Scuba Fabric: What is it? How Best to Sew it?

What Is Scuba Fabric?

Scuba fabric seems to be causing some confusion among newer sewers at the moment, so we thought we would try and explain what the fabric is and the best way to make it up. Scuba has been used in ‘high street fashion’ for a few years now for summer/spring clothing. So there is little wonder many of us want to use it in our own creations.

When people say ‘scuba fabric’ many think of the tradition neoprene fabric wetsuits are made from, however scuba is more malleable and thinner (it also doesn’t have that layer of foam wet suits have) so don’t let the name put you off.

It is in fact a double knit fabric, like a Ponte Roma – however it would be unfair to compare the two as they are often made from different compositions. As a general rule Scuba fabrics tend to be made from Polyester, whilst Ponte Roma fabrics are usually from viscose and lycra.

They also have different properties, while Ponte Roma has stretch, scuba jersey is well known for having both good stretch and recovery. Something that you will appreciate, if like me you tend to accidentally pull/stretch fabrics while sewing them!

 

What to Do with Scuba Fabric?

Scuba is generally used to make dance-wear, leggings and dresses (think of evening or party dresses) and is quite easy to care for. When sewing scuba, we would recommend using larger stitches than you may normally do so, to account for both the stretch and the ‘spongey’ texture of the fabric.

We would also suggest using a ball point needle, these can be easily (and cheaply) purchased and make the world of difference for knit fabrics. Knit fabrics such as scuba, jersey and Ponte Roma are knitted rather than woven, and a ball point needle will be able to slide through the gaps in the knit rather than piercing it.

If you are in a hurry to make a dress for a special occasion, scuba is a brilliant fabric to choose as you do not always need to hem it. In fact, if you are a sewer that is short on time, you can more often than not get away with no hemming as the fabric doesn’t fray.

 

We hope this has cleared up some of the confusion about this fabric, and given you a few inside tips on how to sew it with ease. If you have made something, or are making something out of Scuba fabric we’d love to see it and hear about your experiences. Let us know in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter. If you want to add some scuba to your fabric stash, you can view our range here. 

7 Comments

  • Reply
    Ms Isobel Fury ISOS Briefly
    10/03/2016 at 2:16 PM

    Could you send me scuba fabric samples please because I may be able to make swim suits and specialised medical underwear with that fabric especially if I do not need to overlock edges?

    Please change my email address from isobelfury@tiscali.co.uk to yahoo.co.uk because talktalk tiscali is not working.

    • Reply
      Rebecca
      11/03/2016 at 10:00 AM

      Hi

      Yes we’d be happy to send you some samples. If you can send your name/address to socialmedia@croftmill.co.uk and just let us know that it is scuba samples you want, I will ensure some get sent out to you.

  • Reply
    Judithrosalind
    29/03/2016 at 2:57 PM

    I would be interested to hear from people who have worn it and to hear if it gets hot/sweaty and also if it washes ok

  • Reply
    Janet Clar3
    06/04/2017 at 5:04 PM

    I have just bought some of this material to make a linger length jacket. I was also going to line the jacket, would you say that’s the right thing to do?

    • Reply
      Rebecca
      13/04/2017 at 10:01 AM

      Hi

      You shouldn’t need to line the jacket, you could try overlocking it though if you wanted.

      If I can be of any more help, please just let me know.

      Kind regards
      Rebecca

  • Reply
    Alison Jeatt
    13/04/2018 at 7:22 PM

    Could I use scuba fabric to embroider on, using an embroidery machine can it be used to make a quilt

    • Reply
      Rebecca
      16/04/2018 at 8:12 PM

      Hello Alison, thank you for your question. Scuba can be embroidered on, but needs to be stabilised. The draw back of Scuba is that it is quite thick and difficult to put into an embroidery hoop. Being stretchy it is easy to distort when sewing, the stabiliser helps in this matter but care is needed. As Scuba is thick it is hard to put it in a hoop, it is therefore recommended to put the stabiliser(maybe a tearaway one) fabric into the hoop and use a temporary spray adhesive to attach the Scuba to the stabiliser. This will not work for large embroidery designs(bigger than your hoop) as moving the stabiliser in the hoop underneath, will be impossible once stuck to the scuba fabric, without breaking it. I would try embroider on scrap fabric as you can see if the needle you are using and the tension you have set works with the fabric, a few adjustments to the tension may make a difference if it is pulling the fabric in tight. The needle needs to be a ball point but if you find it struggles to enter the fabric cleanly try a Denim needle, it kind of punches a tiny hole which “seals” itself on exit. All needles need to be new. Use simple embroidery designs as complex ones can make the area around the design hard and un-stretchy, if the embroidery design and the right side of the fabric is causing the fabric to pull in and pucker, try using a water soluble stabiliser. I have used a thin paper on top of some of my embroidery designs and I can tear it away and pick it out of the design, the paper is old “typing” paper, thinner than ordinary paper, but not tracing paper. Just experiment a bit with some scraps, you will learn what works with your set up. Please feel free to share your findings, I hope this helps you to get started.

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