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Top 10 Sewing Patterns

The Shortlist: Swimwear

Ah, the swimsuit. A necessity if you’re off on holiday or planning to take a dip in the lido, but something that is a little stressful to shop for. Lots of us fall into numerous sizes, so finding a one-piece swimsuit that fits everywhere or a bikini that is as good on the top as it does the bottom, is quite a challenge. Sewing your own swimsuit isn’t as tricky as it looks. If you source the right fabric, elastic and lining, you can sew something you will wear for years to come. Or if you’re like me, enjoying poolside while drinking a pina colada (maybe with my feet in the pool!).

Episode 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee saw the contestants sewing a made-to-measure swimsuit with a special detail. If you feel inspired to give this project a go… keep on reading.

Shall we dive into the patterns? We’ve narrowed the styles down to a shortlist of our favourite swimwear sewing patterns. Whatever your style you’re after, there is something here for you.


Simple yet special:

Swimsuits don’t have to be too fussy, but it’s nice to have a special detail that makes them feel chic. If you get the fit right on your swimsuit you can always add a little extra flourish down the line, but I think these patterns are a great place to start and invest your time into.

  1. Fitiyoo Mojito Swimsuit – a one-piece swimsuit with a pretty plunging back and elastic under the bust for optimal support.
  2. Made My Wardrobe Freya Swimsuit – a low-back swimsuit with full bust support and coverage. You can either make it with a triangular cut-out at the front or as a complete one-piece.
  3. Vogue V9192 swimwear and cover-ups – a complete set of swimwear, including this one-shoulder style.
  4. Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit – a one-piece swimsuit with a contrast waistband or a high-waisted bikini with piping detail. Both suits feature supportive straps, and an optional underwired foam swim bra and boning.

Cut-outs:

Cut-outs are trending on just about every garment type, so swimwear is no exception. Go for a bold statement cut-out or just a peep for a chic look.

  1. Madalynne for Simplicity S9609 Swimsuits – feature a deep V or scoop neckline with cutout and band details, waistline seam, contrast full-coverage bottom, and elastic foldover banding for a sexy but sporty look.
  2. Étoffe Malicieuse Itaca Swimsuit – straps are nicely decorated with a flounce (or not – it’s up to you!) and they can be fastened in the back or tied at the neck. You can add foam cups if you wish.
  3. Sirena Patterns Gabriela Swimsuit and Bikini – a two-in-one pattern for a reversible swimsuit and bikini.
  4. Made My Wardrobe Freya Swimsuit – a low-back swimsuit with full bust support and coverage. You can either make it with a triangular cut-out at the front or as a complete one-piece.

Long sleeves:

If you prefer a little more coverage from your costume or partake in sporty swimming activities, long sleeves are a great option. They are also really handy if you burn quite easily as you get extra protection.

  1. McCalls M7417 Women’s and Children’s Swimwear – rash guard tops have a neckband, raglan sleeves, stitched hems, and sleeve and length variations.
  2. Sirena Patterns Valeria Swimsuit – features a scoop neck, low back and long sleeves. It has medium back coverage and is fully lined, with an additional shelf lining.
  3. Friday Pattern Company Seabright Swimmer – a one-piece swimsuit pattern that can be made with or without sleeves. It features a plunging neckline with gathering at the shoulder and waist.

Sporty:

If you are someone who wants zero frills on a costume or heads to the local pool to swim laps, something that feels a bit more sporty in style might be up your street.

  1. Helen’s Closet Sandpiper Swimsuit – the ultimate sporty two-piece for swimming, water sports, and fun in the sun! Choose high-waisted or low-rise bottoms and mix and match them with the Sandpiper Swimsuit top.
  2. Megan Nielsen Cottesloe Swimsuit and Bikini – includes both classic one-piece swimsuits and mix-and-match bikini sets. Detailed instructions guide the sewer through swimsuit construction techniques.
  3. Sirena Patterns Jackie Swimsuit – a fully lined one-piece scoop neck swimsuit with a shelf bra.

Plunge:

Are you a bit of a poolside lounger? A dramatic plunge costume looks stylish when you’re soaking up the sun poolside, but throw on a sarong and you’ve got a beach bar outfit! I’ve made the sleeveless version of the Seabright Swimmer and I must say I was really impressed with how straightforward it was to sew, and how secure it felt to wear!

  1.  McCalls M7964 Swimsuit and Cover-up – the swimsuit has bodice variations and lined panties and a choice of a self-lined bodice with ties or self faced band with hook and eye closure.
  2. Vogue V1894 Swimsuits – lined swimsuits have contrast narrow binding, ruching, front cutouts, and leg openings finished with elastic.
  3. Friday Pattern Company Seabright Swimmer – a one-piece swimsuit pattern that can be made with or without sleeves. It features a plunging neckline with gathering at the shoulder and waist.
  4. Sirena Patterns Camille Swimsuit – a fully lined one-piece swimsuit with halter top, deep plunge neckline, and medium coverage high-waisted bottom.

Tie detail:

I find tie details very hard to resist. They are showy without being too showy and they lend themselves to swimwear beautifully. A tie also allows you to play around with contrasting fabrics, making your costume even more unique!

  1. Friday Pattern Company Vernazza Two Piece Bikini – features tank straps, an adjustable tie front, and a soft waistband. The bottoms hit about your belly button and can be adjusted easily for a higher or lower rise.
  2. Fitiyoo Cuba Libre Bikini – a two-piece swimsuit, consisting of a bandeau bra and low-waist or high-waist briefs. Its pretty knots create an elegant and retro look.
  3. Megan Nielsen Cottesloe Swimsuit and Bikini – includes both classic one-piece swimsuits and mix-and-match bikini sets. Detailed instructions guide the sewer through swimsuit construction techniques.
  4. Opian Pilatus Swimsuit – a one-piece swimsuit with a bow at the front and high-waisted, high-leg knickers.

Ruffles:

If you like to bring a little glamour to the beach, pack a costume with a ruffle in your case. They are so much fun and those edges don’t need finishing as swimwear doesn’t fray – hooray!

  1. Fitiyoo Piña Swimsuit – a one-piece swimsuit with ruffles that create a fresh and feminine look. You also have the option to add removable straps.
  2. – 3. Tilly and the Buttons Coralie Swimsuit and Bikini – with multiple versions to choose from, you can either keep it simple or add pretty details while building your swimwear sewing skills.

Faux wrap:

A wrap style is flattering on most garment types and looks rather lovely on a swimsuit. Pick a pattern with a faux wrap detail and you will find your favourite swimsuit!

  1. Fitiyoo Sangria Swimsuit – a one-piece swimsuit with a plunging neckline and pretty underbust drape. Its wide straps are comfortable and provide good support.
  2. Butterick B5795 Cover-Up, Top, Swimdress, Swimsuit, Skirt and Briefs – a complete set of swimwear, including this mock wrap swimsuit.
  3. Opian Jamanota Swimsuit – the open back, gathered front panels and high waist give this one-piece swimsuit a retro and elegant look.

Best of the bikinis:

If you like to maximise your tanning and mix & match opportunities, a bikini is the way to go. Just as you find lots of choice when you shop for bikinis, you’ll find some great options in the world of sewing patterns.

  1. McCall’s M7168 Swimwear – close-fitting, lined two-piece swimsuits have elasticised bra top and bottom variations. Create your own design with mix-and-match pattern pieces.
  2. McCalls M8329 Swimsuits – a ring embellished swimsuit set with gather details. Views include two tops with straps, high-cut bikini bottom and a one-piece swimsuit.
  3. Closet Core Patterns Faye Swimsuit – a versatile fully lined swimsuit with multiple options so you can create a full wardrobe of swimwear. Faye features a clean finish and minimalist lines with a lovely scoop neckline and a slightly cheeky cut.
  4. Sirena Patterns Tatiana Bikini – a triangle bikini top ties at the neck and back, and the low-rise bottom has side ties and medium back coverage. Both the top and bottom of the Tatiana Bikini are reversible!

90s high leg:

90s style is having a moment in fashion and you can’t get more 90s than a high-leg costume (does anyone else remember those Baywatch swimsuits?!). We’ve got a selection of sewing patterns that are bang on for this trend.

  1. Sirena Patterns Juliana Bikini – a fully lined bikini. The bandeau top has a neck tie and removable swim cups. The bikini bottom has a high waist and medium back coverage.
  2. Opian Liskamm Swimsuit – a two-piece swimsuit that includes a bra without an underwire (for comfort throughout the day) and a choice of low-cut knickers or low-cut knickers with gathers at the centre front and back.
  3. Opian Säntis Swimsuit – the scoop back, high leg and classic shape will take you back to the 90s. This swimsuit will soon become your new beach basic.
  4. Sirena Patterns Sharon Swimsuit – a fully lined one-piece swimsuit with an additional shelf lining. This high cut ’80s-inspired suit has a scoop neck, low back, and medium back coverage.

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