I spent all day Sunday making swimsuits, with help from Rosalie and Prima (and will probably be spending most of my time making swimsuits for the next couple of weeks). Making swimsuits is not as hard as it sounds, and very rewarding – you get the swimsuit you want. One that fits well and covers what you want to cover and shows what you want to show. It’s no more work than a dress and a fun thing to add to your repertoire.
There are several steps that might be confusing to a new sewer, and I’d like to go over them in more detail than I sometimes do, so I’m going to break this into a few posts. To begin with, lets talk about the fabric. You really want spandex. It holds its shape when wet, is easy to move in when you’re swimming, and holds up pretty well in chlorine. If you’re just going to be lounging on the beach you can use whatever fabric you want, but if you want to swim in your suit, it’s worth getting material designed for that purpose.
One lucky day I found a bolt of swimsuit fabric at one of my local fabric stores, and I hope that you will also be so lucky. When I’m not I order it online. There are a few Etsy sellers who carry it, although the only one I’ve ever purchased from has closed. Mostly I buy from Spandex World, which has a $20 minimum order, but a huge selection of swimsuit fabric. I like the milliskin matte fabric, which is somewhat less shiny than ordinary spandex. If you’re trying to fill up a $20 order, it’s nice to have mesh lining fabric, but if you’re buying from your local fabric store and they don’t have any don’t worry about it – you can always line with your main fabric.
When your fabric arrives be sure to wash and dry it the way your usually launder your swimsuits.
You will also need matching thread, 3 yards of 1/8 inch elastic (more for larger sizes), and may want some of those molded bust pads that many swimsuits have.
Next: A pattern for bikini bottoms.
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