Swimsuits part 6: variations on the bikini top

There are way too many styles of bikini top to describe them all here. I’ll stick to some simple variations of the gathered bikini I described yesterday.

Perhaps the easiest thing to add is a small strip of fabric covering the gathers. This gives the top a sort of bow shape. Cut a piece of fabric twice as wide and twice as long as you want the center of your bow to be. Fold it in half lengthwise with the right side facing in and sew up the side. Fold it right side out, wrap it around the gathers in the middle of the top, and sew up the other end.

Another easy modification is to add a more substantial back. Cut a rectangle of fabric as long as your back (accounting for the fabric stretch), and sew it to both sides of the front. Shown above with elastic straps attached in front and in back and bellow with the usual straps sewn on in front and tied as a halter. The swimsuit bellow has a tapered band (smaller in the middle, larger at the sides) rather than a simple rectangle.

IMG_5937 (1) 

A tie front is a slightly more complicated modification, but still quite manageable. I’ve sketched the shape of the front pieces. Cut two pieces in this shape from the main fabric and two more from the lining. Sew the lining to the main fabric, turn right side out, and sew to the back (or straps) as usual. Tie the front.


Next week: How to make a one piece.

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11 Responses to Swimsuits part 6: variations on the bikini top

  1. Amy says:

    I am so excited about your ideas! I also can’t wait for the one piece. :)

  2. Brody says:

    Keeping your blog up and refreshing every day so I can see the “one piece” blog and start creating my own suit! Great job.

  3. Emily says:

    I love this! I feel like my shoulders are disproportionately large compared with my body though, so I usually stay away from halters. Is there anyway to make this two strapped? Thanks!

    • Emily says:

      Oh, or strapless would be nice too! (:

      • naomi says:

        Strapless is a little bit harder, because you need everything to stay in place on its own. I actually just made a strapless swimsuit this weekend, so this has been on my mind! Again, you want a real back. It’s also a good idea to both sew in molded cups ( which will push the fabric out, so it doesn’t get all scrunched up as you move around) and use elastic along the bottom edge (to keep the whole thing in place). You could use elastic along the top as well, to make it extra secure, but I don’t like the double-boob look that sometimes gives, and I found mine was secure enough without it.

        I hope that makes sense! If you have any more questions, let me know.

    • naomi says:

      Yes. If you put in a real back (as described here for the white bikini), you can sew the straps to it. The front of the swimsuit should be just the same.

  4. Haley says:

    If I put in a real back will it come on and off okay and stay on without any kind of clasp?

    • Naomi says:

      Yes, swimsuit fabric is very stretchy – it’ll be fine. If you’re worried about everything staying put, sewing elastic into the bottom edge of the band will make it more secure. To do so, zigzag stitch the elastic to the lining along the bottom edge.

  5. Alice says:

    hi, what happened to the tie front template? maybe it’s just my computer, but I don’t see it… I was thinking about making a tie front swimsuit soon, and yours looks great! :)

  6. Lisa says:

    agreed ^^ love love love teh white tow piece!

  7. Julie says:

    Haved you attacked the tank-tini yet? I have lost over one hundred pounds and need more coverage than a one piece. I like to wear swim shorts that are longer and a tank-tini would cover the rest with out having to do the one piece and a pair of shorts.

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