Wetsuit Recycle Project #3: Neoprene Bikini

So technically, this is kind of a mod instead of a craft, but I felt I should include this. I picked up this 0.5 mm Rip Curl hybrid spring suit/swimsuit a couple of years ago. A friend of mine got one, and I thought it was a great idea- neoprene instead of thin Lycra! Warmth! I was sold.

I’m SO NOT modeling this on a public blog….

Problem was, after I wore it surfing a few times, it became quite clear my torso must be longer than Rip Curl Model Alana Blanchard’s, since I would suffer constant Wipeout Wedgies in this suit. Thank goodness I still wore a bikini beneath.

The top wasn’t coming up quite high enough on my chest, so I was pulling the straps up constantly, forcing the body of the suit to come up as well. Not a good look for anyone. Except maybe this guy.


So it was time for a mod.

First, I made my chalk marks at a little higher than the true waist on the suit. I didn’t cut any material away, since I intended to put hems in each piece. Since this is neoprene foam, however, it’s not really necessary. But, I felt having a hem would give each part a little “binding”, and a place to put elastic in the casing created by the hem, if needed. Just trying to make it last longer, and stay on during my frequent wipeouts, ya know? Of course, I weighted everything down before making my cut with my rotary cutter and a straight edge, since neoprene can be SLIPPERY.

Where I’m going to make my cut

Getting ready to make my cut


Now I’m ready to fold down my hems on each piece. No edge finish needed, no fraying, works for me.

I used my quilting clips since they have a measuring gauge built in. I estimated about an inch, so I’d have plenty of room to work with under the presser foot on my sewing machine. Folding the hem over will make 1 mm of neoprene foam total thickness being sewn under my home sewing machine- I’m safe. I did fold the hem to the inside, the material is soft enough to be pretty frictionless on my skin. I clipped down the heck out of both hems.

About an inch…

Handy gauges on the clips

Clipped to the hilt

I actually had some freaky neon yellow thread in my stash, but it was “poly sheen”, which means it’s slippery embroidery crap. That’s why I had some. It’s ALWAYS on sale since sewists hate it. Instead of trying to use it as a top thread, I put it in the bobbin, used white standard thread on top, and sewed my piece inside out. Much easier, less tangles, I’ve found.

Decent match for the top thread

After I did a round of zig zag stitching at 2.5 width and 2.5 length (this neoprene is very stretchy!!!, using a walking foot, I did a test fit. But, I was worried just one line of stitching wouldn’t be enough to hold up to the vigors to surfing.

Worried about just one line of stitching holding up


So, I did a few lines of zig zag stitching around each hem. I’m not too worried about extra holes in this neoprene foam at the hem, since this is more like fabric, and the stretchiness absolutely merited the extra insurance.

The fabric will distort a little under the presser foot while sewing, it’s all good


Extra room

I finally have extra room now for that morning muffin top to hang out after having my donuts and Diet Coke before surfing. Breakfast of champions.

Almost there….

3 thoughts on “Wetsuit Recycle Project #3: Neoprene Bikini

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