You can sew rubber even though it has a nonporous surface and can be a bit more challenging than working with other fabrics. So, it is best to use an industrial machine or modify your home machine with the proper tools.
Sewing rubber is a fun way to recycle materials. But, as I mentioned, it has a nonporous and very smooth surface, and its two sides adhere to one another, which is why it needs different skills than typical fabrics.
So, if you want to know more about sewing rubber and other elastic materials, you came to the right place! I shared some guides and tips for working with stretchy fabrics to help you make things much more manageable.
List of Contents:
How to Sew Rubber
Rubber is a smooth and nonporous material with two sides that stick together, clogging your sewing machine. So, you must connect a Teflon presser foot to your device if you wish to sew rubber.
Follow these steps to know how to sew rubber:
- First, you must get the proper tools for sewing rubber. Since rubber is nonporous, you will need heavy-duty sewing machine needles, with sizes 14, 16, or 18. Additionally, you need a heavy-duty thread to hold your materials together.
- Next, connect your sewing machine to the Teflon presser foot, a nonstick coating that allows the rubber to glide while you sew. But, if you do not have a Teflon presser foot, you can line the top of your rubber with tissue paper or newsprint before stitching.
- You can also spray a silicone-based product on your rubber to allow it to slip through the machine foot and treads. Doing so lubricates the needle, making sewing easier.
- Finally, check your sewing machine’s instruction manual for the proper presser foot tension. It may be best to adjust the settings on your device depending on the thickness of the rubber.
- Using thin rubber will make stitching more manageable, but it is best to change your needles regularly because they tend to dull when you use them on thick materials like rubber.
- Making multicolored rubber inner tubes into purses, messenger bags, and gift bags will be more manageable if the tubes sit flat when stitching. So, you may want to cut them lengthwise along the inside curve first.
- When using a sewing machine, always take caution and follow the directions.
Can You Sew Silicone?
Silicone is more manageable to sew through than other elastic materials, like rubber, so a needle pierces it and penetrates it completely. But, it may be best to avoid using dull needles if you want a smooth stitching experience.
Silicone is a slightly sticky material, but not so much that it sticks to your needles. Additionally, it does not glide through the machine, although it clings to objects. So, to avoid this problem, you may want to sew with fabric on both sides of the silicone.
Overall, silicone is a unique and enjoyable material to use in your sewing projects. You can quickly work with it, cast it in various molds, and color it to any color you like. The options are limitless, so express your creativity and have fun!
Can You Sew Elastic?
Elastic is an excellent sewing material for dressmaking, household chores, and crafts. You can sew various types of elastic and use it to add fullness to your cloth and create a beautiful collected finish that is ideal for shirring.
Sewists usually use elastic to make waistbands in clothes, but you can also use it to make fitted cuffs on a shirt, the top of a dress or offer a snug fit in other places of a garment.
But, note that sewing elastic into a garment differs from conventional sewing. When working with this material, remember to account for the elastic’s stretchiness to the fabric.
How to Sew Elastic
You can either sew elastic straight to the garment or make a casing for the elastic, then insert it through the case. The first method may be ideal if you want a gathered fabric. But, the second process is better if you wish for your elastic and fabric to lay flat.
Directly Sewing Elastic into a Garment
- First, you must cut the elastic after measuring it according to the body part that the band will wrap around to determine how much elastic you need.
- Sew the ends of your elastic together, overlapping the elastic ends by about 0.25 inches to 0.5 inches. Then, sew over the overlapping elastic two or three times with the zigzag stitch option on your sewing machine to ensure that the elastic band’s ends are securely attached.
- Pin the elastic to the cloth in four evenly spaced spots, starting by pinning the elastic seam to the fabric seam. Then, pin the elastic’s opposite side to the opposite side of the fabric band, and repeat for the two opposing elastic sides.
- After pinning the elastic to the cloth, you must use your sewing machine to sew the elastic in place. Then, set the device to zigzag stitch and start sewing along the top edge of the elastic.
- Stretch the elastic as you sew it so that it is the same length as the fabric. Then, make sure to sew all the way around the elastic, slightly overlapping the beginning of the stitching after you finish.
- Fold over your elastic towards the inside of the fabric you are connecting it to hide it. Next, sew along the folded fabric’s bottom edges. Pull the elastic taut to make it even with the material, then begin sewing a zigzag stitch along the elastic’s bottom edge.
Sewing Elastic with a Casing
Prepare the Casing
- First, measure the elastic’s width, noting that the casings must be somewhat broader than elastic. So, begin by measuring your elastic’s width, adding 0.5 inches.
- Fold the needed quantity of fabric over, folding it over this quantity of cloth based on your chosen measurement. After doing so, you must fold the material into the garment to hide the raw edges. Then, ensure that the cloth that you fold it evenly all the way.
- Pin the fabric to keep it in place and make a mark in the area for an opening to make sure the elastic fits through it. Next, leave a hole in the casing to insert the elastic.
- After sewing the elastic all the way through and attaching the ends, you must sew the opening closed. Then, mark where you wish to leave the gap with chalk or by pinning two pins on either side of the aperture.
- Sew along the fabric’s edge to fasten the casing. Then, sew a straight stitch around 0.25 inches from the cloth’s edges using your sewing machine to give the elastic plenty of room while still ensuring a secure enclosure.
Secure Your Elastic inside the Casing
- Cut the elastic after measuring it, then figure out how much elastic you need after making the casing.
- Connect one end of the elastic with a safety pin to aid in feeding the elastic through the casing. Then, close the safety pin after inserting it through one end of the elastic band.
- Thread the elastic and safety pin through the casing’s aperture, then insert the closed safety pin through the opening you left in the case. Next, pull and stretch the fabric to get the safety pin through the casing, pushing the safety pin further into the case.
- Scrunch the fabric around the safety pin, straightening it out while moving the elastic through the casing with one hand while holding the safety pin through the material. Then, repeat this step until the safety pin emerges from the other side of the casing aperture.
- Put the elastic’s other end in place. Then, as you push and draw the safety pin through, hold on to the other end of the elastic.
Finish Off Your Project
- After working the safety pin through the case, remove it and align the elastic ends, overlapping the ends by about 0.25 inches to 0.5 inches. Then, sew a zigzag stitch over the overlapping elastic with your sewing machine.
- After securing the elastic band’s ends, tug on it to make sure you hid all sections beneath the casing. Then, sew along the border of the casing opening to close it.
Can You Sew Neoprene?
You can sew neoprene, but you will need to stabilize your fabric, use a longer stitch length and a looser tension to prevent nesting beneath the material. Also, it is best to use a walking foot to ensure a consistent feed and keep the cloth from slipping.
Most neoprene fabrics are thick, which makes hand sewing the material challenging. You can sew the two-millimeter style by hand without sewing tools, but it is best to use your needle-nose pliers to pull the needle through the fabric for thicker materials.
It is also best to use a long needle to place the stitches correctly on your fabric. Also, if you do not want to put your fingers through all of this strain, you may glue the thicker materials together to spare yourself time and suffering.
Can You Sew Neoprene with a Sewing Machine?
Most home sewing machines can sew neoprene with a width of two to three millimeters. But, if you plan on working on projects that require thick neoprene fabric, you will need a heavy-duty sewing machine to manage the workload.
As I mentioned, your standard sewing machine should be able to handle two to three millimeters of thick fabric, but anything thicker will require an upgrade and more power. So, it is best to get one that comes with a portable walking foot.
The walking foot slows the machine down by half and keeps the needle from becoming too hot. Additionally, you can use a water-based lubricant to help move through the fabric more easily.
Your sewing machine should also have more than one built-in stitch to help you get the perfect stitch, especially for pressure spots that require an extra hold.
- Your sewing machine must have a walking foot and a large hand wheel to slow down the needle, preventing it from overheating.
- When sewing with neoprene, avoid using tiny, weak needles. To prevent breakage and have a sharp point, use a 16/100 jean/denim needle.
- Prepare by winding two to three bobbins before stitching the neoprene and use a heavy-duty nylon or polyester thread.
- When buying a 16/100 or heavy-duty size 80 needle, it is best to choose one with a ballpoint tip, which helps prevent snagging and slippage.
- Suppose you plan to sew neoprene fabric thicker than four millimeters. In that case, you must use an industrial sewing machine because they are powerful enough to push the needle through the material and back again.