How to Make Swimsuit Coverups

How to Make Swimsuit Coverups
This swimsuit coverup is basically a strapless tube of lightweight cotton fabric. Machine-smocking the top section of the coverup makes it gather up to fit around the chest. You could use pre-smocked fabric but machine smocking is easier than it looks and enables you to use any cotton fabric you like. The same basic pattern and technique applies to a full-length cover-up or a short one, and can fit any size from a small child to plus-sizes. The depth of the smocking band is entirely up to you. Because the smocking is stretchy, the cover up can be worn as a dress or pulled down around the hips as a skirt.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Making the Coverup

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cotton fabric Sewing machine Elastic thread Regular cotton thread Scissors Pins Tape measure Iron
  • Cotton fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Elastic thread
  • Regular cotton thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Tape measure
  • Iron
Step 1
Measure around the widest part of your bust and hips. Take the larger of these two measurements and double it-this is the cut width for your fabric. Measure from your armpit to the level where you want the hem to fall. Add 3 inches-this is the cut length for the fabric.
Step 2
Cut the fabric to size, then fold it in half lengthwise with the right sides of the fabric together. Sew a 1/2 inch seam along the cut edges, then press this seam open.
Step 3
Fold the top edge of the tube over to the wrong side of the fabric by 1/2 an inch, then by 1 inch. Press, pin and sew this hem. Repeat this for the bottom hem. You should now have a large rectangular tube of fabric with finished edges.
Step 4
Wind the elastic thread onto the lower bobbin for your sewing machine by hand. Wind it loosely without stretching the thread. Do not use the machine's bobbin-winding mechanism to do this-it is important to take the time to wind it by hand. Load the bobbin into the sewing machine, keep regular thread at the top and pull long tails of both threads through before you start sewing.
Step 5
Change the stitch length to the longest setting. Line the presser foot up next to the row of stitches along the top hem, on the right side of the fabric. Backstitch for about an inch, then sew a line of straight stitches parallel to the top hem around the entire fabric tube. When you reach the starting point again, backstitch, leave a long tail of both threads and cut the threads.
Step 6
Repeat this with another row of stitches parallel to the first row, and continue in this manner until the smocked section is as deep as you want it to be. Use the presser foot as a guide for the spacing of the rows of stitches, smooth the fabric out if it starts to gather, and be careful not to sew over the long thread tails you left.
Step 7
Take the long elastic tails at the beginning and end of each row of stitches and tie them together securely with three or four knots. This holds the rows of smocking stitches in place. Trim the regular thread tails. Gently press the smocked section with the steam setting on the iron and it should gather up evenly.

Tips & Warnings

 
Purchase pre-smocked fabric to make the job easier. Check the tension of your smocking stitches on a test piece of fabric first and adjust it as necessary. Use stretchy French Terry cloth fabric for an absorbent version of the coverup. If you want to add straps, just stitch some seamed strips of fabric to the inside of the top edge-you could stitch them in place at the back too, or leave the straps loose to tie behind the neck for a halter-style.
 
Purchase pre-smocked fabric to make the job easier.
 
Check the tension of your smocking stitches on a test piece of fabric first and adjust it as necessary.
 
Use stretchy French Terry cloth fabric for an absorbent version of the coverup.
 
If you want to add straps, just stitch some seamed strips of fabric to the inside of the top edge-you could stitch them in place at the back too, or leave the straps loose to tie behind the neck for a halter-style.

Article Written By J.C. Lewis

J.C. Lewis is the editor and co-owner of a weekly newspaper, as well as a staffer and regular contributor to a group of three newspapers in Los Angeles, Calif. Her writing has appeared on USAToday.com, Hotels.com and various other websites. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Science in politics from the University of Bristol, England.

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