If you are following my Instagram @soso.sewing you probably already know I have been obsessed with making swimwear this summer! Here I want to share a few tips about sewing swimwear, as well as my favourite swimwear patterns.
First of all, you need swimwear fabric. It’s available in many fabric stores, I also found great ones on Etsy. It’s usually called either swimwear/swimsuit fabric, lycra/spandex or activewear fabric and has 4-way stretch.
Here are some shops I’ve used before that offer a good selection of swimwear fabric: (also check your local fabric store)
When cutting swimwear fabric, I recommend using a cutting mat and a rotary cutter. Make sure the blades on your cutter are sharp to avoid sloppy edges. I like to use sewing weights to keep down the pattern and fabric, and cut around the pattern with my rotary cutter. If you have troubles going around the pattern, it might help to switch to a smaller blade rotary cutter. Swimwear fabric does not fray, so if you are making ruffles you don’t have to finish the edges.
I use regular (high quality) polyester thread - it works perfectly and you don’t need to buy any special thread. Some people like to use wooly nylon thread - I have never used it because I don’t feel the need to switch from my regular polyester thread.
There is a big debate about the use of elastic. Most people use it, some don’t. Using elastic for your swimwear will improve the fit, as swimwear fabric can go baggy and wear out with time or when it’s wet. I would definitely recommend using elastic in your swimwear, if you want it to stay on your body ;-)
There are different types of elastic: rubber elastic, clear elastic, braided elastic etc. I have always used clear elastic (also known as Framilon tape / Framilastic). It’s very easy to use because it’s thinner than rubber elastic, and especially regular sewing machines can have trouble sewing rubber elastic. It’s also resistant to chlorine (according to the manufacturer of Vlieseline Framilastic, the brand I’m using). Some people say that it is not as longlasting as rubber elastic, but I never had any problems with it in both sea water or chlorine.
I like to use my overlocker to sew swimwear. It works too with a regular sewing machine using an elastic stitch (e.g. zig zag) - a differential feed or walking foot can be helpful if the fabric is too slippery. I would also recommend using stretch needles with a regular sewing machine. But if you have one, I would recommend using your overlocker.
In the first step, I overlock the pieces together using my Brother 1034dx. Then I put the elastic on top of the overlocker seam and sew on top of the seam with the overlocker. Do not stretch the elastic! I filmed the process and saved it as story highlight in my Instagram @soso.sewing - check it out for a full tutorial!
I have used several patterns from Edgewater avenue. I really like their patterns - they are reversible and the seams are “invisible” on the inside in between the lining and main fabric.
So far I have tried the Emmy, Ranger and Lucy bottoms, Jace, Dallas and Maxine top and the Poppy swimsuit. They run true to size and I always make a size Small.
If you have never made one before, I recommend trying the Dallas Top as it is super easy to make a
nd beginner friendly - plus it is a FREE pattern! (this is not sponsored in any way, I just truly love their patterns so much!)
Here are some other swimwear patterns I really like:
Do you know any other good swimwear patterns? Let me know in the comments!
If you have any questions about sewing swimwear, just send me a message :)