Swimsuits Part 2: a pattern for bikini bottoms

These are the pieces of my pattern for high waisted bikini bottoms:

The pattern comes in two sizes: “small” (24-30″ waist, 33-38″ bottom) and “large” (28-36″ waist, 36-46″ bottom). I don’t think these sizes correspond very well to standard sizes, they’re just the two sizes I have my pattern in. Use the measurements above, or the more detailed measurements bellow to figure out which size is better for you. To use the pattern just click on each of these pictures and keep clicking until you get the full size image. Print it out, check that the 1″ mark really is 1″, tape the pieces together at the stars and dots, and cut out your swimsuit.

Swimsuits are stretchy, and these two standard sizes will fit a range of people pretty well, but I always adjust them to more closely fit the person they’re for. To do this you will need these measurements.

1. Waist. Measure where you want the top of the swimsuit to be. For this high waisted style that will be your natural waist, somewhere near your belly button.
2. Bottom. Measure around the largest part of your lower body.
3. Thigh. Measure around the top of your thigh.
4. Side height. The length you want the side to be, from the edge of the leg opening to the waist.
5. Front length. From the waist in front to crotch center.
6. Back length. From the waist in back to crotch center.

Next, scale those numbers for swimsuit fabric. Swimsuit fabric is stretchy, and you want the swimsuit to stretch a bit when you wear it. This will help it stay on and keep it from sagging in an unflattering way. Your swimsuit should be at 10% – 30% smaller than you. All of the swimsuits shown here are on the 10% end, because we’re not fans of the skin-tight slightly squished look a smaller swimsuit gives, but we’re also not serious swimmers. A tighter swimsuit is more secure. For a splashing around in the ocean swimsuit, multiply all your measurements by 0.9; for a looking-cute-while-swimming suit, multiply by 0.8; for a bikini you can dive in, multiply by 0.7 and take the elastic option whenever there’s a choice of how to finish an edge.

Using your adjusted measurements, make sure that the pattern measurements match your measurements. Modify the pattern as needed, keeping in mind that it will stretch more over your bottom, while the elastic or waist band can bring it in slightly at the waist (my measurements are waist 25″, bottom 38″ and the size small fits me perfectly).

The pattern measurements for the size small are approximately:

1. 27″
2. 33″
3. 16″
4. 8″
5. 10″
6. 11″

For the large:

1. 29″
2. 36″
3. 17″
4. 9″
5. 10″
6. 12″

Next: sewing together your bikini bottoms.

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