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Reader Question: How do you make a swimsuit?

After showing you the swimsuits I made, many of you asked me how to make a swimsuit. I'm pretty sure I'm not the person to ask. After all, I did a trial and error method. There are a few tips to having success though, so here's my advice.

  • Start with a pattern or an old swimsuit/leotard to trace. There are a few great bloggers who show you how. I particularly like the picture tutorial at No Big Dill. No old swimsuit to trace? Everyday Chaos has a great tutorial.
  • Use swimsuit fabric. It should have two way stretch. Most fabric stores carry swimsuit fabric. Stretch it and see how it responds. Some swimsuit fabrics are lycra, some microfiber, some spandex. I used a fabric that wasn't as stretchy as I'd usually like but for $1.99/yard I wasn't too picky.
  • Use a ballpoint or stretch needle in your machine.
  • If you don't have a serger, use a knit/stretch stitch or a small zigzag so your seams have stretch.
  • Use nylon thread (though I used polyester). 
  • Use swimsuit elastic (the clear stuff) for the leg and arm openings.

That's it. Now go make yourself a swimsuit! Anyone made women's swimsuits or boy's/men's suits? Any tips or patterns you'd recommend?



  1. says

    Have you ever made one for yourself? It seems to me that suits for my kids (at least up until recently), have been super easy and inexpensive to find. Suits for me? Not so good.

  2. says

    I’ve been wanting to make a swimsuit for myself for several years, because I just can’t find one suit that has everything I want (one piece, boyshort bottom, room for an ample bust with no cleavage, and actually CUTE), but I’m too chicken!

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