March 30, 2015

Barely trying: neoprene skirt

When the neoprene craze first came along, I was quick to scoff. Wear a wetsuit, voluntarily?! My sole  experience wearing a wetsuit was scuba diving years ago, and because the suit didn’t zip all the way up over my chest 1. I looked like a cross between Pamela Anderson and a seal in a tube sock 2. every time I dove, it filled up with water. Shudder. Then it was gently explained to me that clothing neoprene isn’t quite the same as what wetsuits are made of… it’s more like a beefy doubleknit.

So when I came across this amazeballs lasercut neoprene at Metro Textile last year I gobbled it all up. I gave some to Katy who treated us to cross-over skirt loveliness, and finally decided this weekend that I should use mine as well.

And here we are! A neoprene skirt.


So let’s get the crucial things out of the way here:

1. It took 45 minutes to make! When you don’t have to finish seams, hem or press, sewing is goshdarn fast.

2. It’s streeeeeetchy. And we all know how much I like stretchy waistbands/wardrobes. So comfy!

3. It looks cool, right?!


I made it up as I went along: I started with my straight skirt TNT Simplicity 2343 as the base pattern, but I altered it by removing the pockets (I just placed the pocket piece over the front piece and cut around both of them), removing the back seam, and not bothering with a waistband. I underlined the neoprene with a lightweight merino wool from my stash, but I cut it about 2 inches shorter than the skirt so you’d get a peek of the neoprene at the knees. This just involved serging the bottom of the knit, then serging around the edges and waistband before constructing – easy peasy.


I tried it on at that stage, and it was a touch baggy because I used my regular size of 2343 which is meant for wovens – if you make a woven pattern in a knit fabric, you should typically size down. So, I whapped in two back darts, and then instead of attempting to make a waistband from perforated neoprene (a hopeless task, at least with my skills) I just serged on some 2 inch elastic, which gathered the skirt in ever so slightly. I love that the final thing is slim-fitting, but skims over all the bits that want skimming.


I think this is going to get a lot of wear! I dressed it up all fancy here (Always Be Fancy) with the neoprene necklace I got from COS years ago, but it’ll likely get worn most with tights and boots and a cardi. And I’ll get to feel all fashion-like.

Are you a neoprene convert? Does it make you never want to hem anything ever again? Expect to see more round these parts in the future…

59 thoughts on “Barely trying: neoprene skirt

  1. This is gorgeous! Love the laser cut-tedness. So so cool. I made a neoprene Mabel skirt just before Xmas, which I love to death. I have never been so comfy on a night out!!! 🙂 I’d definitely love to sew more first can find some I like.

    1. Ooh a neoprene Mabel sounds great! My original jersey one doesn’t get much use because it’s a bit too clingy but the additional heft of neoprene could be just the ticket

  2. Logan Mack says:

    Thanks for the intro to neoprene. I was thinking of scuba fabric when I heard it too, but your skirt is awesome and totally cute.

    1. Yep, no scuba diving in this!

  3. V Reed says:

    I have a couple of yards of bold pink scuba knit in my stash that I adore, but haven’t a clue what to make out of it. I was thinking perhaps a Lady Skater dress, but your laser cut loveliness tempts me toward a great pencil skirt. I love the cut outs on yours. Did you think about trying it with a contrasting color on the lining material?

    1. A pencil skirt is definitely an easy option – depending on how stretchy and breathable your fabric is, I don’t quite know what it would be like as a bodice (or maybe just problematic on me because of my chest). I did consider underlining in a brighter colour but I thought that might look a bit too 80s 🙂

  4. Heather Lou says:

    Love it! And “I looked like a cross between Pamela Anderson and a seal in a tube sock” made me squeal laugh, like a seal. I actually just bought something incredibly similar to this cutout neoprene of yours, but the motif is more floral. Considering a little a-line sheath dress but a skirt would be lovely as well…

    1. Always here for a squeal, darling.

  5. Keep it fancy – it’s gorgeous. I haven’t seen any neoprene yet but will keep an eye out – it is super flattering and I love the glimpse of leg at the hem. Well done you!

  6. Sandra says:

    I love it, it looks gorgeous!!

  7. Cynthia says:

    Gorgeous. I’ve never tried neoprene, but you’ve inspired me. I’ll definitely give it a go this summer.

    1. It’s certainly a bit different to regular fabric, but surprisingly easy to work with!

  8. Joen says:

    Looks Great! I have the same fabric and I used a piece for the front bodice of a sweatshirt style top it was over a dark purple knit. I really like your skirt thanks for all the sewing tips I may just have to make one too! Was wondering if it tended to roll at the hem? Doesn’t seem to in the pictures.

    1. Hi Joen – ha, I’m actually considering using the rest of it for a sweatshirt too, but using it for the arms. I haven’t had any rolling no, and I don’t think it’s going to – it’s fairly stiff.

  9. Caroline says:

    Oh – that makes more sense as I too couldn’t imagine why you would want to wear anything made out of wetsuit stuff. Your skirt is lovely. I guess you could always leave it unlined and gave different coloured slips depending on how 80s you were feeling.

    1. Makes more sense, right! I always forget about the idea of wearing slips, but you’re right that would be a really fun adaptation

  10. Marike Smit says:

    That fabric looks awesome! Your skirt is so stylish!

  11. LaraG says:

    Very stylish indeed! I’ve been wanting to sew with scuba knit for a while now.

    1. You should give it a go – it’s very easy and the result is great

  12. It looks smashing… I suppose I’ve been a bit put off by its synthetic non-breathable nature, but yours is the perfect compromise as you can line it in a nature fibre! You look very swish indeed. I shall keep my eye out for laser cut neoprene goodness myself!

    1. Yeah i’d be a bit reluctant to use it for a bodice (though I know loads of people do) but as a lined skirt it’s totally fine

  13. Rachel says:

    oo00! This is a lovely little number – I went on a neoprene binge a few months ago.. and then they sat in the stash.. I wasn’t sure that they were my style, but I think you may have convinced me to make the cut…

    1. Awesome! What type of neoprene do you have?

  14. Oh I just love it, Jenny!

  15. gilliancrafts says:

    What a cool fabric! I’ve sewn a few things with scuba, but I’ve never come across this laser-cut stuff. It looks super glam, but I’m sure it’s quite sturdy and wearable! I’m glad you dug it out of the stash! 🙂

    1. Thanks Gillian! It is super cool fabric – as soon as I saw it at Kashi’s I jumped on it 🙂

  16. Renée says:

    That skirt looks amazing. I love the look of the laser cut fabric. I had the same feelings of association with wetsuits when neoprene became a fashion fabric, but now that I’m seeing all the great things made from it I’m very curious. Plus no finishing is pretty appealing.

    1. No finishing is the business

  17. Love love love this skirt! Nice job, and beautiful fabric! I’ve never sewn with scuba before, but you’re making me think I need to try 🙂

    1. Thank you! It’s definitely worth trying

  18. Emma says:

    Incredible Skirt! What fantastic fabric, wish I could find stuff like that here 🙂

    1. Yeah it’s not easy to find – perhaps online? I know that Gorgeous Fabrics often has very similar fabrics to Metro Textiles so it’s worth checking on there.

  19. Lyndke says:

    Really cute outfit. Well done. Love the skirt and the way you let the hem show the design.
    Your wetsuit story made me laugh.. I bought one off trademe and tried it on when home by myself. I couldn’t get the front zip over my boobs. That’s when I found out it is very difficult to extricate oneself from a front zip wetsuit without help (that will be why wetsuits usually have back zips). It took me nearly an hour. I had a real estate agent coming round and I really, really didn’t want to have to ask him for help.

    1. Ha ha ha ha! I can totally imagine that! Even thinking about getting in a wetsuit now makes me antsy

  20. oonaballoona says:

    you are winning everything in this bad boy.

    1. Why thank you m’lady

  21. LA says:

    Love the skirt and makes me think of trying neoprene as now I know it doesn’t make you look seal like lol. One question though – dove???? – don’t you mean dived – seeing as you’re British? Imagine a Weegie correcting your grammer!!!

    1. Thanks!

      If you’re going to pick on language (it’s an acceptable past tense version) you should probably spell “grammar” correctly ;p

  22. I love this skirt. Laser cut neoprene is perfection!

    1. Thanks Kat! I’m a convert

  23. bimbleandpimble says:

    Ohhh neoprene win! The cheeky peek of the laser cut at the bottom is sassy 😀

  24. Monique says:

    Love your skirt, you look so sassy in this creation. Your blog is always a highlight in my day and inspirational-sensational. Did you use some special foot on your machine to sew the neoprene?

    1. Oh thanks Monique, that’s really kind of you to say! I used a regular foot on my machine with this neoprene, but I think different neoprenes behaves differently. Mine was fairly matte and a little textured so it wasn’t a problem, but if you were using something very shiny you might want to try using a teflon foot, or putting a bit of sticky tape on the bottom of your presser foot.

  25. I dream about finding such a cool neoprene you lucky thing! You’ve put it to perfect use with this skirt!

    1. It was like a dream when I found it!! I have a bit left so I’m scheming what to do with it now…

  26. Mel says:

    Very jealous of your beautiful neoprene. I also scoffed when I saw it in stores, but now I’m in the “no need to finish the seams why not” band wagon. Beautiful pattern choice for the fabric and it looks gorgeous.

  27. WOW, I am going to read through all your posts as quickly as my time allows! Just read your story about sewing & body image! So beautiful! I’m going to share now xoxo

    1. Oh thank you Veronica, I’m glad you liked it!

  28. gingermakes says:

    OK, you’re officially too fabulous.

    1. It’s a burden, Sonja, it really is 😛

  29. Michelle says:

    This is really cute. I like the look of the laser cut neoprene. Sadly, I think neoprene will always remain one of those fabrics that I like on other people but won’t ever use myself. I have really strange tactile deja vu whenever I touch it. It reminds me of the type of poly used to make clothes in the late 60’s. *shudder* 😀

    1. I’ve never really used it before now, but this one is actually pretty nice – it doesn’t feel particularly plasticy. In any case, it’s underlined with merino so I’m all good 😉

  30. Sara says:

    Your a knockout in this! 45 minutes well spent!

  31. Ana says:

    That skirt is amazing, I cannot believe it took you only 45 minutes!

Let me know what you think!