Summer is not over, yet! I made another swimsuit with stripes that match up and look really cool and professional.

Matching stripes is not as hard as it may look. I will walk you through a few simple tips for successful stripe matching. Please remember that learning is a process and failures lead to success. I know if I mess up I can always make more. With this mindset we can make paying attention to fine detail a little less stressful.

For this project I started with one of the most easy and basic swimsuit patterns I could find. After a massive fabric search fail I asked fellow designer, Amber Walker, to bring me something back from her trip to NYC.

I always trace swimwear patterns out onto tracing paper instead of cutting the original paper pattern. Swimwear does not have a lot of pieces so it goes quick. Tracing paper allows that if I make the wrong size I can always trace out a new one. Fitting swimwear differs from stretch fabric to stretch fabric. A stretchier knit will come out looser than a thick knit.














The front and the back of this pattern were much the same. Label all of your pieces for this reason.

The suit started out as two pattern pieces. To play with the stripes I need to make the center cut on a fold seam and make it a regular seam and then add seam allowance.

To get separate pieces lined up on a 45 degree angle I laid the front to the back pattern pieces and cut the diagonal lines on both at once. I also wrote a note on the transferred pattern piece to add my seam allowance since that will now be a seam too. Now my suit is eight pieces and it is time to start the puzzle.

I used my walking foot and some swimwear elastic I bought. If you are just starting a simple sig zag stitch on a regular sewing machine will work just fine.

I knew this project was going to go slow and take most of my day so I cut all the pieces out the day before. The best way to cut stripes is to cut one piece out at a time. I cut my bodice front left side and then used that cut piece to cut an exact front bodice right side by lying the stripes on the same print. Then I did this same thing with all eight pieces. It’s more time consuming than challenging.

I test the pieces by pinning them all together and checking that I did it correctly. Nothing has been sewn yet.

I serged all of the front pieces and then all of the back pieces. See how my pins are vertical. This keeps me from breaking my cutter on the serger.

Extra Tip
If I were to do this again I would take the time to baste stitch all of the pieces together first. The serger has a way of pushing the pieces in the top layer and pulling the pieces on the layer closest to your feed dogs. This messes up the stripe.


To get the lining pieces I pinned front and back to the lining power mesh fabric. The center seam I added was a little bulky so I pinned that down. Getting it to lay flat took a while.

Baste stitch the lining pieces to the front and back separately before sewing the sides together. It is so much easier to sew a flat surface.

More tips. Lining up the sides. To get a good stripe match peek just a bit to see they’re lined up and pin the heck out of it.

Sew all of the elastic on according to the pattern directions. After posting a picture of my stiped fun someone told me the suit looked similar to Barbies first swim suit.  I love Barbie and I really enjoyed making this suit.

Behind the scenes~

Did you know I have dresses for sale at Clash in the Oregon District. Most are priced to sell. This one is a 60s mod design made of silk.

Collecting vintage patterns? I’ve had my Etsy shop since 2009.




















Thank you for reading,
Tracy McElfresh
Dream it, Sew it!




Tracy McElfresh
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