A swimsuit that fits and feels beautiful. Every woman wants one. So, few of us can actually find one. I’ve hated swimsuits and swimsuit shopping since I hit puberty. There is something so bizarre about walking around publicly in what is basically underwear.
Because none of my swimsuits fit me at the beginning of this summer and I promised my kids a summer-full of trips to the local pool, I decided to try my hand at sewing my own. The plan was to sew a bikini set for comfortable nursing friendly support, and a swim tank for wearing over it. (I already had black swim bottoms that fit me.)
For the tank, I used my favorite tank pattern, but made it out of swimsuit fabric.
I finished the edges using my favorite skinny binding method made even easier by my coverstitch sewing machine. (A twin needle would also do nicely here.)
I added ties to the side seams that can ruche up the tank if I wanted to wear it shorter, or let the tank down to hip-length.
Swim Tank Details
- Fabric: Floral Fantasy Nylon Spandex Swimsuit Fabric (no longer available)
- Pattern: Jalie 3245 – racerback tank
- I used my maternity tank modifications and added another inch to the seam allowance on the side seams to use for casings for the side ties.
For the swim bra, I used a bra pattern designed for knit fabrics (Jalie 3131). The trick was to change a few details to make it look more like a bikini instead of underwear.
The top edge of the bra is supposed to be finished with fold-over elastic, so I increased the seam allowance and used a knit binding instead. I also replaced the elastic straps with fabric straps.
Finally, I lengthened the back band to accommodate a swimsuit hook instead of a hook and eye closure.
Swim Bra Details
- Fabric: White Aspirin Polka Dots on Royal Nylon Lycra Swimsuit Fabric, swimsuit lining, and power mesh
- Pattern: Jalie 3131 – bra
- Size: Cup – size AA, Band – size Y
- I added seam allowance along top edge, so that it could be finished with skinny binding instead of fold-over elastic.
- I replaced the plush back elastic straps with a straps made of swimsuit fabric backed in power mesh.
- I extended the back band to attach to swimsuit hook.
Unfortunately, I think the design needs some tweaking. For one, I think the tank top is too swingy for a swim tank. Instead of masking my stomach pooch, the extra fabric through the stomach accentuates it. Next time, I could try a slimmer cut to the tank, or even try a halter style, or maybe a sleeveless wrap? Secondly, the swim bra does not provide the shape and support I had hoped for. This particular pattern is notorious for the “flattening” effect it has. If the Sophie bikini pattern had been released before I started this project, I would have gone that route instead.
Despite those complaints, I still am calling this project a success, because I have proudly worn this swimsuit set to the pool all summer! More so, now that I have the experience under my belt, I will probably be sewing my own swimsuits from here on out. Freedom from ever having to go swimsuit shopping, again? yes, please.