Monday, 8 October 2012

A Swimming Costume!

This last week I've been slowly, carefully, finishing a UFO - a pair of linen pants - but this blog post is not about them.

This blog post is about an exciting pair of swimmers I whipped up this weekend!  WOOHOO:



I am really pleased with them, and relieved that my daughter wasn't disappointed (she selected the fabric, but given her response to recent home made clothes I thought we were in for another round of rejection):

The pattern I used was view B of KwikSew 3785, in a size XS with extra length added to the bodice. View B has a racer back, whereas view A is a tank style back.

This pattern gives very clear and articulate instructions, great for newbies to swimwear sewing (like me - I have made a child's swimsuit before, but it was a mess).  I like that the finished swimsuit using this pattern compares well to commercial ones in terms of fit and finish. My only changes were to use a slightly narrower elastic than instructed (0.6mm, which seemed consistent with my daughter's other swimsuits), and to use a twin needle to finish the hems instead of a triple step zig zag.

If you want to know all the ins and outs of designing and sewing swimwear, this specialist swimwear / dancewear site is an amazing site to visit. I also found really useful tips and photographic tutorials on Katherine's #2 blog (and I look forward to making her grown up bikini, which is downloaded and waiting!)

A couple of the things I learned in all my swimwear blog reading and in sewing up this pattern were that you really need to use flat rubber elastic for swimwear, and that you really don't need to stretch out your elastic to varying degrees on the leghole, armhole or neckhole - you can sew it in with an evenly distributed amount of stretch, as more of the stretch just gets used wherever it's needed.

racer back detail

front detail
When I was at the stage before elastic was sewn in I got my daughter to try the nearly-made swimmers on, and the fit didn't look right - the neckline was loose, and it looked like the design wasn't going to give enough bottom coverage. Both these issues were corrected once the elastic was sewn in. With the curves a lot more accentuated in adults, I'll be really interested to see if this also elastic redistribution works well on an adult swimming costume :-).

I really have to recommend this pattern. I don't think I've saved money by sewing a child's swimsuit, but if I can master swimsuit sewing skills I know I'll save myself a world of swimsuit changing room pain, and that is SUCH an attractive prospect!

See you anon,
Gabrielle x


  1. Very cute suit for a kid! The fabric choice really makes it.

  2. You are really brave tackling such a tricky fabric. I have enough trouble with twin needles on jersey! I love the fabric placement of the stripes in the front. Lovely swimsuit.

  3. This is so pretty! Thank you for the links. The result is so professional. And where did you get that fabric?! Here the only non-solid lycra is so shiny in golds, silvers etc, I should use sunglasses to sew it!

  4. The bathers look RTW ( but I mean that in a positive way :) in that they look professional !) and your daughter looks pretty happy - winner!
    Adult bathers are obscenely expensive so hopefully you can replicate this success for yourself.

  5. Well done. I love the fabric. I have found with cheap kids rtw suits in the past that they aren't very chlorine friendly and the fabric rots in no time. This is why I now make my own.

  6. Congratulations on your first set of bathers! They look so pretty! The print is completely awesome :)

  7. Excellent swimming costume (and new tooth grin).

  8. Great swimmers and so professional looking.

  9. FINALLY I've worked out how to reply to your comments - move from Mozilla to IE! Thank you all for taking the time to comment on these swimmers. My little rascal with the gap toothed smile is delighted with them and looking forward to wearing them swimming. I don't think I am quite ready yet for adult bathers though so there may need to be another kid pair soon.

    The fabric came either from Tessuti Fabrics (who have an online shop) or from the Fabric Shop (I don't remember!) - both have lovely good quality swimwear fabric but my experience has been that the Fabric Shop had a bigger range of colourful prints; of course it may depend on when you shop and if someone else has already bought all the good stuff! I think the links in the post will also point to some online shops...


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