This week I’m going to share some of my favourite Swimwear Sewing Tips! I sew A LOT of swimwear, and *whispers* it’s my favourite thing to sew– but bras are a close second! And to be fair to my bra sewing – most of my bathing suits have bras in them!
So this post is all about my 5 Top Tips for sewing swimwear, some of these are collected from my past posts, and some of them are just little tips that haven’t mentioned yet. Here we go!
1. Quality Thread
When I was a kid, my mom made all my bathing suits, and I remember pulling my bathing suit out of my drawer a couple months after summer, (usually right before I needed it to go somewhere) and hearing the little ping of sad and worn out thread snapping in a million little places as I tested the leg elastic. The thread was always the first to go- thread, elastic, and then the fabric.
One thing that I’ve discovered that has completely changed my sewing is high-quality thread. It works better in your machine, it looks better, and it lasts SO much longer. For swimwear I recommend polyester thread (since cotton will hold moisture), and specifically I use the Mara 120 thread from Gütermann, which is an industrial polyester thread. I also use it on all my bras too- once you get the luxury of nice thread, well you just can’t go back!
I will be selling this thread very soon in my Etsy Shop!!
2. Binding Edge
This is a real favourite of mine. I find so often swimwear is always the same type of edge sewn with elastic- which is great- but sometimes for a really neat finish- you can’t beat binding. Binding is great if you want an edge that is not too tight- like if you’re making a more cheeky style bottom (or even if you’ve tried on your suit and find that it’s just a little too tight for you around the legs or waist like I did with this navy medium rise bottom!)
It’s also great when you’re working with foam to reduce bulk, and when you’re working with a variable neckline (the top of a round cup- over channeling, around to the back)! Like in this bra bathing suit.
Apart from these reasons, it’s also fantastic to add a little pop and coordinate your colours like I did on my most recent suit- that nice little black edge!
3. Put your Bra in your Bathing Suit
This is an Emerald Erin classic. Nothing feels as good as a bra in your swimsuit- no worrying about your nipples showing, it’s way more flattering, and feels so much more secure on.
There are so many ways that you can put a bra into a bathing suit:
like simply making your bra with foam and swimwear and wearing it as your bikini top (I have some tips on working with foam and bras here)
But you can also make a one-piece with cups which is oh-so-cute! Tutorial here!
Or you can turn your bra into a tankini using this tutorial here!
4. Use Elastic in your Swimwear Straps & Strings!
I’ve seen a lot of bikinis where the string is simply a tube of swimwear fabric. The problem I find with this is: it’s not feel very secure on your body unless you pull them REALLY tight, and then if you do pull them REALLY tight- chances are you’re going to snap some of the threads holding them together. I much prefer to use a 3/8″ all-rubber swim elastic and wrap it in my swimwear. They feel SO secure, and with the strength of the elastic, you know you’ll never just completely pull them out- they bounce back!
I know two good ways to sew your swimwear strings! And I did a tutorial on them here 🙂
5. Take Care of your Swimwear!
This seems obvious, but I’m still a victim. One story comes to mind- over a year ago now I was heading to California for a vacation to visit family. I had made a cute bathing suit– a bralette style top with a cool pattern with bright neon coral, and neon coral bottoms to match. I was in the hotel – flight leaving in the morning- and we were all ‘let’s jump in the hot tub’…. you can see where this is going. About 5 minutes into the hot tub time, I look down to see that all of the neon coral in my swim top is now purple, and I got out to realize that a similar effect happened to my bottoms. Only the bottoms were solid neon coral before, and now they were a faded neon coral anywhere they were tight and touching my skin, but anywhere there were they weren’t (think a strip up the center back) was now a murky purple colour.
That concluded in a very disappointed me, doing a midnight run to the closest/cheapest spot I could find for a plain pair of black bottoms.
So what I have learned is: DO NOT wear your beautifully hand-crafted swimwear in a hot tub (especially not a hotel hot tub), rinse you’re bathing suit immediately after being in chlorine to help save the elastic for longer, and don’t throw your bathing suits in the washing machine- gentle soaps, and let it air dry!
So those are my Top 5 Tips!
What are your favourite tips for sewing swimwear?
Talk to me in the comments!