We stayed behind the trend on this one for a little while. We wanted to make sure it was a fabric with “legs” on it for our customer base. Finally, the right offerings came along to meet our standard for excellence. We took the dive (pun intended).
The polyester stretch fabric is a double knit with a substantial body and a fine sheen. Named for the neoprene fabric that was used in diving wear, this contemporary version was milled specifically for the apparel industry. Designers originally tried using a neoprene version, but found that it was too expensive and too limiting in its end use. The European mills then developed a lighter weight double knit that retained the qualities of a sleek stretch knit without the restrictions of the sport fabric.
Designers are happy with the characteristics of the fabrication and customers are pleased with the resulting wearable designs. Scuba allows for a wrinkle-free and comfortable fit and has enough stability to follow the body form without hugging it too tightly.
We think this black on black scuba is a great introduction to working with the fabric. The embossed surface adds interest without getting in the way of construction techniques. Its possible that some will want to match the pattern, but in general, we think it will be fine without that consideration. We suggest a simple garment—straight dress or cardigan jacket for example. Fit your pattern for a knit. Use knit techniques and equipment. Be sure your stitch length is appropriate for a good bit of stretch. Too short a stitch could cause breakage. We measure 20% stretch on the cross-wise, negligible on the lengthwise. Choosing a needle intended for stretch knits will be important as the surface may not give easily to a standard needle point.
Have fun and be sure to share your creations with us.