How to Sew the Soft V Neck on the Laminaria Swimsuit

The soft V neck on the Laminaria Swimsuit is really easy to sew and gives you results that are almost as nice as the sharp V neck, so if you’re not looking to give yourself an extra challenge, this is the way to go. Cut your elastic to the length described in the instructions. Mark the center of the elastic with a pen. You can go ahead and write with a ball-point pen or permanent marker (instead of a wash-away marker) since it won’t be seen in the finished suit. Pin the elastic to the inside of the suit. I like to use pins horizontally so I can take them out as I sew. The elastic is the same length as the fabric here so no need to stretch or gather anything. Make sure that your center mark aligns with the center of the V. The exact position of the …

How to Sew Narrow Swimsuit Straps

There’s something ever so satisfying about a crisp little spaghetti strap. Did you know that narrow swimsuit straps are actually really easy to sew? It’s true! Both 1/4″ and 3/8″ spaghetti straps for swimsuits are deceptively easy because we can sew them around the right size elastic for crisp perfection! Start by cutting a strip of your swimsuit fabric that is 1.5″ wide (works for either 1/4″ or 3/8″ elastic. You can use the same technique for wider elastic to make wider straps though you will need wider fabric strips to start). You can sew a single strap that is twice the length of your finished strap and cut it in half when you are done. Align your elastic to one long edge of your strap on the wrong side of the fabric. You can pin it in place before sewing if you prefer or just feed it carefully as …

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How to Sew the Laminaria Swimsuit with a Mesh Insert

When I was designing the Laminaria Swimsuit I intentionally placed the contrast insets such that they could be sewn in mesh without the swimsuit becoming scandalous. The easiest way to do so is to use mesh for the inserts in View A and use a mesh or skin color lining. However if you take the easy approach your seam allowances may be visible at the edges of your mesh. If you want to guarantee that the mesh looks as clean as possible there are a few changes that you need to make to cutting and construction. They’re not technically challenging but they do require understanding the suit construction so I’d strongly recommend sewing the suit with a standard inset following the normal directions once before attempting mesh. Start by cutting View A out of your fabric using mesh for the inserts. Instead of a full lining, you will cut the lining out of …

How to Sew the Sharp V Neck on the Laminaria Swimsuit

The sharp V neck on the Laminaria swimsuit is a bit tricky to sew. I recommend trying it at least once on a scrap of fabric before you do it on your actual swimsuit. If you find this too hard or don’t want to bother you can always sew the soft V neck instead! So why are we even doing all these weird fussy steps? It effectively adds a seam allowance to the center front V so that you can sew elastic to the edge and turn it to the inside without stretching the center front. The first step is to stabilize the center of the V. If you already basted the body to the lining along the center front that should be enough. If you haven’t, sew for a few inches on either side of the center V 1/4″ from the edge using a straight stitch and pivoting at the …

How to Attach the Laminaria Swimsuit Straps

The Laminaria Swimsuit really can be sewn by a confident beginner sewist. I have a selection of photo and video tutorials to give an added boost of confidence. Today, I’ll show you all the steps involved in attaching the straps to the front and back of the suit. I’m showing the steps out of order but clustered by back and front strap attachment so that you can understand the process to the finished swimsuit which should hopefully make the steps intuitive when you reach them in the instructions. Remember, there are 3 options for how you attach your straps. If you want them to go straight in the back or cross in the back, start by attaching the straps to the back of the suit. If you want halter ties, skip over the back attachment steps and only attach them at the front. BACK: In steps 36/37 we pin and baste the …

Shortening/Lengthening the Laminaria Swimsuit

One of the coolest things about sewing your own swimsuit is that you can make the torso the right length. As a tall gal, 1 piece swimsuits have always been my nemesis as there’s nothing worse than rocking a wedgie every time you put on your swimsuit. The Laminaria swimsuit has printed shorten/lengthen lines on the pattern pieces to make shortening and lengthening easy. How can you tell if you need to add/remove length from your swimsuit? The size chart tells you the crotch length that the pattern is designed for which is average for an average height woman (5’6″). If you need more/less length in ready-two-wear swimsuits, you’ll probably want more/less in this swimsuit. However, the only way to tell for sure is to make a muslin out of the same fabric that you will be using for your final suit as small differences in horizontal and especially vertical stretch …

Laminaria Swimsuit Pattern Testers

The most satisfying and inspiring part of any pattern release is seeing it made up by other women! It is so fun to see a collection of different women using different fabric and making different design decisions, all from the same pattern. I was fortunate to have an amazing, inspiring, creative assortment of women that tested the Laminaria Swimsuit and I’m honored to share some of their gorgeous creations and their thoughts on the pattern! (Because this pattern is a swimsuit there were quite a number of women that asked not to be included in this post – they know who they are and I am just as thankful to them for their help!) One thing to note – you may notice that the larger sizes show off more cleavage than the smaller sizes regardless of cup size. The final pattern was regraded across the top range of sizes to fix …

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Introducing the Laminaria Swimsuit!

Introducing…the Laminaria Swimsuit! It’s a one piece swimsuit with a sinuous inset panel that wraps around the body like its namesake kelp. The pattern is fully lined and comes with 2 different cup size options (A-C cup or D-F cup) to make fitting a breeze. View A has decorative inset panels while View B is plain. Either can be sewed with a sharp V neck or an easier to sew rounded V neckline. Instructions are included for optional cup insertion. The straps can be tied around the neck halter style or can be attached to the back either straight down or crossed across the back. And in further exciting news, the pdf pattern is a layered pattern AND it’s also available in print! Buy the Pattern Now Laminaria is the scientific name for kelp (referring to the order Laminariales, family Laminariaciae, or genus Laminaria). When developing the swimsuit, I pictured …

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How to Sew a Swimsuit with a Skirted Bottom

Adding a skirt to the bottom of your swimsuit is a great way to give it a bit of personality while also adding a bit of coverage. You can customize the length from cheeky to modest and you can customize the fullness from girly to sporty. You can also easily add a skirt to a bikini bottom or splice it in to a full length suit. So many options! A circle skirt is a great option for the skirted portion of your swimsuit. A half-circle skirt will give you a sporty look (like this sample skirt) and a full circle skirt will give you a more ruffled look. Remember that there is a lot of negative ease in a swimsuit so the skirt fits you more snugly through the top several inches than it would if you were sewing a typical circle skirt. Remember also that the longer your skirt …

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Hack the Nautilus Bikini into a High Waist with Twists

At this point in the Swimsuit Sewalong, I’ve sewn a lot of swimsuits. And I think I must say that this hack makes this bikini bottom my favorite. While it’s super easy to turn a basic bikini bottom into a high waist pattern, it turns out that it’s a pretty simple hack to turn the Nautilus Swimsuit View B (the one with the cool twists on the bottom) into a high waist and keep the twists! Yes! Before you do this hack, you probably want to read through the sewalong for View A (the one piece) as the join from top front to top bottom around the twist is very similar to the join for this hack. The first decision you need to make is how much extra height you want to add to the pattern. As written, it’s low rise. I added 3″ to the finished suit to bring …

How to Turn a Swimsuit Pattern into a Tankini

There are many reasons why you might be drawn to a tankini swimsuit, from not having to worry about fitting the length, to the ability to mix and match bottoms, to just plain liking the style. It’s actually remarkably easy to turn a swimsuit pattern into a tankini – read on to learn how! Front: Starting with your swimsuit pattern, draw a line across the front of the suit where you want the bottom of the tankini to be. (Remember that it will end ~1/4 shorter than your line because you need to hem the suit). A good rule of thumb is to slice across where the suit cuts up to go over your hips, but it’s up to you if your personal preference is shorter or longer. You probably want a slight curve to the hem line. Back: Draw a line across the back of your suit that matches …

How Hack a High Waist Swimsuit Bottom

High waist swimsuits are a fun way to bring a bit of retro styling to your swimwear. They’re also a great on-trend way to make your swimsuit just a bit more modest. It’s easy to hack your swimsuit pattern into a high-waist bikini bottom regardless of whether you’re starting from a one-piece pattern or a low rise bikini. If you’re starting from one piece pattern, it’s as simple as slicing across the pattern on the front and back pieces where you want the waist to be. The few things to keep in mind: Remember that you have to finish the top of the suit so cut it higher than you want the finished to be (or lower if you want to add a waistband). If you are attaching elastic and folding it to the inside (like most swimsuit finishing techniques) it will only change by 1/4″ but other techniques (like …

Nautilus Swimsuit Sewalong: View C

Sewing the Bikini Bottom for View C of the Nautilus Swimsuit is quick and easy. A nice wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am to finish off the swimsuit! If you’re sewing all of View C, start with sewing the top and attaching the straps and clasps because they have more detailed sewalong information. If you’re just sewing this bikini bottom, make sure you’ve read a few of the basic swimsuit sewing tutorials like how to choose swimsuit fabric, how to sew elastic to a swimsuit, and how to add a contrast or finished edge to a swimsuit. The following steps are numbered like they are in the illustrated instructions so you can compare back and forth. [115] & [117] Sew the Bottom Front to the Bottom Back, right sides together at the sides and crotch. [116] & [118] Sew the Bottom Front Lining and Bottom Back Lining, right sides together, at the sides and crotch. …

Nautilus Swimsuit View B

View B of the Nautilus Swimsuit is the bikini versions with sexy twists at hip bone that echo the twist in the center front of the bikini top. At this point in the sewalong you should have read through the various posts on swimsuit sewing techniques and have sewn the swimsuit top with its straps and closure. The steps below are numbered like they are in the written instructions so you can check back and forth. Sewing the twists onto the sides of the Bottom is just like sewing the twist at the center of the Top, so you might want to give the Top Sewalong instructions a quick read-over before sewing the top if you haven’t looked through them recently. [78] Sew the Bottom Front Facings to the Bottom Front Lining on either side, right sides together. Match the notches. When you sew, stop with the needle down at the center …

Installing a Swimsuit Hook and Straps

Sewing clasps and straps onto a swimsuit are often the final finishing touches. There both pretty easy but somehow it’s always the last steps that seem to never get done, or is that just me? While these photographs are from construction of the Nautilus Swimsuit, you can use the same techniques to sew a clasp and straps on to any swimsuit that hooks in the back and has straps that go over the shoulders. If you’re having a hard time sourcing swimsuit hooks, I can suggest 1″ metal clasps that are up for sale in my shop. Sewing a Swimsuit Clasp: Start by threading one arm of your suit back into the closed loop portion of your swimsuit hook. You want the hook to be pointing down. Depending upon the width of your back and the width of your clasp, you may have to gather your back a little in to the clasp. …

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How to Insert Bra Cups into a Swimsuit

Adding cups to a swimsuit pattern is actually an easy modification that can make your suit instantly more supportive and comfortable. It’s pretty easy to slip swimsuit or bra cups into a suit or with a bit more work you can even add a cup with an underwire! Choosing cups: There are many kinds of different bra cups out the biggest consideration you need to make is whether it’s the type of cup that is comfortable to you. You can buy softer cups that don’t give a lot of support but do provide a bit of modesty. Foam cups are a great choice for both support and modesty. If your foam cups aren’t specifically labeled for swimsuits, make sure that they don’t retain a lot of water like a sponge when they are wet! I find one of the best ways to source cups is to go to a thrift …

Nautilus Swimsuit Sewalong View A

All views of the Nautilus Swimsuit start the same, so if you haven’t already, go sew the steps in the Nautilus Swimsuit Top and then pop back on over here. The steps are numbered like they are in the illustrated instructions included with the pattern so you can go back and forth between them as you see fit. [47] Sew the Bottom Front to the Bottom Back along the sides, right sides together. [48] Sew the Bottom Front Lining to the Bottom Back Lining along the sides, right sides together. [49] Pin the Bottom Front to the Bottom Front Lining, right sides together, with the Top in between.  You want the side seams to match and the notches on the Bottom Front to match those on the Bottom Front lining and to line up with the seam between the Top Front Facing and Top Front Lining on the Top. The right …

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How to Add a Contrast or Finished Edge to a Swimsuit

The standard for both ready-to-wear and handmade swimsuits is to sew elastic to the inside, fold it over, and sew another line of stitching to keep it in place. For an alternative, you can add a bit of extra pizzazz to your suit with a contrast edging using one of two different techniques – fabric strips or fold over elastic. Additionally, you can use either technique to get a much cleaner finish on the inside than you can with the traditional technique. Before getting started with this finished edge tutorial, make sure you have read How to Sew Elastic to a Swimsuit. Note: Both of these techniques increases the size of each finished piece when compared to the traditional way of folding the elastic to the inside. Why is that? You lose 1/4″ from every edge when you fold the elastic to the inside. When you use the fabric strip …

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Sewing Elastic to a Swimsuit

For most swimsuits, ready-to-wear or handmade, the edges of the swimsuit are stabilized and finished with elastic. The elastic is sewn to the inside of the suit and then folded over and topstitched. It’s really quite simple to do and with a few extra tips and tricks, you can have a perfectly awesome elastic insertion on your own swimsuit! Stitches: When you sew the elastic to the inside of your swimsuit, you should use a wide zig-zag. If you have a stretch zig-zag stitch on your machine, this is a great place to use it. If not, use your normal zig-zag on its widest setting. This will securely attach the elastic to the suit and allow it to stretch. When you fold the elastic over, you can use the same wide zig-zag, a narrower zig-zag, or a straight stretch stitch (also called a lightning stitch) depending upon how you want …

Sewing the Nautilus Swimsuit Top

With information on selecting swimsuit fabric, swimsuit pattern size, and grading/fitting a swimsuit pattern under our belts, lets jump in to sewing the Nautilus Swimsuit! This part of the sewalong will take us through sewing most of the Top which is the same for Views A, B & C. The steps are numbered like they are in the illustrated instructions included with the pattern so you can go back and forth between them as you see fit. [8] Take the Top Front Facing and place it right sides together against the Top Front Lining. You will be matching a single notch to do this. Sew until you have reached the center point of the V – this is a convex point on the Facing and a concave point on the Lining. With your needle down, pivot the fabric so that it lines up for the rest of the seam and finihs …

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Fitting & Grading the Nautilus Swimsuit

The principles of fitting and grading any swimsuit are pretty similar, so no matter what pattern you are using, you’ll hopefully find some helpful information to fit and grade any swimsuit sewing pattern amongst the specific example of the Nautilus Swimsuit. Before you start any fitting and grading, make sure you are starting with the best base size by reading How to Choose a Swimsuit Pattern Size. Cup Size: The Nautilus Swimsuit pattern has 4 different cup size options ranging from AA to DD+. Measure the difference between your full bust and your under bust to get your suggested size. 0-1″ = AA, 1-3″ = A/B, 3-5″ = C/D, and >5″ = DD+. However, this is just a starting point (like any other sizing) and you will want to make a muslin to determine that you are getting a proper fit. What might cause the wrong fit? The cups on …

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How to Choose a Size on a Swimsuit Pattern

When I’m sewing a pattern that I haven’t sewn before, I usually jump straight to the pattern pieces and measure the high bust and the hip to choose what size I will sew. Patterns often don’t list their finished measurements and sizing charts often don’t say how much ease they include but a pattern piece reveals all. However, this technique falls apart when selecting a swimsuit size for many reasons. Below, I’ll detail these reasons and explain what to consider instead so that you can best select the size of your swimsuit sewing pattern. Note: Like any sewing pattern, when sewing a swimsuit you can have a pretty good guess about the right size to start with, but you are well served to make a muslin and use that to fit adjustments specific to your body. Ease: For fitted garments with stretch, 0-2 inches of negative ease gives a pretty …

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How to Choose Swimsuit Fabric

With all of the amazing looking swimsuit fabrics out there, it can be a bit intimidating to actually choose a fabric. “What are the kind of things to look for when I buy swimsuit fabric?” you might be asking. Well, have no fear – I’m here to tell you! At least I’m here to show you the sorts of things that I look for when I buy swimsuit fabric. If there’s something you look for that I haven’t included, please chime in in the comments! Fiber Content: The first thing that I look for is fiber content. Note that there can be a fair bit of variety in the names used to label the synthetic fibers and many of them mean the same thing. Swimsuit fabric is almost always 80-90% polyamid, polyester, nylon, or another similar synthetic fiber. The other 10-20% is spandex, lycra, or elastane (all of which are …

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Announcing the Nautilus Swimsuit Pattern!

Summer is here and it’s time to celebrate. Brew up some lemonade, grab your sunglasses, and whip up a Nautilus Swimsuit! Why call it a nautilus? Nautiluses are pretty cool animals – the only cephalopods (that’s the same family as octopuses) whose bony structure is a shell. Mathematically, the interior structure of the shell is quite interesting (nerdy sidenote: Although it’s often thought of as an example of a golden spiral, as a matter of fact it’s actually a logarithmic spiral with a different ratio). So why name the swimsuit after this cephalopod? The center knot in the swimsuit made me think of the interior twists of the shell! The Nautilus Swimsuit has an elegant twist center front, like the shell of its namesake cephalopod. The pattern is fully lined and comes with 4 different cup size options (AA cup, A/B cup, C/D cup, or DD+ cup) to make fitting …

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Bombshell Bikini

I am a total bombshell in this swimsuit. The first time I sewed the Bombshell Bikini by Closet Case Files I made a few design decisions that left me feeling like an almost. But this time? Total Bombshell. So, what did I learn that made this one a rockin’ success? Better color choice, for sure. Instead of a pale pink the color of my skin, I picked an iridescent purple that I bought at Britex Fabrics that actually compliments my skin tone. I left off the halter top that (although I like halters sometimes) made me feel like a line-backer, emphasizing my strong shoulders in the wrong way. And, I made the bikini bottom version of the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern and drafted my own bikini top. I love the full coverage of the bottom and the slip of skin showing at my waist, an asset that I like to highlight. For …

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Almost a Bombshell in My Swimsuit

I’m finally done with my bombshell swimsuit. I simply adore the retro influenced style and started it just after Heather of Closet Case Files released the pattern, but my hip injury kept me away from the sewing machine for so long that I’ve just now finished it up. Although summer is waning elsewhere, nice weather is just about to start here in San Francisco. Just about the only time I’m ever found in a swimsuit is when sitting in a hot-tub, (I don’t like swimming and I’m too pale to tan), but this adorable suit might change that! I followed Heather’s excellent sew-along. This being the first swimsuit I’ve made, I pretty much followed her instructions to the letter. I did grade between sizes, going up one size for the bottom, since I’m a pear. Tasia of Sewaholic posted a nice post about how to do the same, so I won’t …