Making your own swimsuit can be a fun way to completely personalize your swimming experience that goes far beyond accessorizing. Frankly, making your own suit can also save you quite a bit of money on even the lowest-priced of pre-made swimsuits. Whether you are a novice or experienced sewer, below you can find a quick guide to finding the right patterns and materials to help you make your own fun, stylish swimsuit this summer.
The first step in making your own swimsuit is finding a good pattern. If this is your first homemade swimsuit, you will want to choose a simple pattern, such as a basic tank-style, one-piece suit. Whenever using high-spandex fabric (including most swimsuit fabric), the pattern can and should be very simple. Spandex fabric is meant to mold around a person’s shape; therefore, measurements do not always have to be precise. While most fabric companies will offer some swimsuit patterns, the best two companies for swimsuit and active wear patterns are Kwik Sew and Stretch & Sew. These patterns come in a wide variety of sizes and styles and take torso length into consideration. Torso length is one of the most important aspects of getting a great fit in a homemade swimsuit.
Once you have a pattern, you will need to select a fabric for your swimsuit. Swimsuit fabrics come in a large variety of colors and prints. When buying your fabric, make sure to choose a color or print that you will feel comfortable wearing, that will look good on your body and when wet, and that has the appropriate amount of stretch. Your swimsuit pattern should come with a guide to determine the fabric’s amount of stretch. Swimsuit fabrics come in both four-way and two-way stretch styles. Four-way stretch styles tend to be heavier and a little more expensive and do not run. Either material should work well for your swimsuit, provided you take good care of it. Be sure to buy an extra amount of fabric so you can sew some test pieces with elastics and make any necessary alterations to the swimsuit.
Next, you will need lining to ensure that your swimsuit remains modestly opaque when wet. Most fabric stores carry swimsuit lining in close proximity to the swimsuit fabric. You should find a lining that has the same amount or more stretch as your chosen swimsuit fabric. Because swimsuit linings come in a limited amount of colors, choose a lining that matches the color of your suit as closely as possible. If your fabric is fairly dark in color, you may need only a small amount of lining for the crotch of the suit, but, generally, a front lining is necessary.
After choosing fabric and lining, you will need to purchase elastic for the armholes, leg holes, straps, and neck hole, as well as thread to sew the swimsuit together. You will want to buy elastic that is specially formulated for swimsuit use, as this elastic is more likely to withstand chlorine and maintain its elasticity for a greater amount of time. Cotton-wrapped elastic is the most common and easiest to work with. You will want to select the 3/8 inch width for the leg, neck, and armholes and the _ inch width for the straps. In order to ensure the durability of your suit, you should use a polyester thread or texturized nylon thread in both the needle and the bobbin of your sewing machine. Be creative with the color of your thread, as you can also use this thread to add decorative stitching to your suit and personalize it to an even greater extent.
Once you have all of the necessary materials to make your swimsuit, you are ready to starting cutting and sewing. Be sure to follow the instructions on your chosen pattern carefully, no matter your expertise in sewing. Swimsuit pattern layouts look quite different than other patterns. Your pattern should offer helpful tips and shortcuts for cutting and sewing your swimsuit.
Following your swimsuit pattern should result in a good product for your homemade swimsuit. However, be sure to remember some simple rules when sizing your suit. Follow the size layout on the pattern, but always try the suit on for a final fitting before sewing. Also, remember that swimsuits do tend to enlarge a bit when wet so make sure the initial size is not too large. Finally, enjoy the experience of making a swimsuit that is completely personalized for you!