Ok before we start out I should say that I have NO expertise here. I've made a grand total of three wearable swimsuits in my entire life. And this "method" consists entirely of my own hacking and would probably send ACTUAL swimwear designers into paroxysms of horror. In fact there's a good chance that this tutorial is going to make you a worse seamstress. Or maybe dumber? Or possibly cause giant asteroids to crash into the earth?
So, fair warning. And if you want some info on making swimwear that will actually make you smarter then check out this site.
The first thing I did was score my fabric.
I used a Nylon/Spandex (Lycra) mix with 4 way stretch. My closest fabric shop (Farbicland at Bloor) carries solid colours of it all the time and occasionally gets ends of SUPER cute prints in too. There's some good info HERE on just what is up with swimwear fabric.
I also use a lining fabric, the best description I could get out of the scary Fabricland ladies was
*YAWN*. "A swimwear lining. For lining swimwear. No." *eye roll* "That IS what it's called. SWIMWEAR LINING."
Pah. Turns out it's made of Nylon too and has two way stretch.
I buy 50 cms of the fabric (unless there's a direction to the print, then I buy a meter) and a meter of lining fabric. I also buy 3 or so meters of pre-cut lycra binding. But it turns out that it's cheaper to cut your own and super easy too. You're also going to need a ball point or knit needle for your sewing machine.
Once I'd gotten my goodies together I needed a pattern. The first suit I made I just eyeballed a pattern based on my current suit. There is some info about making a pattern from an existing item HERE . This method took a bunch of trying on and hacking down.
For the second suit I took apart a swimsuit that fit fairly well but had that weird see-through bum thing. and voila. a muslin:
Then I laid the bits out on the fabric and pinned. I wanted a the neckline a bit higher and the bum and bit more covery so I marked that out.
Once all the pieces were cut out I made duplicates in the lining fabric. The lining I use has a two way stretch and I like to have the stretch go from side to side as opposed to up and down.
You don't HAVE to line the back of your suit. I do anyway though. This time I cut out the lining a bit smaller than the body of the suit. Which, it turns out, is not a super great idea.
Then it was time to do some piecing together. This is the stitch I used for sewing everything
(both piecing together and sewing on the binding) it's a small zigzag.
The most complex part is the back; and really, it not complex at all, you just sew the two bottom pieces separately (lining and fabric), then place them wrong sides together and sew on the crossy back thing. Easy.
Next I sammiched all the layers together.. The sammich goes lining- fabric- (good sides together) -fabric- lining.
Then it gets sewn together at the sides, crotch (heh the word crotch makes me giggle) and top straps. I used the same zigzag as before and was careful to include all the layers.
Then I flipped it right side out. And you guys! It kind of looks like a swimsuit! Exciting!
Except for the gappy bum issue; that needs to be fixed for sure. And that's where the binding comes in. For this suit I made a self binding. On account of the pre-made binding colours all looked terrible with this print.
I folded the width of the fabric in half. Folded it again. Then snipped 1.5 inch strips.
Then it was time to bind the exposed edges and fix the gappy bum problem all in one go.
This is what I do with the binding, fold it over like this:
Then encase all the layers like this:
Then sew it down with my zigzag stitch.
I don't worry about the raw edge, it doesn't fray and I chop it away once the binding is in place anyway. The tricky bit about binding the legs is that you have to pull the binding taunt and sew at the same time, making sure to catch up all the layers. Pulling the binding taunt should give this effect:
(Don't worry it doesn't look like a diaper cover when it's ON!)
And you only really want this for the back of your suit, not the front; so you give the binding some slack for the front.
When I get to the end I tuck the raw bit under and backstitch.
I repeat the binding process on the armholes, neckline and back hole bit and because there's no need to pull the binding tight I just pin it on and whip around. Which you can actually see better in this picture:
Once the binding is on I trim it close to the stitching. Like this:
And that's it. Gots myself a swimsuit. Of course you might NEED ruffles (really, who doesn't?) and to add those you just ruffle up a bit of you binding (or fabric) and sew it on with the same zigzig stich. I do this step before I even piece the suit together. And I only sew the ruffles onto the actual fabric, not the lining.
If you've read this far, (good job with that, this was a LONG post) then here comes the big reveal.
And I'm cringing RIGHT NOW. But here we go. Me in a swimsuit. On the internets, which is practically like PUBLIC. yeesh. OK. Just getting it over with. Look away now if you're easily offended.
See what I did with the ruffle there? and the neglecting to brush my hair?
Oh hey, and I shared here:
And here too: