What is Scuba Fabric: What makes it special

Scuba fabric is a fabulous stretch jersey fabric that is great made into figure hugging dresses, tops and skirts. Scuba fabric is made from polyester and high-stretch spandex. It’s a type of double knit, with a smooth but fairly thick texture. It is springy so is perfect for shaping skirts. Although called scuba, it is not the material that wetsuits are made of, neoprene, which is a thicker synthetic rubberised fabric.

Some scuba is very tight with minimal stretch so match your fabric and pattern accordingly. If your scuba behaves like a woven rather than a jersey knit, choose a woven pattern and install zippers and closures as normal.

Scuba fabric is a term that is commonly used to refer to neoprene, which is a type of synthetic textile. This fabric was originally developed by the DuPont Corporation, which remains one of the biggest innovators of new products in the world. DuPont also created nylon, and it has developed many other types of products outside of the textile industry.

Neoprene was originally created as a substitute for rubber during the 1930s. At the time, rubber could only be created by harvesting a particular type of tree, and this substance was already in short supply as World War II dawned. The war’s increased rubber needs, however, threatened to exhaust the global supply of this material, which prompted DuPont and a number of other leading corporations to find a solution to this problem.

Types of Scuba:

There are two major variants of this type of fabric:

• Petroleum-based polychloroprene:

• Limestone-based polychloroprene

surfers and scuba divers report that limestone-derived chloroprene rubber is more comfortable than petroleum-derived chloroprene rubber due to its higher-density closed cell structure

What makes it special:

After the war, it was discovered that Neoprene had a variety of uses beyond military equipment. For instance, manufacturers started making wetsuits with this material, and Neoprene became incredibly popular among surfers and scuba divers.

One of the issues with scuba diving at the time was the fact that most other fabrics to make scuba suits were water permeable. Neoprene, however, makes a total water barrier between the skin and the environment surrounding it, which makes it ideally suited for scuba diving gear.

While neoprene might be a dream come true for scuba divers, this waterproof feature detracts from its performance in the wider world of apparel. Neoprene isn’t breathable at all; any sweat you exude while you’re wearing this scuba diving material will stay between your skin and the material until you take the piece of Neoprene clothing off.

This factor makes it so that Neoprene is only truly suited for loose-fitting clothing or clothing that doesn’t cover a large portion of the body. While its stretchiness would make it an ideal material for tight-fitting sportswear, its lack of breathability detracts from this benefit significantly.

Where is It Produced:

While the USA is the only producer of Neoprene, China is the biggest producer of chloroprene rubber. Since Neoprene is simply a trade name of chloroprene rubber, it can be safely said that China is the biggest producer of this product, but technically, the United States is the biggest (and only) producer of branded Neoprene.

However, some of the biggest companies that produce this substance aren’t located in either the United States or China. For instance, ARLANXEO Holding B.V. is based in the Netherlands, Deka Co., Ltd. is headquartered in Japan, and Zenith Industrial Rubber Products Pvt. Ltd. is based in India. Though Japan is a country with limited major exports, chloroprene rubber is one of them, and some of the biggest players in this industry are Japanese.

Advantages of Scuba Fabric

  • Heat retaining
  • High stretch
  • Flattering to wear
  • Suits multiple shapes and sizes
  • Provides extra support
  • Smooths out imperfections
  • Water-resistant
  • Holds pleats well
  • Super smooth

Disadvantages of Scuba Material

  • Not biodegradable
  • Melts if you use too much heat
  • Not breathable
  • Patterns disrupt when stretched

How Is It Used:

The finished synthetic rubber is then sorted by thickness, and it is loaded onto pallets to be shipped to manufacturers of apparel, scuba gear, or wet suits. Once a pallet of these sheets arrives at a textile factory, the manufacturer creates a stack of about 10-15 sheets. The pattern of a wet suit or a different type of apparel is then traced onto the top sheet with a crayon, and a sawing machine cuts around the pattern. Depending on the type of end product that is being created, this process may be completed multiple times for the same stack.

In the case of scuba gear, the pre-cut templates are then adorned with decals and equipped with zippers, pockets, and any other types of added materials necessary. A special type of cement is used to connect separate pieces of chloroprene rubber, and then the final product is sewn together with an industrial sewing machine. Finally, the finished product is washed, and it is inspected for any defects.

Polychloroprene fabric is widely used in a variety of consumer and industrial applications. For instance, this type of textile is commonly used in the medical field in a variety of different forms. Neoprene gloves have become more and more common as the medical industry has become more sensitive to the needs of latex-allergic patients, and this fabric is frequently used as cushioning in cases that are used for medical instruments.

This substance is also used in military and transportation applications. Neoprene gaskets are excellent for sealing windows and electrical enclosures, and they are also used as noise isolators in power transformers. In addition, this substance is used to make shock absorber seals, hose covers, and power transmission belts. Neoprene is even used to make various components that are used on the International Space Station (ISS) and in other spacecraft.

Neoprene’s ability to insulate against heat or cold as well as repel water led to this substance’s early rise as a wet suit material. Before the advent of Neoprene, divers were forced to use complex contraptions that limited movement and the time they could spend underwater. However, this fabric’s success in scuba gear gradually led to its use in wet suits for surfers living in colder climates. Today, almost all wet suits and scuba suits are made with Neoprene or a similar generic fabric.

Interestingly, Neoprene has recently been making waves in the fashion industry. Since this fabric is form-fitting, it is popular among young women, and it has been commended as an ideal summer material by fashion magazines. This fabric is also commonly used in swim suits. Beyond apparel, Neoprene is used in general consumer goods like cases for electronics and covers for car seats.


1. Pre-wash your fabric, as you would with any other fashion fabric. Use a medium-heat wash, 30-40ºC. Do not tumble dry as the heat will damage scuba fabric.

2. Scuba fabric can be uncomfortable to wear in hot weather as it is densely knitted and won’t ‘breathe’ like woven fabric so avoid bodycon dresses made from scuba in the summer.

3. Use a low setting on your iron when pressing scuba to avoid marking or even melting the fabric. Use the tip of the iron to get into the seams to press them open. If ironing from the right side, cover the fabric with a press cloth first to prevent shine.

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