DIY Swimsuits! 4 Tops, 3 Bottoms, 12 Different Swimsuits!
This week is Spring Break for us here in the desert and Summer will be here before we know it. I don't want to be scrambling last minute to find a proper fitting swim suit. I also don't want to pay a fortune for one. For the past 3 or more summers I have just made do with whatever I could find to wear in the pool with my boys; running shorts, a sports tank, old mismatched swimsuits, old shirts and sports bras. You name it, I probably swam in it. This summer I don't want not having anything to wear in the pool keep me from playing with my kids. I am determined that this will be the year I make my own swimsuit.
Let me start off by saying I have ZERO experience sewing with swim fabric. I have never made a swim suit. I needed a swimsuit pattern that would give me a lot of mix and match options. I went to my favorite indie pattern companies and looked at some patterns. I like indie pattern companies due to the fact that most of them show normal woman modeling the pattern. Real "Non-photo shopped" people modeling the things they made for themselves. Seeing pictures from other sewists gives you a pretty good idea of how it will fit you. The Oasis Swimsuit by Ellie and Mac fit the bill right off. It has options for two and one piece suits, and it looks really simple and straight forward.
Then I saw the Ellie and Mac Waterfall Swim Suit and loved it too. Since the Oasis gave me more than enough options I thought the Waterfall would be a perfect addition as well. It was a buy one get one sale on the website when I purchased these so it was kind of a no-brainer to get them both. I think I purchased both for right around $6. These are pdf patterns and need to be printed either at home or a copy shop. I like putting them together so I just print them at home on my regular printer.
I wanted to get started on my project the first second I got free. I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money on essentially a practice project, since this was my first time making a swim suit. So I made a quick run to SAS Fabrics Tempe and found some sport Lycra and swim elastic perfect for my project for right around $30. Then I printed out my swim patterns and taped them together in no time at all. That's the great thing about printing swimsuit patterns, they take up hardly any paper.
I had heard so many other sewists say that sewing swim bottoms is really easy. I decided to start there. I cut out two of the High Waist Waterfall Bottoms in a size large. I followed the directions exactly and they went together perfect! I love the fit. I have lost about 5 lbs since I made them, so I expect them to be a bit big once they get wet. They are so easy to make though, I wont mind making a few more pairs.
**Things I’d change: Go with the smaller size. I usually size up when I’m in between sizes, but because this gets wet, I think my best bet would be to size down. Maybe use a little thicker elastic in the waist.
Next, I made the Oasis Bikini top. It has a really cute strap option that crosses over in the back with longer straps you can wrap around to the front. However, for my first swim top I went with the more simple sporty view. Just for a heads up to anyone who get this pattern. There isn’t a pattern piece for the straps, neck binding and hem binding. The measurements are listed on the top pattern piece. I really appreciate not having to put together a pattern piece for simple things like that. I just wish it would mention in the instructions to do that. I always forget to look at the other pattern pieces for those smaller pattern piece measurements. Other than the fact that I really need to work on my top stitching, I really liked how it turned out. Not too bad for my first swim top EVER! **Things I’d change: #1 it would be better with a thicker material so the whole world cant tell if I’m cold. #2 Use a twin needle rather than zig-zag stitch. #3 Do the cute strap wrap version. I seriously wish I would have just done it.
Next, I cut out and made two Halter Top options of the Oasis Swim Suit. I made them both exactly the same way. I didn’t want to make a one piece though so I used the back and the hem binding from the bikini top and just put it together how I thought it should go on the halter top. I didn’t like how the zig-zag stitching looked on the previous top so I opted instead for a twin needle. I like that look much better and I feel like it gives me plenty of stretch. This top went together so fast. I was thinking of all the different ways I could hack it as I was sewing. For the blue top I ended up doing a small stitch in the middle to hold the two bust cups in place.
**Things I’d change: #1 Because this is meant to be a one piece I should have taken a few inches off the length. The way I made it gives more coverage like a tankini top. I like it but I think I may take a few inches off the blue one and add a cute ruffle under the hem binding. #2 Add 1/4″ elastic to the top of the back piece and maybe to the front v-neck cross over area to hold it in place better. I’m super flat chested so I need all the help I can get to make my swim suit stay in place.
Because both swim suit patterns come with bottoms I wanted to see the difference between them. Above are the Oasis swim bottoms I made to go with the Oasis halter top. I really liked these as well. The waist is a little bit lower than the high waist Waterfall ones I made in black fabric. Both bottoms give great coverage but I feel like the Waterfall ones cover more of my booty. Neither of them gave me wedgies so that’s a huge win!! **Things I’d change: NOTHING! These bottoms are my most favorite!
The Waterfall Top was probably the easiest to sew but it was the most intimidating to me. It’s the "off the shoulder" elastic kind of top. I can't seem to get the elastic quite right. I made it in about 30 min, but the elastic was too big so I picked it out, took off 3 inches and sewed it back on. It’s still not quite right but it’s cute and I'll wear it anyway.
**Things I’d change: #1 Size down. As I mentioned before I’m super flat chested so I think it would be a good idea. #2 Use a wider elastic around the top. I think that may help it lay a little better.
If anyone has any tips to help me, I’ll gladly take them. Overall, I’m really happy with this little experiment in swim suit sewing. I thought it was fairly easy and quite rewarding. Two summers ago I ALMOST spent $150 on two swim tops and one bottom. This year I spent about $40 on supplies and have 12 different suits to wear. I compiled all my combos throughout this post. Next time I may splurge a little and get some super cute Sport Lycra. I think I need a bit more practice first.
I think these patterns may still be on sale. You can check out Ellie and Mac swimsuit patterns here. I'm not and affiliate or anything I just really like their patterns.
Good luck with all your summer plans whatever they may be. Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite swimsuit pattern. I'm always up for trying a new one and I have a few on my list right now.Happy sewing my friends!!Koe
- Swimsuit Pattern (https://www.ellieandmac.com/collections/adult-swimwear)
- Sports Lycra (SAS Fabrics)
- Braided or Clear elastic for swimwear (SAS Fabrics)
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