A Tale of Two Swimsuits

Okay, can we just gloss over the fact that it’s been over 2 months since my last post?  You’re here, I’m here, let’s not dwell on the past.  Actually, let’s just dwell on the fun, sewing-related events of the past!

Thank you, Fabric Fairy, JoAnn, and Fabric Mart.  (Or should I say “you’re welcome”?)

Looking at my stash of swimwear fabrics (above), you would think that I live near the beach, or at the very least have several fabulous pool parties to attend between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Sadly, neither is true.  I’m 3 hours from the ocean and not a single one of my friends has a pool.  Obviously I need new friends.

It all started when I decided to make a Bombshell swimsuit last summer.  I did make one, and I love it.  I think it looks great, and it totally satisfies my once-a-year beach-going needs.  But I was bit by the lycra bug, and fun, stretchy prints started showing up at my doorstep.  Galaxy print!  Pineapples!  Stars and stripes!  They all had to be MINE!

So what to do with all of this fabric when my personal swimwear needs are already met?  Well, I guess people in these situations sometimes sew for others.  Maybe?  Actually, my two younger sisters both requested swimsuits for summer beach trips.  I just so happens that I like them, so I obliged.


The two suits I made are very different.  L dresses modestly, so she wanted what I guess you would call a swim tunic – something long and not too tight that she could wear over leggings.  I started with the (free) Deer & Doe Plantain t-shirt pattern, and made a few modifications: lengthened the hem, shortened the sleeves (the large sizes always have gorilla arms), and raised the neckline (by about 6 inches total I think).  I actually had to cut out the front twice because the neckline was still too scooped after my first attempt at raising it.  Might still be a little too big, but that could be me stretching out the neckline when attaching the band.  I need to work on that.

DSC_0151To add a little interest, I turned the side seam allowances into casings and added some ties so that she could cinch it up.  Isn’t this print fabulous?!  I ordered extra because I knew L would love it too.  See, mom?  I’m not always selfish!  She also said she got compliments from all of her friends 🙂  If only everyone had a sister with a sewing machine.


L modeling her swimsuit in the Atlantic Ocean.
L modeling her swimsuit in the Atlantic Ocean.

R’s requirements were a bit harder to figure out.  She basically wanted the coverage of a one-piece bathing suit, with the bathroom-going ease of a two-piece.  Yes, the infamous tankini.  But seriously, who likes getting totally naked in a public restroom?  We settled on high-waisted bottoms and a long line top that would meet in the middle.


The bottoms seemed pretty easy, so I started there.  I used the (also free) Make Bra hipster pattern, raised the waist by 6 inches, and used swimwear elastic instead of FOE at the leg openings.  It required a couple muslins to get the fit right, but one of them was wearable and they are pretty quick to sew up once you get going.


For the top, I first attempted to muslin a bra-turned-bikini top, but it turned out way too big.  I knew I didn’t have enough time to make another muslin, so I decided to scrap the original idea and start over.


Luckily/unluckily, we all got sick with colds and R had to cancel her beach trip, which meant I had more time to figure out a top before our family vacation.  Still, I was sick myself, and ended up sewing a Jalie 3247 top (View A), lengthened by 5 inches, the morning before we left.  It was really easy, though, and turned out great!  I think the sporty look is balanced by the crazy print. The colors are suuuuuuper vivid in real life.


The fabric is from a Fabric Fairy flawed pieces bundle, and I just managed to fit the pieces on the “unflawed” parts.  The fabric is pretty thick and opaque, but I lined the bottoms and the front of the top anyway.  The arm and neck edges of the top are finished with a thick 1″ FOE and the bottom is topstitched with a twin needle (same for the waist band of the bottoms).

R at the beach, with mini hair buns courtesy the ’90s.

These suits were really fun to make, and I’m kind of sad that the swimwear season is almost over.  We do have a year-round pool just up the street, so maybe sewing a swimsuit in the winter wouldn’t be totally bananas!


2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Swimsuits

  1. Very cute! and totally different! I love the versatility. And I have to say that as much as I love a gorgeous 1-piece suit, I’m not into getting naked in public bathrooms either!


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