I’ve returned to the same wetsuit I used for the last project in August, but now I have a “spring suit”, with the calves cut off up to the knee pads.
I thought it would be interesting to do something with the knee pads of the wetsuit, which were much thicker, so I cut those out on their own. I carefully cut around each seam of the knee pads. It appeared that the knee pads were about 4 mm thick each.
|Suit with the knee pads cut out|
As I was trying to figure out what project to make with the knee pads, I decided to try out some machine sewing on the neoprene. I used regular polyester thread (not nylon) and set the machine to a very long stitch length (4.5). I did use a roller foot, but haven’t tried a regular foot yet. I folded a 2 mm neoprene scrap piece in two, making a thickness of 4 mm of neoprene. This is my result for straight and zig-zag stitch in white thread:
|Machine sewing on neoprene|
As you can see, my machine skips stitches quite a bit, but I was still impressed with how well it did move through the machine. I will try more experiments as I move along further on this wetsuit.
For now, I had two pieces of 4 mm thick neoprene knee pads to work with.
I thought a great project would be a easy case for my Sea Specs. I use these sunglasses a lot in the water for surfing and paddling, but they came with this little, tiny, silky drawstring bag that is just impossible to work with, especially if I’ve got sand or water on me. Plus, I never put them back in the little pouch since I have to rinse them off, and inevitably, they get crazy scratched up when I throw them in my surfing bag.
So I thought I would use these two pieces to make a super thick pouch that would be large enough for the Sea Specs, but have a little more cushion against scratches than the silky pouch.
I put the two pieces together, making an 8 mm thick total seam. I began to hand sew this using 6 lb fishing line, but found going through 8 mm of neoprene was a feat. I would need pliers to draw the needle through every pass, and there was a lot of sewing to be done.
Fortunately, since I cut outside the knee pad seam, I found out that these pads were not heat sealed together, just two pieces of 2 mm seamed in an oval. So I chopped off about 2 inches from the top of the knee pad, and voila!, a pouch ready made!
I checked the fit of my Sea Specs in the pouch, and it worked great. I’m not going to put a Velcro closure on the pouch since I really don’t want to have more to fuss around with when I’m getting ready to head out into the water. As a bonus, I can rinse my glasses off outside and not worry about the case getting wet because of the neoprene, and the neoprene itself is washable so I can get all the sand off.
|Glasses inside the pouch|
Now, if your wetsuit doesn’t have these type of pads, you can still do this by hand sewing two 2 mm pieces together, like in the last project, which IS doable.