How to Sew a Swimming Suit

How to Sew a Swimming Suit
Sewing your own swimming suit can be a rewarding project for an intermediate sewer or a beginning sewer ready for a challenge. While the project itself is simple, working with a stretchy fabric such as the Lycra or activewear knits can be difficult. Once you master working with a different fabric, however, you can create a swimming suit that fits your style, needs and body type.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring tape Scissors Swimsuit pattern 3/4 yard stretchy Lycra fabric Pins Stretch sewing machine needle Sewing machine Thread Elastic
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Swimsuit pattern
  • 3/4 yard stretchy Lycra fabric
  • Pins
  • Stretch sewing machine needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Elastic
Step 1
Consider your swimsuit needs. Will you be using it to sunbathe? For recreational swimming? For exercise or training?
Step 2
Find a style for your swimming suit based on the needs you addressed in Step 1. Some sites, such as BurdaStyle (see Resources), offer free swimsuit patterns you can print and cut out.
Step 3
Take bust, waist and hip measurements. If making a swimsuit for a man, measure the waist and the length from waist to knee.
Step 4
Cut out your pattern pieces, making sure that you're cutting the fabric along the correct grain. If you're using Lycra, you'll need to lay out the fabric and determine which direction---lengthwise or crosswise---will allow for the most stretch when the garment is wrapped around your body. Cut along this grain.
Step 5
Swap out your sewing machine needle for a stretch sewing machine needle.
Step 6
Switch your machine's stitch length to the shortest setting. This will ensure your seams don't break when the fabric stretches to fit.
Step 7
Generously pin together your pattern pieces, with the right sides facing each other, according to your pattern's directions. If making a woman's suit, you should have two bodice pieces as well as a few lining pieces. If making a man's swimming suit, you should have four panels, two for the front and two for the back of the suit, plus a few lining pieces.
Step 8
Sew the lining pieces first. Insert any bra cups or support items your suit may require into the lining.
Step 9
Sew the lining to your outside pieces.
Step 10
Sew your outside pieces together with right sides facing each other.
Step 11
Hem your swimming suit by turning up the edges of the fabric by about 1/2 inch and pinning. Sew down the edges.
Step 12
If putting an elastic waistband on a man's suit, fold over another 2 inches on the top of the shorts and pin and sew this edge down. Make sure to leave a 2-inch opening. Insert your elastic through the 2-inch opening, and sew the two ends of the elastic together. Sew shut the opening.
Step 13
If putting elastic into a woman's suit, fold the Lycra fabric over the elastic, pin them together and use a zig-zag stitch along the edge to secure the elastic.
Step 14
Clip any excess strands.

Tips & Warnings

 
Always make sure to pin generously, as this will prevent your fabric from slipping and sliding around your machine. When sewing, gently push your fabric through the machine with a hand at each side of the fabric. Do not tug or pull at the fabric, as this could cause the knit to distort.
 
Always make sure to pin generously, as this will prevent your fabric from slipping and sliding around your machine.
 
When sewing, gently push your fabric through the machine with a hand at each side of the fabric. Do not tug or pull at the fabric, as this could cause the knit to distort.

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