Make A Scuba Fabric Top 2

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Sewing Bee Fabrics Tutorial
Sew Your Own Top With Scuba Fabric


how to sew a top from scuba fabric plus size sewing free tutorial

Scuba fabric is often associated with figure hugging body contour dresses or full skirts, but it's structure and shape are also perfect for making a top that hangs away from the body. Some single knits have a nasty habit of migrating towards skin creases, which for plus size sewing is not always the most flattering look. Double knit holds its shape better but also the extra weight means that not only is it great for not creasing, but it also doesn't travel towards the exact areas I'm trying to hide! I chose to make the sleeves out of regular jersey (an old T-shirt in fact) because it makes the top light and flowing on the arms and not as toasty as if it was all made from scuba fabric. If you haven't come across scuba fabric before, then why not have a read of our neoprene and scuba fabric guide.

Because I wanted to use the 2 contrasting fabrics, the raglan tee sleeve style would be easy to make a flattering look.... Especially with a bit of curve to the shape to give it a more feminine and grown up look.

What You Will Need:

Scuba - about 1 metre

Jersey - less than half a metre. I used an old t shirt that was waiting to be upcycled.


How To Make It:

To make my pattern, I first measured the distance between bra straps. That's the top width.
Then I measured from the back neckline to the level of about where I wanted the bottom of my sleeve to sit around the armpit. That's the height of the top section. I drew diagonals but gave them a slight curve to the sides.

I used exactly the same shape front and back. For the front, I just lowered the neckline by a couple of inches.
The main square is armpit length to desired top length, by widest body point plus an inch. I flared the top out slightly, then curved the bottom in a little. I did the bottom curve because I didn't want the scuba fabric to stand out away from my body obviously at the bottom.
scuba fabric top tutorial sewing bee fabrics how to draft the top
I hope I haven't made the sleeves too complicated for other people to copy. I made the front and back body pieces out of wrapping paper then pinned some tissue paper to make a shape I liked, so that's what I would suggest doing if you enjoy making things up as you go like I do. If you prefer to draw it then try it on, you could make your shape by starting at the neckline. Measure bra strap to bra strap for the neckline length, adding a curve to the front end shape. Decide on the width you want your sleeve under the arm. Give yourself plenty of room to move. That is the width between the bottom of the back and front sleeve - bodice join lines. Draw those bodice join lines diagonally outwards to the width you decided on so the length of those lines is the same as the diagonal part of your scuba fabric bodice section (you can use thread to measure your curves, or if you have one, a flexible ruler). The back one is drawn straight and the front with a  slight curve. The sleeve join lines are just where your sleeve joins together under the armpits down to whatever length sleeve you decide. Just make them the same length then square it off with a line across the bottom for the end of the sleeve hem.
drafting the sleeve pattern
Once you've got that all cut out, it really is super quick to sew. You may want to hem the end of your sleeve before you sew it on. I cheated here. As I was using an old T-shirt, I just cut my sleeve pieces out so that the hem at the bottom of the T-shirt became the sleeve hem instead. I'm all for speed sewing and cutting corners at the moment!
So as that was already done, I started off by sewing the back sleeve diagonal to the back bodice piece by placing them both right side together. I prefer to sew them with the sleeve clipped together (armpit to elbow seam) so it's less likely to stretch out of shape while I'm sewing. I used a double needle, longer than usual stitch length and a knit foot on the sewing machine to get the best results.
Joining sleeves to front scuba fabric bodice
how to sew scuba to jersey with a double needle and a knit foot
Then flip the back out of the way and sew the front sleeve pattern to the front bodice fabric
joining sleeves to the back bodice scuba fabric
Pin the sleeves and sides of your top together inside out then sew 2 continuous lines from the sleeve hem, then under the arm, and right down to the bottom of the top.
How to join scuba and jersey fabric sleeves and side of bodice
I didn't bother hemming the bottom of the top as scuba won't fray, and the weight of it means it tends not to curl like jersey can.
Lastly, I measured the neckline (trace around with thread), I took off 10 % of the distance then cut the length in jersey (width about 1 1/2 inches) with the biggest direction of stretch along the length. I didn't have enough for one continuous piece so cut 2 and joined them after.
making a neckline for the scuba top

I then joined the ends to make it into a loop.

joining jersey to create a neckline

Fold your loop in half across the fabric width, then pin it at regular intervals around the neckline so that the 2 raw edges of the neckline jersey are lined up with the raw edges of the scuba and sleeve jersey.

pinning the neckline in place

Add a gentle stretch as you sew.

stretching the jersey while attaching the neckline

Then your scuba fabric top is finished. Told you it was quick! It's definitely one of my favourites. What do you think? Have you made anything from scuba?

Finished scuba fabric top - free sewing tutorial

We hope you enjoy our tutorials and love hearing what you think so please leave us a comment or send me an email to

Happy Sewing!

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2 thoughts on “Make A Scuba Fabric Top

    • Sewing Bee Fabrics Post author

      Thank you so much Pam. The patterned scuba fabric is fab isn’t it! I think I could do with finding some more suppliers to get more in. Obviously I’d have to test the new stock before selling it 😉