Swimsuit sewing ‘spiration

Maybe it’s the approaching summer, maybe it’s my love of sewing all things stretch, maybe it’s that I’ve just booked my plane ticket to Barbados for next January… but I have swimsuit sewing very much on the mind at the moment.

swim wear

I want to hop on this bandwagon because I’m continually disappointed with the fit and flatter-factor of RTW swimsuits. I usually end up going for a one-piece or (unpleasantly-named) tankini because I don’t like my midsection being out on show but I always feel a bit frumpy in them, so it’d be great to actually make a two-piece that fits and flatters exactly right. Either way I want my dream suit to look cool and modern, probably in a print paired with graphic black panels.

swim fabrics

Luckily for me, Funki Fabrics saw some Twitter chat about my swim plans and jumped in to offer me the fabric for my suit from their amazing selection. I’ve got samples of the above (Prism, Chrome, Space, Feathers, and Lightning) on the way. I also picked up a clasp and some plain black swim lycra for toile-ing this weekend. Any tips for where to look for other notions: lining, cups, elastic?

swim patterns

I still haven’t decided whether to go one or two-piece, or indeed what pattern I’ll use. I’ve ruled out all of the Big 4 (so dated!) and also the most popular indie pattern around, the Closet Case Files Bombshell. Much as the Bombshell looks awesome on others, I have a ruched swimsuit already and don’t like it on me: I think it adds thickness along the torso. The newish Papercut Soma is a definite contender: I think the one-piece’s wrap top would be cool in a print with a plain black lower half. Another option is to look at lingerie patterns. I think the Ohhh Lulu Sophia pattern could be great for bottoms: I’d do the ruched side panels in black with a print centre. Maybe paired with the Ginger or Soma bustier as a top?!

So many options! Any more ideas or swim-tips to throw in for me?

19 thoughts on “Swimsuit sewing ‘spiration

  1. Naomi

    It’s winter here in NZ but I am also really into swimwear at the moment. I am hoping to make a couple of pairs before summer. I have the ohh lulu grace knickers, so will use them as a starting point. You are SO lucky to be given fabric – that is the biggest problem I have – finding something that is cool enough. Shipping costs to this side of the world don’t make it cheap either- boo! I like the ones you’ve chosen, probably the tiny triangles or that hazy galaxy (?) looking print.

  2. Bella

    I’ve had togs sewing plans on the brain for a while now too. It’s winter here though so they’re stalled for now. My vote goes to the Papercut pattern, as I like all of the options it includes.
    Looking forward to seeing what you end up making.

  3. Ute

    Barbados, huh? I´d be thinking about swimsuits, too then! ;-) Sounds great!! Love your fabric choices, glad you did not go with the hamburger fabric or the monsters! Looking at that site made my eyes go all crazy, but they have some nice stuff. For future swimsuit sewing I have the bombshell sewalong http://closetcasefiles.com/the-bombshell-sewalong-begins-material-requirements/ and the swimAlong 2013 http://threedresses.org/2013/05/01/swimalong-2013-welcome/ bookmarked, I think there are some valuable tips there, also about supplies. I am also considering the soma swimsuit, it is a great pattern.

    1. Katie Post author

      Wait, there’s hamburger print?! ;)

      Thanks for the links, I’ll definitely refer to the swimalong for tips when I get going.

  4. Cirque Du Bebe

    SO EXCITED for you! You know how I feel about that geometric colored diamondy fabric already, but those feathers are cool too. The Soma one piece is so gorgeous! I want to make it so bad, but I stalled on not being able to find non-black FOE in australia, will have to get some online. And colored bra strapping too. But looks like you could be lucky here and readily-available black will work with all your fabric contenders Look forward to seeing the results!

    1. Katie Post author

      I’m spoilt for print choice! Depends how they look in person I reckon.

      eBay seems good for FOE options, but yes, luckily black should work for me.

  5. Sarah

    Oh good luck! Must admit I’ve 2 RTW one pieces that I love to bits, so no desire to head down this super Lycra path, but will look forward to seeing what you make! Did you see the Nettie hack last week that heather made for her friend?

  6. Marilla

    I’ve had exactly the same dilemma about style. I’ve just finished mine and ended up with a one piece with a bikini feel to the back. It’ll be up on the bloggo later, but I ended up making shorts and top half separately with a join at the waist. It gives a much better fit to cut separately and you can tailor more to your shape. Gorgeous fabric samples!

    1. Katie Post author

      LOVE yours! I may go the self-drafted route too, I feel like it wouldn’t be too hard to half rub-off a current one and half ad lib… I have a lot of spare fabric to toile with.

  7. Fiona

    Ooo I can’t wait to see what you come up with Katie! I’m all about the swimsuits this year! I actually bought a cheap swimsuit (for cheap read Primark!) and used the cups from that as all the cups I could find were expensive, really solid and also really hard to work out the size! You also could use the clasps etc from the cheap suit. My swimwear elastic I got on eBay but I’ve since found some really great stuff hidden away in the corner of Barnett Lawson along with bra strapping. Have fun!

    1. Katie Post author

      I may well raid a cheapo suit too – could rip it apart and use it as a tracing ‘block’ as well as reusing the bits and pieces. Smart!

  8. Caroline

    Looks like you’ll be busy Lycra-ing it up over the next few weeks. I like your fabric swatch choices which will all work with a black main fabric which can be used for optical contouring.
    My vote goes to the Papercut pattern, although like Marilla did you could Franken-pattern your own sections from a RTW bikini / swimsuit too.
    Good luck and I look forward to seeing the results : )

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