimetres, only an industrial-strength sewing machine can sew it. Use heavy-duty thread such as nylon when sewing neoprene.

Thread your sewing machine with the nylon thread and replace the needle with a new heavy-duty needle size 16 or 18.

Lay the neoprene fabric right-sides facing, so the inside of the fabric is facing outward and the outside of the fabric facing inward.

Place the neoprene under your sewing machine’s presser foot and set your sewing machine for a straight stitch with a medium- to long-stitch length and low tension.

Sew the neoprene fabric slowly with the sewing machine, leaving a ¼-inch seam allowance. Repeat this process with all the pieces of neoprene fabric.

For a waterproof seam, apply a heat-sealable tape across the seam. To prevent chafing, add a strip of elastic to the rough edge of the neoprene.

Tip

You can glue together neoprene fabric first with fabric glue and then sew for extra strength.

Warning

If you suffer from sensitive skin, you may experience an allergic reaction or irritation as a result of working with neoprene fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Nylon thread
  • Needle, universal size 16 or 18
  • Heat-sealable tape
  • Elastic
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About the Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.