Creating your own swimwear doesn’t need to be difficult! You can sew your own gorgeous swimsuit and make a splash this summer with our favourite patterns and top tips.
One of the benefits of making your own swimsuit is that you can choose your own swimsuit fabric and a pattern you love – you’ll never see anyone wearing the same swimsuit as you! If you find a swimsuit pattern that you love, you can also stitch a few in different colours (very useful for beach holidays or chilling out by the pool somewhere sunny!).
In this guide, we’ve brought together a selection of swimsuit sewing patterns so that you can find the right one for you, whatever your build.
Before you look for your new favourite swimsuit pattern, read our tips and learn how to sew swimwear fabric…
13 best swimsuit sewing patterns
One-piece swimsuit pattern with shoulder ties
We love this stylish one-piece swimsuit pattern! It includes sweet shoulder ties, which can be used to adjust the fit of the swimsuit. This swimsuit looks great when teamed up with a pair of denim shorts. This swimsuit sewing pattern comes in sizes XS to XXL, but it’s worth checking the sizing chart before you buy to check your measurements.
High-cut one-piece swimsuit with back ties
This high-cut swimsuit sewing pattern includes a lovely back tie detail, making it perfect for wearing beside the pool. As an added bonus, this pattern includes a link to a Youtube tutorial, which is very useful if you get stuck at any point! This swimsuit pattern is available in sizes XS to 3XL.
Classic one-piece swimsuit pattern
This classic one-piece swimsuit pattern is a good choice for intermediate sewers as it’s more complex than some of the other patterns we’ve chosen. This pattern designed by Rebecca Page includes power mesh for extra support and foam cups. The pattern is available in sizes XXS to 5XL and cup sizes AA to M.
Bahama mama surfsuit swimsuit pattern
Are you a keen surfer or bodyboarder? This is the swimsuit pattern for you! With its long sleeves and front zip, this swimsuit sewing pattern is a practical choice if you like to spend a lot of time in the sea or taking part in watersports. It will give you some protection from the sun’s rays and this swimsuit can also be worn underneath a wetsuit. Available in sizes XS to XXXL.
Tankini jazz swimsuit pattern
When you buy this swimsuit pattern, there are three different styles you can make: strapless, halter neck or spaghetti strap. There’s lovely ruche detailing at the front of the swimsuit and it’s fully lined.
Easy women’s swimsuit sewing pattern
If you’re looking for a simple swimsuit pattern for beginners, this is a good choice. It has an easy, classic outline that’s more straightforward to sew than some of the other patterns we’ve included. Does it remind anyone else of Baywatch? This swimsuit sewing pattern is available in six sizes and you’ll need to check the sizing chart before buying the pattern.
Säntis one-piece swimsuit pattern
Keep cool this summer with this chic 90s-inspired swimsuit! It has a scooped back and a high leg, but would be easy to adjust to suit your shape. This swimsuit sewing pattern is simple enough for a beginner to sew. It’s available in 11 different sizes – check the sizing information in the description before you buy.
Halter top swimsuit pattern
If you’re fond of halter tops, this swimsuit pattern is extremely flattering. As it ties at the neck, this swimsuit is easy to adjust for a comfortable fit. The high cut at the hips will make your legs look longer too! Available in sizes XS to 5XL.
Fit to be Tied swimsuit pattern
This tie-fronted swimsuit sewing pattern has a real retro vibe! This pattern is ideal for a beginner who is ready to try a more challenging sewing project. The pattern comes in sizes XXS to 4XL and has multiple cup size options to help you create a swimsuit that fits perfectly.
Pilatus one-piece swimsuit pattern
Look chic by the seaside with this charming one-piece Pilatus swimsuit pattern. It’s suitable for a beginner to attempt and can be whipped up in a day (or less, if you’re an experienced sewer). It’s available in a variety of sizes – please check the measurements before you buy the pattern.
The Clara one-piece swimsuit pattern
This elegant swimsuit looks beautiful in floral swimsuit fabric. It has a deep V neckline and you can make a high or low-backed version if you prefer. It also has a lining for removable cups – in case you need extra support. This swimsuit sewing pattern is available in sizes XS to 3XL.
Gina rashie swimsuit pattern
Slip this Gina rashie swimsuit on before you put on a wetsuit – it’s super comfy and looks great too! Mix and match your favourite shades to create a striking colourblock look when you stitch this pattern. Available in sizes XS to 3XL.
Reversible swimsuit pattern
When you buy this pattern, you get two for the price of one! It’s reversible, so you can choose two fabrics you love and turn it inside out whenever you want a new look. It’ll soon be your new favourite swimming costume. This pattern comes in sizes XS to XL.
Sophie Tarrant shares some top tips to help you sew using swimsuit fabric – very handy for when you make your own swimsuit pattern! These tips were first published in Simply Sewing, the bestselling craft magazine that’s packed with advice and beautiful sewing patterns to make.
Sewing experts at The Fold Line, Kate and Rachel, share their top tips for creating your own swimwear:
- “A good quality fabric is key to avoiding the material becoming transparent when wet. You also don’t want anything that will get too heavy and absorb a lot of water, such as cotton. Choose a synthetic fabric composed of nylon with a percentage of spandex or Lycra.”
- “Cutting out swimwear fabric can be tricky as it’s slippery to handle. To make this easier, cut the fabric as a single layer, rather than doubling up.”
- “When choosing notions for your swimwear sewing project, be careful to select materials that will cope with the environmental stresses of being exposed to saltwater or chlorine. Elastic with a rubber component will last much longer, as will nylon thread.
Making your own swimwear might seem daunting at first but with a few tips and tricks it’s easy to achieve your perfect swimsuit. Follow our advice and get great results, every time! Read on to learn how to sew swimwear fabric…
You Will Need
- Swimsuit fabric
- Sewing machine
- Basic sewing kit
The fabric you choose when sewing your own swimwear will make or break your project, so it’s vital you pick something suitable. We normally champion natural fabrics over man-made, but when making swimwear, the opposite is true – try to stick to synthetic fabrics instead with a high percentage of stretch, at least 10–20%. While natural fabrics like cotton look pretty, they soak up liquids easily, quickly becoming heavy and saggy – not such a great look!
Swimsuit patterns are designed with negative ease, which means that the finished garment will be made slightly smaller than your measurements so that it will stretch to fit your body. Choosing a fabric that has ample stretch is vital and ensures a comfortable fit. Two-way fabric will stretch from selvedge to selvedge but not in the direction of the grain, making it better suited for two-piece swimsuits. Four-way stretch moves in both directions, making it a much better choice for one-pieces.
It might seem obvious but one of the main questions to ask of your swimwear fabric is whether it’s waterproof or not. Take a swatch of your chosen material and drop it in a bowl of warm water. Does the colour run? If so, it might not be suitable for swimwear. Nobody wants to accidentally dye the pool a strange colour! Next, pull the fabric out – has it soaked up and retained lots of water, or does the liquid roll off? The ideal swimwear fabric repels water and doesn’t soak it up.
Another important test to run on your fabric is how it behaves when stretched. If it has a print, does it become distorted or look strange when you pull at it? More importantly – does it become transparent? Does it return to its original shape and size even when stretched to its limit? Checking off these questions will ensure you’ve picked the best material for your chosen swimwear project.
Many swimsuits will include a lining, which keeps it comfortable, provides an extra layer of opacity and supports your body. You can use a neutral-coloured swimwear fabric for this layer, or choose a specially made swimsuit lining material. Alternatively, you can add a layer of power mesh – this is a finely woven stretch mesh that’s often used in underwear and swimwear projects. It’s comfortable, highly stretchy and very strong, making it perfect for adding extra support around the midriff and bust.
Swimwear fabrics are stretchy, fine and often slippery. This makes cutting them with regular scissors a bit of a nightmare. Instead, lay your fabric down flat on a cutting mat and use a sharp rotary cutter to trim the pieces. It will allow for more accurate cuts and stops the fabric from slipping around under the blade.
Due to its tight weave and stretchy nature, it’s best not to use too many pins on swimwear fabric if you can help it. Instead, use sewing clips to hold your pieces together. If you must use pins (or prefer to baste your pieces together) do so within the seam allowance, to ensure any holes left behind are concealed.
As with any other stretchy material, it’s best to use a specifically designed stretch needle when stitching swimwear fabrics. These will usually have a rounded ballpoint tip, meaning that they pass between the fibres of the fabric rather than piercing through them. The eye of the needle is also slightly higher. This allows the machine to create a bigger loop of thread per stitch, allowing for a greater degree of stretch in the seam.
Much like when picking your fabric, it’s best to stick to synthetic fibres for your thread, too. Polyester thread is the best option as it’s strong, has a slight stretch and can withstand being soaked in saltwater and chemicals like chlorine. Natural threads such as cotton may become weakened and snap when repeatedly exposed to the elements.
Whenever you’re stitching a stretch fabric it’s best to use a zigzag stitch, and this is particularly true when making your own swimwear. Pick a machine stitch that can withstand a lot of movement, such as a regular zigzag, three-stitch zigzag or lightning stitch. Straight stitch can snap and break as soon as it’s pulled to its limit, so it’s best avoided throughout your project.