Updated: Apr 25
As we plan to re-enter the world of water, whether a backyard pool or a beach vacation its the perfect time for new swimwear. Sewing classes are on the calendar and here is a list of fabric stores that sell the best swimwear fabrics and notions to make your own.
When considering a pattern, look at designs that you are familiar and comfortable with. If you look at swimsuits that you've worn in the past, consider a similar design whether one piece or two piece, especially if you're making one for the first time. When selecting fabrics, consider your design and ensure the fabric will give you the results desired.
We recommend fabrics made from nylon, with at least 10-20% Lycra or spandex. You can also look for polyester blends with the same percentage of spandex. Print or solids, fabrics come in various weights - look for something that fits your design and desire. This fabric will come in 50"-60" wide.
Boardcloth fabric can be used for men's swim trunks. Polyester microfiber is generally what is considered as swim trunk fabric you'll find in board shorts at the store. It's typically 58″ (150cm) wide; sometimes it is also treated with water repellant.
Swimsuit lining can be made from nylon tricot fabrics - typically with 20% stretch in solid colors. Tricot fabric has a unique weave that allows it to be smooth on one side, with texture on the other side. This allows the fabric to be sturdy, yet soft. Power Mesh is a lining alternative that will double for support in certain areas of the swim suit. Knit Interfacing is also recommended in some swimsuit patterns for stabilization.
Foam for Cups:
Cut & sew foam suitable for bra-making goes by a few different terms. Foam (or padding) can have either a brushed or satin tricot finish on the outside. Sometimes they have some spandex/lycra content for a little bit of “give”. They can be anywhere from 2-5mm thick (usually around 1/8″), and some are spongier than others. Cups can be made from cut/sew foam where you make it yourself with no seam allowance and zig-zag stitching by butting the edges together, or you can purchase ready-made molded cups in various sizes and shapes.
Rubber Elastic is most popular to make your own swimsuit. Its water resistant and keeps your swimsuit in quality condition as it's worn. Rubber elastic comes in 1/4" and 3/8" used for necklines, armholes and legs of the swimsuit.
"S" or "G" hooks are designed for closures and make opening and closing easy for two-piece or one-piece suits. Hooks come in plastic and metal materials and various sizes to match your design.
Power Mesh is an alternative for lining that will provide support in desired areas of the swimsuit like the bra cups or front tummy of the bottoms.
Swimwear is best sewn using polyester thread and when available a serger is nice to use. Stretch needles are needed and zig-zag stitches are used as directed by the pattern and on top of elastics.
***ALWAYS MAKE A MUSLIN***
Fit to be Tyed - Rad Patterns on Etsy.com
Bralettes into swim tops!
Enjoy your swimwear-making journey - feel free to ask questions and visit the resources linked here to learn more.
Thanks for the love - Nikki