Laura from My Little Nook joins us today with this fabulous Swimsuit Pattern + Tutorial to kick off our month of Summer Sewing! This could be the summer of your perfect swimsuit! Laura shows you how to create the right fit for your body in this classic swimsuit look. Learn more about Laura in her introduction (be sure to take a look at some of her recent sewing). Today’s suit pattern is offered in US sizes 6-12 (EU 36-42), but you can comment on Laura’s blog and she could be persuaded to offer additional sizes on her site a little later this summer! Download your Swimsuit Pattern + Instructions PDF and get started, and join us in extending a big thanks to Laura for helping us create our own perfect suit.

First download your free Swimsuit Pattern + Instructions PDF. All of the pattern pieces for the bikini bottoms (with a test square for printing) are in the PDF, with instructions for taking your own measurements and drafting your own bikini top. Laura then shows you, step-by-step, how to sew it all together in today’s post.

Supplies + Materials:

  • Lycra: cca. 0.6 yd or 0.5 m
  • Lining (nylon tricot or self fabric): 0.6 yd or 0.5 m
  • Rubber elastic 5/16” or 8 mm wide: 4.4-6.5 yd or 4.0-6.0 m
  • Elastic 1/8” or 4 mm wide: cca. 8” or 20 cm
  • Plastic “sew-in” boning 1/4” or 6 mm wide: 8” or 20 cm
  • Organza/organza ribbon 5/16” or 8 mm wide: 4-12” or 10-30 cm
  • Clasp closure

Bathing Suit Sewing Instructions

1. Lay pattern pieces on fabric and lining and cut. Place lining on fabric, wrong sides together. Retrace elastic placement marks on lining, as marked on pattern AND 3/8” or 1 cm down from upper edge of both top and bottom front. Retrace organza placement marks on lining.

2. Bottom front: Cut 3-1/8” or 8 cm long elastic, 1/8” or 4 mm wide. Mark two lines, 1-1/2” or 3.8 cm apart for Size 6 (36).

Size 8 (38): 1-5/8” or 4.1 cm
Size 10 (40): 1-3/4” or 4.4 cm
Size 12 (42): 1-7/8” or 4.8 cm

3. Pin together fabric and lining. Align marks on lining and elastic and pin on both ends.

4. Set your machine to a zig-zag stitch, 1/8” or 3 mm wide and 1/16” or 1.5 mm long. Start stitching elastic on top edge and stitch 3/8” or 1 cm without stretching. Stretch elastic (hold it on both ends)-– fabric underneath must not be wrinkled-– and stitch to the second mark. Set length of the stitch to 0 and make a few stitches to secure the seam. Trim elastic on both sides.

5. Top front: Cut elastic 1-5/8” or 4 cm longer than your (A to I) measurement. Mark two lines, (A to I) apart.* Pin together fabric and lining. Align marks on lining and elastic and pin on both ends.

*If e.g. your (A to I) = 2” or 5 cm, the elastic should be 1-5/8” or 4 cm longer than that, and the marks on it should be 2” or 5 cm apart.

6. Do the same as in Step 4.

7. Stitch side seams (with a wide zig-zag stitch, “overlock” stitch or a real overlock machine) of bottom part, right sides together. Trim seam allowances.

8. Pin crotch without lining, right sides together.

9. Turn lining inwards and pin it to already pinned crotch. The back crotch must be sandwiched between front lining and front crotch. Stitch.

10. This is what inner side of crotch should look like.

11. Measure total waist and cut rubber elastic (5/16” or 8 mm wide) 3/4” or 2 cm shorter. 3/4” or 2 cm are used for overlap: 3/8” or 1 cm on each end.

DON’T use clear elastic for this as it is too thin and wrinkles. I used it because I couldn’t find rubber elastic in our stores.

12. Stretch the elastic evenly and pin it to the wrong side of the waist. Elastic should overlap somewhere in the back. Side seam allowances should be folded to the back.

13. Stitch elastic close to the edge with a wide zig-zag stitch. Stretch elastic evenly while being stitched.

14. Fold over and restitch (start stitching on the left side seam) with a zig-zag stitch 1/8” or 3 mm wide and 1/16” or 1.5 mm long.

15. Measure leg opening and cut rubber elastic 1/4” or 0.6 cm shorter. 3/4” or 2 cm are used for overlap: 3/8” or 1 cm on each end. Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the leg opening. On the front leg line the elastic should remain unstretched. On the back leg line stretch the elastic evenly. Elastic should overlap in the lined part of the crotch. Stitch elastic close to the edge with a wide zig-zag stitch. Stretch elastic evenly while being stitched (except on the front leg line). Fold over and restitch (start stitching in the lined part of the crotch) with a zig-zag stitch 1/8” or 3 mm wide and 1/16” or 1.5 mm long. Repeat for the other leg opening.

16. Fold the strip for straps lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch a tube with one end opened and the other closed, as shown in the picture. Trim seam allowances and turn inside out with the help of a knitting needle.

17. Repeat for the other neck strap. This is what you get.

18. Stitch side seams (with a wide zig-zag stitch, “overlock” stitch or a real overlock machine) of top part, right sides together.

19. Cut two “stays” 3-5/8” or 9 cm long from plastic “sew-in” boning. Cut one end of each “stay” on an angle, as show in the picture. The short edges are sharp, so you have to melt all of them with a lighter or a candle, or they will eventually tear your fabric.

20. Place the “stays” on the side seam allowances 5/8” or 1.5 cm up from the lower edge. Sew them in with a wide zig-zag stitch. Fold the seam allowances to the front.

21. Cut 5/16” or 8 mm wide organza ribbon (or just organza fabric) to a double length of your (A to J) measurement. Pin the ribbon to the lower edge of the top, from one mark for the organza placement (J) to the other. The fabric under the ribbon must not be wrinkled. If it is, just pin it again, while making the fabric even. Just make sure the ribbon ends in the same place on both sides. Stitch with a zig-zag stitch.

22. Measure lower edge of the top and cut elastic that long. Pin it to the wrong side, stitch with a wide zig-zag stitch, fold over, and restitch with a zig-zag stitch 1/8” or 3 mm wide and 1/16” or 1.5 mm long.

23. Measure upper edge of the top and cut elastic 2” or 5 cm shorter. Cut it in half. Start pinning one half of the elastic to the back part. Stop pinning at the side seam and just pin the other end of elastic near the center of the front top. Repeat for the other half.

24. Stretch the elastic evenly and pin it; first on one half of the top, then on the other. Stitch the elastic to the upper edge of the top with a wide zig-zag stitch. When sewing the front, stretch evenly.

25. Pin the straps 1-5/8” to 2-3/8” or 4 to 6 cm away from the side seams. Try it on and adjust to your desire. Stitch them with a wide zig-zag stitch near the edge and with a narrow zig-zag stitch 5/16” or 8 mm away from the edge, right sides together.

26. Fold over the upper edge of the top and and restitch it with a zig-zag stitch 1/8” or 3 mm wide and 1/16” or 1.5 mm long.

27. Slip the clasp closure on the open ends of the back top and fold back seam allowances (1” or 2.5 cm). Pin, try it on and adjust if necessary.

28. Stitch, first with a straight and then with a narrow zig-zag stitch 5/8” or 1.5 cm away from the edge. Trim seam allowances.

Comment on any post this week to win one of our Summer Sewing prizes! You could win a new ironing board cover from City Chic Country Mouse, a $25 gift certificate to Sew,Mama,Sew! or a copy of Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love by Hillary Lang.