Itsy-bitsy bikinis

Every year, I think that I am not going to sew swimwear, that I am going to behave like any other normal person and go and buy some...then I go to the shops to try on very expensive bits of lycra that don't fit and come with tags stating that the garment will be destroyed by sunlight, sand, salt water, chlorine and sitting on concrete!

Last year I made a few pairs from Kwiksew patterns, modifying the patterns to make them a little bit funkier...which they were, but they didn't stay up very well. So this year I did a few searches on the internet and was excited to find a fabulous resource (www.patternschool.com), written by a swimwear designer, which shows how to draft different swimwear styles and also offers a few free patterns customised to your own measurements. Wahoo!

Now I am not brave enough to put in photos of me in swimwear,, so I downloaded a free trial of photoshop, to see how I could doctor the photos. The dark ones I was able to outline and cut-out, but the patterned ones did not respond so well to this treatment...so I played around with lots of groovy effects...so groovy that the original object was unidentifiable...then I went back and just used a "coloured pencil"effect.

I started with the bandeau bikini, because that seemed liked the easiest place to start. I then used the free hipster pattern to make the bottoms. I needed to remove about 7 cm from the length (not sure if this was a fit issue or because I narrowed the crotch to fit), and added a tie band to the top of the hipster to give me a little more coverage.

I then perfected my bikini bottom with this hawaiian print and drafted a halter top to match. I'm not too fussed on the halter top, which may be better suited to bustier women...also the wide strap around my neck gives me a headache.

The third bikini is my favourite...the top is a variation on the bandeau and the bottom bikini was the same as my hawaiian print, only with a gathered panel at the sides.

By this stage I was feeling a bit adventurous, so I tried a string side bikini with centre back seam and a triangle top to match. I bought this fabric for my 4 yo daughter. I never, ever thought that I would wear a string bikini, let alone one in lolly pink (I did make my daughter a matching bikini from a Kwiksew pattern, which she loves). The instructions for the centre back seam involve removing 6 cm of length from the hipster pattern...this did not work on my hipster pattern, because I had already shortened it's length...so I put back the 7cm I had already taken out, then removed 6cm as per the instructions and it all worked out fine. I tried to photograph a back view but could not "airbrush" these photos to my satisfaction!! I did not make mine nearly as skimpy as the instructions...which is the benefit of sewing my own!

Now I need to work on the one-pieces, so that I actually have a pair that I can wear in public.

See pattern review for a few more sewing details.


  1. Ummm... WOW. Your bikinis look amazing, and you just saved yourself a few hundred dollars there (is swimwear not just the most overpriced garment out there?). I have never heard of this site before, I'm bookmarking it.

  2. Great job. I hope to expand my skills to swim wear some day.

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  4. Thanks so much for the bikini pep talk! I'm following you now :) So inspiring i might have to give it a go this summer ...... wow, they all look so professional!

    Dolly Donations

  5. I am so impressed with your sewing skills! I would never have thought to sew bikinis, but after reading your successes I may have to give it a shot.