Want to replicate your swimwear easily? First find a swimsuit that has a great cut/fit, one that you don’t mind cutting up.
Next gather your supplies before getting started!
Some of the things I found very useful: Fine needles, you will be pinning a lot. Ball point stretch machine needles, you don’t want skipped stitches. Serrated scissors, swimsuit knits and tricot are slippery and you will need clean cuts. Marking tools, seam gage and elastic made just for swimwear found at any big box sewing shop (aka cotton elastic).
Now that you have all of your supplies test those stretch stitches, size and length. I used a small zig zag stitch. It holds a good amount of stretch without popping seams, give your test fabric a good pull, look and listen.
Be prepared to use an entire spool on a little swimsuit.
Next, making a pattern from the existing swimsuit, I cut the swimsuit in half down the center, keep existing part to look at in case I get confused(lets call it the directions). For the other half of the old suit I use as my pattern pieces, cutting all of the seams in the ditches and then add my seam allowances later with my seam gage, no seam ripping.
I write on all off my pattern pieces like on readymade patterns, cut 2 bodice, cut 1 back on fold. When laying and cutting on the new fabric get your pattern pieces to lay is flat as possible. See where I added my half inch seam allowances?
You must sew your lining to every singe piece, this is called underling. I used a red tricot lining for this swimsuit. Pin every inch so no puckers or tucks occur, pictured below.
Tip, your machine may try to eat corners if you start stitching on them. Start in the center of the side, don’t back stitch and pull on your two tail strings for the first two stitches so no nesting can occur.
Next is the fun part! Constructing, here is where it starts looking like a swimsuit.
The last chore is adding elastic to every edge. It gets sewn twice, hence using all that thread. I sewed mine on the inside edges, then flipped it in again, topstitching on the outside of the suit with my zigzag stitch. No puckering on the outside of my suit this way.
Still not sure, play make pretend with your pins, it’s much easier than seam ripping.
I got lucky here, although I have a few swimsuits under my belt as well as teaching them. Practice and be easy on yourself. My first swimsuit was too big. My second one fit, although I pulled the elastic to tight across my chest making little puckers.
Next, try on the suit, this is the scary part.
I didn’t like how thick the straps lay across my chest. I folded them in half with a few fast stitches.
Professional photos by Sarah Babcock Studios
Modeling, the beautiful Philomela
Thank you for reading!