If you haven’t seen Rosie Huntington-Whitely in THAT swimsuit, where have you been hiding? She looked da-bomb and I instantly fell in love with the swimsuit (and her, a little). I knew I was never going to fork out for a new swimsuit when I rarely actually go swimming or have a holidays planned to bring it on, so it was a DIY waiting to happen!
I popped out to a charity shop on my lunch-break and surprisingly it was not that hard to find something made from this towelling kind of fabric. I picked up a men’s t-shirt for £6.99, which had about half a metre of fabric in it.
Right, let’s go!
MAKE THE PATTERN
I used a pattern that I had made in pattern class during college to make this piece, but as it was just a pattern for a stretch top, I had to add the ‘pants’ part to the bottom of it.
If I was making the pattern from scratch, I would have used a swimsuit or bodysuit I already own or a tight top and a pair of high waist undies. Just trace out the basic shape, remembering to trace the front part of the underwear (the narrower side) for one pattern, and the back part for another pattern.
I then went in and adjusted the pattern to be one shoulder (which I’m now realising I did not document – sorry!). I basically drew a line from the top of the left shoulder down to the right armpit with a slight curve, ensuring it didn’t go too low and it would cover my boobs. If in doubt, leave extra room.
I then went back in to the traced patterns (front and back) with my own measurements and ensured the bust, waist and hips were all to my measurements, or a little smaller. This will depend on the amount of stretch in your fabric. If it’s very stretchy, make the pattern smaller. No one likes a loose swimsuit 🙂 Or maybe you do.. No judgement!
When the pattern is complete, add a 1cm seam allowance around the entire pattern.
You should have 2 patterns for this. Front and Back.
CUT IT OUT
If you’re wroking with a piece of fabric you can skip this step. But if, like me, you are using a thrifted garment, you will need to open out the garment to be flat so it’s easier to lay your pattern. I cut up both side seams of the t-shirt and removed the sleeve. I left the front and back joined at the shoulder seams in case this could have worked in my favour. (it didn’t).
I laid out the front piece on the back of the t-shirt, because I needed more fabric to cover the front of my body. I used the front of the t-shirt for the back pattern, as I had to lower the back of the swimsuit to allow for the fabric used up by the buttons on the t-shirt. Once it’s all cut out, it’s time to sew!
I also wanted to make a little waist tie detail for the swimsuit, to add a little something to the piece and also potentially disguise a beach food-baby. I cut two 4 inch thick rectangular strips from the sleeves of the t-shirt.
SEW IT UP
First I sewed up the ties for the swimsuit. I sewed each rectangle into a tube, and then laid it flat with the seam running up the middle of one side. (see second picture below. I sewed one end shut, and turned it the right way out.
I then marked where I wanted to place them on the swimsuit by putting a tiny snip into my fabric at either side of the tie (make sure you only cut about .5 of a cm and not passed what will be your seam allowance.
Lay the ties inside the front and back piece, right sides together, and sew a straight seam down both sides. Finish the shoulder seam and crotch seam with a straight stitch.
To finish the edges I used 2 techniques – zig zag stitching and bias binding.
I sewed a 1 cm hem around the leg-holes and the armhole using a zig-zag stitch. You could also add in some elastic at this stage to ensure the leg-holes are a nice secure fit.
I used bias binding to finish the seams across the front and back of the swimsuit. Becasue this eas cut at such a diagonal, if I had just done a zig0zag stitch like beofre, the fabric would have stretched and it would have looked like a really bad lettuce hem. To ensure it sat flat against the body, I cut 2 strips of bias binding (see how to make and attach bias binding here) and sewed them to the swimsuit rights sides together, to the front and back of the suit, joining both pieces at the shoulder seam and under the arm.
THE FINISHED PIECE
Swimsuit or Bodysuit ? – You decide!