Step 1: You get measured
We take up to 52 separate measurements so that your suit will match your unique body shape.
Step 2: Select your materials and design
You pick out the thickness and colors in your suit. Your suit can be a combination of different thicknesses to cover the parts of you that get colder than others. You can choose from 2 mm, 3mm (1/8″), 5mm (3/16″), or 7mm (1/4″). Most of the neoprene Terrapin stocks are Yamamoto top grade, with moderate compressibility and excellent stretch and wear characteristics. We also offer a few specialized materials, such as Yamamoto SCS coatings (powdery smooth inside), Cordura and Kevlar laminates (highly puncture-resistant), and Macro or Glomex neoprene to match other manufacturers' wetsuits for the alterations.
We can insert geometric designs, critter scenes, etc.
You can also select if you want additional zippers (arms, legs, extra-long, pee, etc.), pockets (tech sets, special sizes, white balance, etc.), pads, and other features.
Step 3: Your pattern and suit are created
A pattern is made from your measurements, and the pieces of your suit are glued together. This neoprene glue is so strong that the rubber would tear before the glue would release if you tried to pull it apart. All Terrapin neoprene suits are glued and stitched for maximum strength. Polartec suits are sewn with a 6-thread cover-stitch, which holds the material together without glue.
Step 4: You come for a fitting
You come for a fitting to get a perfect fit on the spots "in-between" measuring points, custom placement of pockets, kneepads, or other special features, and before adding zippers on arms & legs. (Can't come in for a fitting?… that's OK, we can do it through the mail, see "Distant Clients" below).
Step 5: Your suit is finished
The fit adjustments are made, arm & leg zippers are added, and the neoprene suit is stitched with a 2-thread over-locking stitch, inside and out. This stitch is ideal for wetsuits because it secures the fabric laminated on the surface of the neoprene without poking holes that go all the way through the neoprene, therefore minimizing the paths for water to get into your suit. On suits thinner than 2mm, where the glue surface is thin, the 6-thread cover-stitch provides strength and supports the seam.
Finally, the finishing bindings are added to all openings. We leave no rough edges on Terrapin suits (even inside, the zippers are finished with soft binding). Your custom suit is ready for your next dive!
For optimal use of your wetsuit, please read, understand, and follow your new suit's suggested Care and Feeding. These can be found by clicking About Wet Suit https://terrapinwetsuits.com/materials/ Materials or Warranty, Terms & Conditions.
Step 1: Getting Measurements: You have two options to start the process:
A. You can order a Terrapin Wetsuits Measuring Kit, which contains the measuring chart, special stickers to help you measure accurately, the instructions, a measuring tape, and up to 5 swatches for your color and thickness choices. Please look for and reply to our email about the swatches if you order a kit.
B. If you don't want to use the kit, you can follow these instructions:
On the chart, there are circumferential measurements (4-chest, 5-waist, etc.) and vertical measurements (4.5 is the vertical space between where you measured the chest and where you measured the waist). Take these vertical measurements down the side of your body, under the arm. Even if you're only going to order the pool suit, please provide all the measurements; that helps me visualize your shape when making the pattern.
Item 18, the girth measurement, is very important. That's taken from the clavicle notch in the front (B), through the legs, and up the back to the vertebrae at the base of the neck (A). Be sure the measuring tape is held flat to the body, following the curves of the seat and small of the back.
Item 20 is the inseam measurement from the crotch to the ankle bone (not the floor).
Item 21 is the measurement on the outside of your body from the side waist down to the ankle.
For item 22, indicate the inseam length you want on the leg of your shorty or pool suit. The price would be the same if you chose between a 5″ and 9″ inseam – if you leave item 22 blank, we'll make the inseam 5″.
For Item 23, indicate whether you want the front zipper to be centered (C) or diagonally down one side (S). If you choose S, indicate the left side (LS) or right side (RS).
Step 2: Select your materials and design, and Commit to buy
- At the bottom of the measurement chart is a drawing of the basic suit seams. There are no center front, center back, or center side seams (unless required for your design). There are 4 body panels, separated by "princess seams in front and back, required in our pattern. Indicate on this drawing what colors you want on the body panels and what thickness of neoprene you want on each panel. Terrapin offers a wide range of colors in 3mm (1/8″), 5mm (3/16″), or 7mm (1/4″). I also offer a limited selection of colors in 2mm, and Polartec materials. The color choices currently available are shown on our website.
- Sign page 2 and send both pages along with a 50% deposit check. The remaining balance and the shipping will be due when the suit is finished and ready to ship. If you're not sure of the amount, call me, and we can discuss the cost of the suit before you commit.
- Send two full-length photographs of yourself: front view and side view, in addition to the completed measure chart and deposit.
- Mail the documents to:
Step 3: Your pattern and suit are created
When I get the kit or your measurement documents and your deposit, I'll call to let you know they arrived, and we can discuss any unclear measurements. I'll make the suit to match those measurements, accounting for the degree of stretch in the particular thickness of neoprene you select, typically around 5%. I won't cut neoprene until the deposit is received.
Step 4: You receive the suit for a fitting
WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND A FITTING BEFORE THE SUIT IS FINISHED. This is the best way to get the best possible fit.
When the suit is ready to ship for the fitting, I'll call to notify you. You can choose to have me include a return shipping label for your convenience when I send the suit for fitting. Fitting instructions will be shipped along with the suit, but you can also see them on the alterations page by clicking alteration marking instructions.
If you cannot come to Terrapin for a fitting and time constraints prevent a fitting before you need the finished suit, you will be entitled to one fitting alteration within four months of the ship date. So you can dive the suit and then let me know if it needs adjusting. If the suit only needs taking-in or shortening, all you would pay for is the shipping to me, and I'll pay for the return shipping. I can also alter the suit if you want to make a design change or a size change, but those would be charged at our standard labor and material rates. Major recuts due to measurement errors are not covered under this free fitting.
Step 5: Your suit is finished
When you ship the suit back after the fitting step, you'll include the remaining balance due on your invoice. We remove all excess width or length marked at the fitting, add wrist and leg zippers, pockets, etc. (if ordered), stitch the final stitching and apply edge binding to finish your suit. It's shipped to you finished and ready for your next dive.
New clients often ask, "How long will it take?". Since the full timeframe depends on when you can come to the shop for fitting or how long you may have the suit (for distant clients), the answer is "it partly depends on you." But generally, it takes me 1.5-2 weeks to turn your measurements into a suit that's ready for fitting, and an additional week to finish the suit after the fitting. This may be less for suits with no extra arm and leg zippers or more for two-piece suits.
Contact us to discuss your suit!