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Stitching Clear Vinyl and Neoprene

Parker | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello All. This is my first posting. Thank you everyone for all the the tips and tricks from past discussions that have answered my questions so far and made my sewing easier!

I am attempting to sew clear vinyl to neoprene. The neoprene is the bottom layer and the vinyl is on top. I am using a Teflon foot and a 75/11 HS needle. The top thread is clear Sulky and the bobbin is Wooly nylon. I taped a thin sheet of Teflon to the machine with a hole cut out for the presser feet so the neoprene doesn’t stick to the machine. I am trying to stitch a zigzag close to the edge to look like fake serging.

The zigzag stitching is somewhat inconsistent. Is it because the clear fine Sulky thread is a different weight than the bobbin thread? I have tried tear away stabilizer but it distorts the stitch pattern when I tear it off. Has anyone tries the dissolve-in-the-wash type stabilizer?

Any suggestions appreciated! I am willing to experiment with thread tension, needles, threads…anything. Except buying a serger 🙂


  1. sueb | | #1

    I'm curious why you are using wooly nylon in the bobbin? I've worked with vinyl and I usually use the same thread in the bobbin that I'm sewing with. I do however always use a walking foot. I haven't had much luck with my teflon foot.

    when you say the stitch is inconsistent - what do you mean? are you getting skipped stitches, varying width, is the bobbin thread pulling up?

    1. Parker | | #2

      Hi Sue,

      I was using wooly nylon for the bobbin so it would stretch and match the fabric color on the neoprene side. The clear thread  on top doesn't show on the vinyl. I tried clear top and bottom but it didn't seem strong enough for both layers.

      You are right about the walking foot working well. It is just a little too wide for me to steer around tight corners. The teflon foot and roller foot have been doing okay.

      The inconsistent stitches are when I sew close to the edge with a zigzag stitch to get a wrapped edge look. The spacing starts out consistent, but then they either bunch up together or spread out.

      The bottom line is that I am trying to fake a 1/16" serged edge without a serger.

      Thanks for the help!



      1. Teaf5 | | #3

        As a scuba diver, backpacker, windsurfer and sailor, I'm exceedingly curious about what you might be making with neoprene and vinyl...do tell!

        1. Parker | | #4

          Hello Teaf5I am experimenting with new materials for outdoor gear. Neoprene is realy a challenge to work with! Thanks to this discussion for recommending the book on sewing outdoor gear and Seattle Fabrics. The book arrived two days ago and is very helpful. Parker

          1. Brenn | | #5

            I've been struggling to sew lycra fabric and thin rubber strips.  On a different post people have been very helpfulbut I haven't solved the problems yet.  But just TODAY I was talking to a friend at my sailing club and he used to run a sewing company making boat covers and stuff (I never knew that, he works in computing now).  He worked out that my problem could be timing on the machine.  I don't think this is yours but he did say he covered EVERYTHING with silicone spray to get it to sew properly. 

            I don't want to do that with my swimming costume but it may work well with your neoprene and vinyl.

            Cheers, Brenn

          2. Parker | | #6

            Hello Brenn,I had luck sewing two sheets of silicone rubber together by rubbing them with a really thin coating of baby powder. I didn't need to use any special feet but I did ease up on the presser foot pressure to keep the feed dogs from pressing texture into the bottom layer. Good luck with the swimming costume!Best,

          3. Teaf5 | | #7

            Yes, baby powder is what helps divers get into neoprene wet and dry suits, so that's a great suggestion. Two cautions, though, in using neoprene: it degrades quickly in sunlight and does not work well in areas that will rub against anything else. Vinyl items seem to last forever, but neoprene doesn't last very long at all, so try to use it in only very protected parts of your items.

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