Wedding season is quickly winding down, make one more dress before it ends! Don’t you hate when your skirt lies flat right after you twirl? Need a stretch material that smooths over any unwanted bulges? Neoprene is your answer! Not only do you not need to hem Neoprene (hello extra hour!), but it keeps a full body throughout your project.
A lot of people are scared to work with Neoprene. I can understand the fears, but honestly, my biggest challenge is keeping the bulk reduced. Solution: stretch it! Neoprene gives the smoothest finish to any project AND it stretches.
If you’ve been able to work with knits, you’ll be able to work with Neoprene.
Measure waist, bust, waist to armscye, waist to center V (front and back), and waist to back center V (see picture). Subtract 1” from bust and waist measurements for ease. Add 1” to waist to armscye for seam allowances. Subtract 2” from waist to waist across body for ease.
Create front pattern: a. Waist to Armscye b. Waist divided by 4 c. Waist to Center V front d. Waist to Armscye +2"
Create back pattern a. Waist to Armscye b. Waist divided by 4 + 1/2" c. Waist to Center V back d. Waist to Armscye +1"
Cut two rectangles 11” x ‘Waist to Back Center V’ measurement
Sew sides together. Press! One of neoprene’s greatest upsides is staying stiff, one of its greatest downsides is staying stiff. All seams need to be thoroughly pressed.
Fold armscye down ½”, stitch close to edge. Make sure you’re pressing down! I serge my edges, but it isn’t necessary.
Pin short side of rectangle to side seam, about 3-4" below edge of armscye. Pin other side to back center V right along neckline. Temporarily fold 3.5” of other side of rectangle up. This will be a base. You won’t fold this portion, so make sure it stays flat.
We’ll do some folding here, there is no exact science! Create 2 or 3 pleats in rectangle to reduce your size to about 3” on the front side. In the back, create the same 2 or 3 pleats.
Tip: I put this part on a mannequin, so I can stretch my fabric as needed. It’s important to keep bulk out of this section.
When you like your pleats across both rectangles, pin the crease lines in place. You can either sew these down or press in place. If you press in place, remember to take your pins out before they’re pressed. Neoprene likes to keep impressions after pressing. Also, remember, the pleats won’t lie as flat if they aren’t sewn in place. While rectangle is still pinned, cut excess, leaving ½” seam at side.
If you decide to sew the pleats, turn your rectangle to the other side, and sew. Press!
Unpick side seams where rectangles belong. Re-sew side seams with rectangles sandwiched between.
Now we’ll close the rectangle. Fold long ends of rectangle together along neckline of top. Sew all three layers together. I serged my seams together, but again, you won’t need to do that. You’ll need to create an area for your arm. My tip here was to sew up to the points in the back, then sew from center of rectangle to points in front. The excess creates your arm opening. Now press, press, press!
Part Two: Skirt
Cut circle skirt out, using this calculator. I cut mine in two pieces, to add POCKETS. I also take 1” off the bottom, because I don’t need to add a hem to Neoprene.
Cut 4 pocket pieces out. I use my hand as a template. Cut out to shape as shown, leaving at least an inch around for seam allowance, and ½” for adding to seams.
Sew two pocket pieces together. I serge these, but you can French seam if you have a fabric that frays a lot.
Sew pocket into side seams, stitching each pocket side to seams.
Sew skirt sides together.
Sew skirt and top waist together. Press.
Add invisible zipper to back. Press.
Tip: Here I normally baste stitch my zipper line down before I sew the zipper so nothing shifts while I'm sewing.
All done! No struggling hem! Go show this off – you’ll get SO MANY compliments!
This tutorial was created by Jenny Keller ofModafique.