Adventures with Scuba – Diving Right In!

I know, I know, my puns are inexcusable. But sometimes I just can’t resist…

Seriously, though, have y’all heard of scuba knit fabric? It’s a pretty awesome textile that has been making its way through the sewing blogosphere in recent months, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on some. Scuba knit is exactly what it says it is – the stuff you make scuba gear out of! (Or, at least, that’s what I’ve always assumed – correct me if I’m wrong!!) Essentially, it acts like a firm double knit, and has a thick, squishy texture. One fun thing you can do with this fabric is leave the hem edges raw, since it’s extremely stable. It’s basically an all-around awesome fabric!

…and a few weeks ago, I finally added some to my stash! In the spirit of my blogging resolutions for 2015, I attended the January Bay Area Sewists meetup, arranged by the fabulous Chuleenan of C Sews. This particular meetup was a fabric swap, so we all brought bits of our stash to swap. I’d never done one of these before, but it was truly genius – I arrived with five pieces I didn’t want anymore and left with five pieces I couldn’t wait to sew up. And I didn’t pay a penny! (Well, I did later when we all went to Stone Mountain and Daughter, but that’s another story…). It was an amazing experience to meet so many other sewing enthusiasts of all ages. We even had a few men! I’m so thrilled I went. And I went home with a yard of scuba knit!

Since I didn’t have much to work with, I decided to make the Colette Mabel skirt, which is the perfect pattern for small amounts of stable knits. I spent quite a while studying the print of the fabric and trying to figure out how to make it match up at the seam lines. I got so close to getting it perfect, but the whole mirror-image thing with the back piece messed me up. I’m still kicking myself a little for not seeing that sooner! So one side seam matches up perfectly, but the other doesn’t. Alas. But I still managed to get a pretty good approximation with the bit of fabric I had left, so all in all I’m still pleased.

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As far as the fabric is concerned, I treated it like any old regular double knit and sewed the seams on my serger. I decided to leave the hem edge raw, and cut around the lace-like part of the print for a fun extra effect. I was quite proud if myself for thinking that up, and I really like the result!

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(I promise I didn’t cut the front crooked – it’s the way I’m standing)

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The one thing I’m not so thrilled about with this skirt is that it rides up terribly when I walk in it. If I’m mostly standing still, it stays in place just fine, but if I’m walking much at all (which is what I do pretty much all the time!!), it rides up so badly I start to get stares from passers-by. I think this is because the scuba is such a stiff fabric – on my other Mabels, which are made of drapier ponte, this isn’t such a problem. Oof. Has this ever happens to you? Any advice for fixing this??

So it will probably be reserved for “standing only” occasions like parties or dinner outings. But hey, for a free skirt, I’ll take that!

Oh, and p.s., my top is another Deer and Doe Plantain Shirt, made from a gorgeous bamboo/Lycra blend I got at Grey’s Fabric during my November visit. I made it up right before Christmas, and it has been in constant wardrobe rotation ever since!

P.p.s. I made the necklace too :P. And yes, it’s driving me bananas that it ended up crooked in these pics!

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11 thoughts on “Adventures with Scuba – Diving Right In!

  1. Lovely pattern on that fabric and it looks great when you’re standing still at least!

    I have some fabric that is similar to scuba I think. Do you think it would be ok in a knee length wrap skirt? Don’t want to copy your riding up issues.

    • Thanks! For the wrap skirt, I would say it depends on the weight of the knit and the fit of the skirt. I have a feeling my riding up issues are caused by negative ease in the pattern. As long as your pattern has positive ease, I would think you should be fine. Also, my scuba was pretty heavy and not that drapey – is yours like that? The stiffness of my fabric probably also contributed. Good luck with your skirt!!

  2. So, a couple crazy ideas to try with the ride-up. I don’t know where it’s riding up or how, though, so take with generous dosage of salt.

    If it’s scootching itself up above the posterior, near the waistline, you can add a smidge of boning (ending before the curve of the posterior really starts). If it’s the lower part getting slurped, you can add boning to the straight area below the posterior, but you’ll want to make sure the boning is well-encased so you don’t get poked when you sit. (unless you have super-flexible boning, I wouldn’t go for following the full seam line; possibly a more flexible “horsehair” braid or something similar might work, though – the idea is to force the fabric to not wrinkle itself up)

    The other thing is to line the back of it with something super-slick, so that even if it tries to ride up or starts to ride up, it slips right on back down. Cheapo ridiculous lining fabric can be great for this. I suspect the scuba fabric is thick enough you wouldn’t even have to line it “properly” – just figure out where it’s grabbing and add rectangles of slippery fabric tacked down at intervals to the scuba fabric.

    Also, I love the scallop-along-the-pattern idea! Genius! It adds a lot to an already great-looking skirt – I hope you can somehow save it from being a standing-events-only skirt!

    • Ooh thanks for the suggestions – I never thought about boning! I think I’ll try the slip/lining idea first, but if all else fails I may experiment with putting some boning in the side seams (which is where it tends to bunch up). As always, you are full of fantastic ideas!

      • Theatre costuming experience + physics classes + painful screw-ups = “unusual” suggestions. 🙂

        If it’s the side seams, you may be able to get away with stitching a slippery satin ribbon over them (just hand-tacking the edges down on either side of the seam) – a lengthwise satin grain would be helpful with reducing up-and-down friction. I could see the overlock plus scuba fabric providing enough grip to grab-and-hitch as you walk… which is not so much what you want here! But yes, if making it slippery turns out not to be enough, add boning (or something a bit lighter than real boning) and see how that works – you may be able to get away with doing that full-length on the side seams (whereas the posterior curve is almost certainly too abruptly curvy for full-length real boning to “hide”). Just hand-tack things and test them before making them permanent additions to the skirt, because: crazy ideas. 🙂

        Good luck! And thanks for letting us watch along. 🙂

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