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PatternReview Blog > PatternReview on Facebook: Sewing a Swimsuit?
PatternReview on Facebook: Sewing a Swimsuit? By DianeSev on 6/4/13 12:03 PM

PatternReview on Facebook: Sewing a Swimsuit?

Have you sewn or are you going to sew a swimsuit this year? One-piece or two piece? What colors and fabric? Have you ever sewn a swimsuit? If not, what's your biggest obstacle?

Tell us about it in the comment section below!

Or, join the discussion on Facebook.

Here’s what other members said on Facebook:

6759 Swimsuit

“I was afraid to sew a suit, but after the first one, I got over my fear. They are really easier to make than you might think. I've made 3 one-piece and one 2-piece suits. And I have a new pattern for a one-piece on my cutting table right now.”

“I made a couple back when I was 12 and 13 out of non-knit fabric. They were both two piece, and one I made with a removable skirt that was attached to the top. That was the project I was cutting out on my living room floor on the day the astronauts blasted off for the moon! A memorable project for me, that's for sure.”

Child's swimsuit 6729

“I’ve never made a swimsuit, although I own a few patterns of swimsuits. I guess my biggest concern is sewing the fabric used for them. I'm scared that I won't sew it correctly, and that the seams will rip while it's being worn...”

“I have made a few one piece simple swim suits for my daughter out of Lycra. I wouldn't make one for myself because I don't want to have to do special linings, straps, and bra cups.”

Girl's swimsuit 3785

“I'm making a flesh-toned suit out of a few layers of mesh. I'm attempting to feel naked while abiding by the law.”

“A Kwik Sew cutout, so both! I have also made both a one piece and a two piece previously. The first time I was shocked at how easy it was!”

Swimsuit 3608

Many “Highly Recommends”!

“I used a self lining on all of them and made soft cup as the.patterns were designed. One I could breastfeed in!”

“I make bikinis for body builders. I make all of my own custom pattterns. I live close to the Garment District for my fabrics. They are bedazzled and bejeweled. Definitely not for the water but look fantastic poolside!”

Swimsuit 4003

“Coincidentally I just bought a swimsuit pattern at JoAnn's today. I might try . . .”

“My goodness! I made a total of three 1-piece bathing suits in my lifetime... all in the mid 80's, each one was for me, although one of them did get entered in a fashion show put on by all the high schools in my district at a local mall.”

“This may be the year. I swim every morning. I am thinking tankini. I have the elastic, the fabric and the Evolution.”

Swimsuit 2447tankini


“I have recently bought some KS swimsuit patterns on sale. I'd like to make one or two for me, but need to make one with an inbuilt underwired bra. That's what's stopping me. Once I get a pattern for my size (difficult for larger cup sizes) I'll have a go. I've made plenty of leotards, so am not daunted by the Lycra.”

Swimsuit 5795

“I have made about 35 swimsuits. KS and Jalie are my favorite ones and I combine patterns and pattern companies. I am currently sewing a Jalie top with a KS bottom.”

“No matter how skillful, I will still not look good in it!!!!”

“I have a Jalie pattern for men's trunks. I wanna make some for myself but with swimsuit (stretchy) fabric.”

Men's swimsuit trunks 2678

“I've made lots of swimsuits but my biggest problem is finding good quality swimsuit fabric.”

“I have been thinking about it. Would be first time using Lycra. Concerned about fitting.”

Swimsuit 6569

“I've never thought of tackling either swimwear or lingerie. It doesn't really appeal to me.”

See swimsuit patterns.

See swimsuit reviews.

See tankini patterns.

See tankini reviews.

See reviews for Jalie 2678, men’s and boy's board shorts, a Highly Recommended pattern.

See reviews for Kwik Sew 2881, Men's shirt, shorts & trunks, a Highly Recommended pattern.

There’s a lot more information about swimsuits, including fabric and sewing tips, on the Message Board.  Check it out!

Join the Swimwear Sewalong!


15 Comments      Login to Add a Comment    
ddunn27 said... (6/14/13 5:25 PM) Reply
I went onto and typed vintage swimsuits, two of the companies were, retro monkey, and thimblefingertips. Two of the patterns have never been opened. I am going to go to Staples and have them copied, that way I can cut and tailor them to all those who are asking for the suits. Happy hunting. I will share mine if you can not find them.
2mulie said... (6/12/13 9:46 AM) Reply
1972, my first self-sewn swimming suit, age 11...white bikini suit on my fabulously tanned skin...all was well until the high-dive. Thankfully the bottoms only went as far as my ankles, and I could hold my breath for a long time...then I made it to the edge and noticed it had become rather transparent. Thankfully materials have become much better!
nils1234 said... (6/11/13 9:04 PM) Reply
I made a swimsuit for my daughter, plus size, from polyester fabric called choloroban and also used polyester elastics and lining fabric. I had a look at it a while ago and the fabric is still in great shape. We have a pool with chlorine and this is why I used polyester. Lycra does not last long.
daNeesey said... (6/11/13 2:35 PM) Reply
ddunn27: I'd love to know what the site is that has the array of vintage swimsuit patterns! :)
daNeesey said... (6/11/13 2:34 PM) Reply
ddunn27: I'd love to know what the site is that has the array of vintage swimsuit patterns! :)
bkryatty said... (6/11/13 2:33 PM) Reply
I've made dozens of swimsuits - usually simple tanks with either open or racer backs because I took water aerobics for years. Swimsuits last about 3-4 months in a chlorine pool so you need lots. Also, if you are as large as I am (both tall and fat) it is nearly impossible to find a decent suit. Either they are too short and I am singing soprano or they come with a pointless bra and a stupid skirt. I've used the Kwik Sew and the Stretch 'N Sew patterns for plus sizes. Both are terrific with great directions. The Kwik Sew suit runs larger; the Stretch 'N Sew has attractive princess lines. I've made it for many women but be warned: the side line comes further down the breast line on the side exposing flabby tissue. I simply adapted it upwards and my swimsuit recipients were content. A couple of points: 1) Line with actual swimsuit fabric (as opposed to fabric sold as swimsuit "lining") and line the entire suit - not just the front. This allows extra support all the way around and hides all the seams so that none of them are touching the body and makes for a fabulously comfortable suit. Second: skip the bra. It is pointless unless you built in a whole lot of personalized structure. The fully lined suit gives plenty of support even if the girls are old and saggy like mine. Three: Cut with a rotary cutter, mat and pattern weights. Lycra is bouncy and jiggly while cutting if you move the fabrics and you need about a bazillion pins. Pattern weights work much faster, hold the fabric in place better and don't let the fabric slip or distort so your cutting is more accurate. Next, don't be afraid to follow the directions about changing length or width. Unlike any other alterations in sewing, you can skip the flat measuring portion and just add increments as needed based on your measurements. Flat measuring is NOT helpful unless you have a thorough understanding of the concept of "negative ease" where the measurements are necessarily smaller than yours because the swimsuit is designed to stretch to conform to your body. So don't bother. If, for example, your waist is 3" larger than the measurement on the envelope and there are four cut edges, simply add 3/4" to each edge at the waist and slide the lines to meet the bust and hips. Any elastic will do. If you are swimming in a chlorine (or saline) pool, the elastic will outlast the suit. Instead of cutting the elastic to the recommended size, mark the end point (and quarter points) with a pen, stretch to fit as you sew and then clip it off when you are finished sewing. This will give you a nice piece to hang onto as you stretch so that you are not trying to hang onto a small shred with tweezers by the time you get to the end. SWIMSUITS ARE EASY! I promise.
Heidi Ho said... (6/11/13 11:41 AM) Reply
I have made a lot of bathing suits. I currently made Jalie 3134. I need to review it. I wear it four or five times a week for swimming laps. I added a swim bra following instructions in a Threads magazine from a few years ago. This is not because I have a big bust but because I am so flat chested that the stretchy lycra totally flattens out what little I have got!!
chrishensley said... (6/11/13 11:02 AM) Reply
One of my first ever sewing projects was a swimsuit; it turned out great! I found the stretchiness to be very forgiving to a true novice sewer and matching thread covered alot of mistakes.
ddunn27 said... (6/11/13 9:58 AM) Reply
I have made swimsuits in the past,about 20 years ago, and now I find I want a certain type of bathing suit. I have found a great website for vintage swimsuit patterns from the 30' 40' through today. I am mixing and matching the pieces. I have even found a famous Diana Ross pattern where she is the model on the pattern front. So Cool! Pictures to follow.
Miss Lola said... (6/11/13 9:27 AM) Reply
I made my first one a few years back , my family come to me for a swimsuit, they are easy and fun to make.
BrightFeather said... (6/11/13 8:37 AM) Reply
Swimsuits are fairly easy. Well, the kind I've made, anyway. I started making them for the children last year and even made extra to keep here at my house. this year, while I'm not making extra ones, I'm still making six swimsuits--three taninkis, one tank, and two board short suits. Two of my nieces and one of my nephews are currently testing my work on the Florida beach! Best things about making them is that all six kids are color coordinated, and since they're tall for their age, their suits actually fit. And, well, swimsuits are one of the few items that I can make more cheaply than I can buy!
Zoomitron said... (6/11/13 8:28 AM) Reply
I made several swimsuits from my old (and still perfectly good) Stretch and Sew patterns. If you can find one, they are simple to sew and look great.
Fabricaholic50 said... (6/11/13 7:52 AM) Reply
I have made quite a few swimsuits and they aren't as hard as they look. I quite enjoy working with Lycra .
Quickie said... (6/7/13 9:33 AM) Reply
I have sewn a Royal blue grading to turqoise swimsuit earlier this year. Fabric was lycra and it is lined
Rosalaya said... (6/5/13 11:32 AM) Reply
I made some o-so-cute swimsuits for my daughter when she was about 5. (Now 28). I am desperately needing a new pair and am in the process of making same, but have stalled on the under wired bra/keep-me-in stage. Then I'm planning to add a basic one-piece with a swim dress over the top. Finding it pretty scary seeing that it's for me. Weird huh?

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