Hayley from Welcome to the Mouse House shows you how to turn a t-shirt into a cute swimsuit coverup for your summertime pool or beach visits! The coverup is both easy and inexpensive to make. You probably remember Hayley from her sweet Sydney Pinafore and the Spring Bird Embroidery. Learn more about Hayley’s work in her introduction, and visit her blog, Facebook page and Etsy shop too!
Hey guys! I am Hayley from Welcome to the Mouse House and I am very excited to be back at Sew,Mama,Sew! for a fun and easy swimsuit coverup tutorial.
We are headed to the beach for a family vacation soon and I realized that I didn’t have any appropriate swimsuit coverups, so I decided to whip a couple up using old t-shirts that were just taking up room in my closet. Both t-shirts were way too big for me and they were just the right length for what I needed. Go ahead… Grab an old shirt from your closet (or your husband’s) and make some swimsuit coverups for yourself!
Let’s start with the fun orange/coral shirt first!
For this project, you will need:
- Too long/too big t-shirt
- Elastic (I used 1/4 inch)
- Single fold bias tape
- Jersey ballpoint needles
Because everyone is obviously going to be different sizes, you will have to get out the old measuring tape and determine your own lengths.
First, let’s determine how long to cut the bias tape. The bias tape will be used as the casing for your elastic. You will measure across the t-shirt where you want your elastic to go. I chose to have the elastic go above my natural waist to create an empire waistline. My t-shirt was 17 inches across, so I doubled that and then added one more inch. My total length for the bias tape was 35 inches. This allows you to fold one end of the bias tape under 1/2 inch and it allows another 1/2 inch of wiggle room since your shirt will likely stretch slightly as you start sewing.
Cut your bias tape according to those measurements above. Fold one end under 1/2 inch.
Turn your t-shirt inside out.
Starting from the middle back, pin your bias tape all the way around the inside of the t-shirt, overlapping the folded edge of bias tape over the raw edge of bias tape.
Sew both sides of the bias tape to the inside of the t-shirt.
This is what it will look like on the inside of the shirt:
And this is what it will look like on the outside of the shirt:
Now, let’s move on to the elastic. Grab your measuring tape and get the measurements around where you plan to have the elastic. My measurements were 28 inches, so I cut my elastic to 26.5 inches. You want the elastic to be snug, but not uncomfortable.
Attach your elastic to a safety pin and feed it through the opening left in your bias tape (the middle back where you overlapped the folded edge and raw edge of the bias tape).
Feed the elastic all the way around, attach the ends of the elastic and then close up your opening with a few top stitches).
This is what you will now have on the outside:
You could of course leave it like that or create a fun neckline like I did. Cut another piece of elastic that will now go vertically. I cut mine to 2.5 inches, but if you need longer, please do so!
On the inside of your shirt, pin the elastic at the bottom of the neck line to almost above the bias tape and sew it to the shirt using a zig zag stitch, pulling the elastic as you go.
And you are finished with this one!
Let’s try a different variation now. This shirt was just overall too big and ill-fitting, so I decided to create a more form-fitting coverup.
In order to create the plunging neckline, cut a deep slit into the front middle, fold under each side to create a “v” and finish off the inside edges with bias tape. Top stitch.
You can use that same technique for creating slits at each side of the bottom portion of the shirt. Finish off the edges with either a serger or bias tape.
Now, you need to create a more form-fitting shirt. To do this, turn the shirt inside out, try it on and pin the seams where you want it to curve in. I wanted my sleeves to be smaller and the waist to be much smaller, so I pinned quite far in. Remove the shirt and sew where necessary and tie off any loose serger threads.
This will create a much more flattering, fitted coverup!