How to Mark a Suit That's Too Large or Too Long
You'll need a friend to help with this … there's just no way to mark it yourself. We'll try to make all alterations along pre-existing seams if you're starting with a pre-manufactured suit. If you're starting with a Terrapin custom suit, the suit has been glued together, but most of the seams are not yet sewn, so please be gentle getting it off and off. Put the suit on over your bathing suit or dive skin. If there are zippers on the arms and legs, leave them open for now. Close the torso zipper(s) and identify where the suit may be too loose. If it's loose through the torso, look at the armpits and decide if most of the looseness is in front of the armor behind it. Steps (2) through (12) are for the friend to do. When the markings and photos are finished, pack it all up and call +1 (830) 226-5194 or email to let us know the suit is coming. Ship it to Chris Summers, Terrapin Wetsuits, 6515 Hwy 27, Center Point, TX 78010. Fold the suit carefully to avoid causing any unnecessary creasing.
- If most of the looseness is in the front or back, go to that side of the wetsuit. Gather up the excess material by pinching the vertical seams on that side of the torso. Pinch both of the seams (left and right side, using left and right hand, respectively), distributing the excess material evenly between left and right. You should be able to pull the wetsuit away from the body by only about one-half inch, and any more than that should be marked for removal.
- Keep the grip on the excess wetsuit material with one hand and let the other side go. Use the free hand to take up the yellow crayon to mark a 1-inch long vertical line next to the outside of the thumb and forefinger holding the excess wetsuit material.
- Repeat steps (2 and 3), moving up the seam until there is no excess material. Continue to repeat steps (2 and 3), moving down the seam until there is no excess material.
- Once you have marked along with one of the vertical seams, do the same for the other seam on the same side of the body (back left and back right, for example). When you are done, you should see two pairs of dotted lines surrounding the two seams on the same side of the suit. The pair should be roughly the same width on either side of the seam, and the width of the space between one pair should be roughly the same as the space between the other pair of dotted lines.
- Now, look at the other side of the wearer. Standing or kneeling on one side of them (for example, the wearer's left side), pinch together the excess material you marked on the seam you can reach from that side (for example, the back left seam). Holding this excess material tightly, look at the seam on the opposite side of the body (front left seam in this example). If the front seam is laying flat, that's great! If it is standing away from the body, this area must also be marked in step (3).
- Be sure that the pair of dotted lines taper out to a point at the top and bottom of the areas of excess material so that the seams can come together again smoothly.
- Now check the sleeve length. The sleeves should stop at the wrist and not interfere with the wearer being able to bend their hand back. If the sleeves are too long, fold them up at the wrist and mark a line along the fold on the reverse side of the material. If there are zippers, close them to the fold, but leave them open below. After marking the inside, let the folded edge flop back down and mark the crease on the outside of the suit. Be sure to do both arms.
- The suit should fit snugly next to the body. If the sleeve is loose, gather the excess material along the seam on the underside of the sleeve and mark it as in step (3). Be sure to do both arms, and check up to the armpits.
- Do the same process as steps (8 and 9) down each leg.
- The suit may have a collar already attached. Confirm the height of the collar is comfortable. If it needs to be shorter, mark a line for trimming away excess height.
- Take a photo of the wetsuit on the person, capturing the loosest areas or fit poorly. Take a few notes and list all the places where alterations are needed.
Material cost depends on thickness, and your cost may be higher or lower than this. Quotes extended on examination of the suit. If you want a quote before authorizing the alteration, please include a payment of $30 (our minimum charge). If you decide not to alter the suit, that fee is non-refundable. If you decide to proceed with the alteration, the $30 will be applied to your final invoice. Rush service is available for some alterations at an additional charge of $45 for a 24-hr turnaround or $30 for a 48-hr turnaround. Prices are available upon request for items not listed — ask us! Please plan time for 1-2 consultation and fitting sessions, depending on the extent of the alterations.
We can replace latex seals with 2mm neoprene on most neoprene suits.
Terrapin reserves the right to refuse to work on suits that are just too nasty for words or disintegrate into pieces, such that they would contaminate our sewing machines.
This includes all BARE Reactive wetsuits with caulked exterior seams (the caulking chips off easily). So if you send a suit for alterations, please be sure it is clean, dry, and not crumbling. Our minimum rate plus return shipping will be charged, even if work is refused or not possible.