Like many women, the idea of wearing a swimsuit makes me feel uncomfortable and exposed. Because, really, in what other circumstance would it be ok to walk around in public covered in a small piece of nylon that is skimpier than my regular undergarments?!
So, sewing my own swimsuit has been a huge positive achievement for me. I’m able to get the fit, coverage, and support exactly how I prefer.
The bottoms are my very own Swim & Surf Shorts. I sewed up the shortest length (2.5″ inseam) but it comes in two longer lengths as well. I also included the optional sewn in swim briefs; I love not having to mess around with another layer! The front panel is lined with power mesh for a nice tummy tucking affect.
This beautiful board short fabric is courtesy of Peekaboo Fabric Shop. I just love the vibrant colours and the stripes and floral are so trendy too. This microfibre washed up beautifully as well and was really easy to work with. It can be difficult to find nice board short fabric, especially in prints, so I strongly encourage you to check them out! Amy also offers a huge variety of swim knits and other fabrics.
I used the Rad Patterns Super Suit for the swim suit top. I really like the sweet heart style neckline on this suit. It is hard to tell with the black fabric (lovely stuff, purchased from Water Tower Textiles), but there are side panels that give the opportunity for colour blocking. The drafting is very well done and the designer Stephanie has industry background in design.
I did find that the tutorial assumes some experience with sewing swimsuits and I would suggest this pattern for intermediate or advanced sewists simply because of the ‘to the point’ instructions. Also, the instructions have you try on the nearly finished suit and then add the straps. While this makes sense from a fitting point of view, it doesn’t leave for a very neat finish so next time I will sandwich the straps between the suit and the lining. Also, I needed to take almost 6″ off the strap length (I did line them with power net for more support).
I did make a few changes to the pattern. The first was to use the ‘skirted’ view and remove 8″ from the bottom to turn it into a tankini. I prefer separates to a one piece suit. Finally I added underwire to the bodice. The underwires are sewn to a hidden layer of powernet. You can read more about that here and follow my step by step tutorial. This method works for nearly any swimsuit pattern and results in a suit that is much more supportive!
So do you sew your own swimsuits? I’d love to hear about them!