How to sew neoprene fabric

Written by hollan johnson
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How to sew neoprene fabric
Wetsuits are made out of neoprene fabric. (two scuba divers image by Janet Wall from

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.

Skill level:

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Things you need

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

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  1. 1

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

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

Tips and warnings

  • You can glue together neoprene fabric first with fabric glue and then sew for extra strength.
  • If you suffer from sensitive skin, you may experience an allergic reaction or irritation as a result of working with neoprene fabric.

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