Sewing Swimwear with Knit Fabrics 👙🩱
Hi everyone! Cynthia here from SewCasuallyChic and very excited to be this month’s guest blogger! I’ve been sewing swimwear for about eight years and absolutely love making swimwear for myself and my two daughters. The summer heat is upon us or quickly approaching, so the time to sew swimwear is now!
Sewing swim fabric can be intimidating if you’ve never tried it, but anyone can do it with a sewing machine or serger (overlocker). In this blog, I will share a few tips I’ve learned over the years that can help get you started.
✂️ My Top 7 Tips When Sewing With Swim Fabric:
- Like sewing other knits, you want to use a stretch stitch on your sewing machine, such as a lightning bolt, zig-zag, or triple straight stitch, or use a serger.
- Use Stretch Needles. Stretch Needles are specifically designed for stretchy fabrics like Lycra and spandex content in swim fabrics. These needles are specially designed to glide through fibers instead of cutting them and to do so without skipping stitches.
- Use fabric designed explicitly for swimsuits. Nylon Spandex and Polyester Spandex blends are the best options for swim. Choose “Swim” as your base on any Olga’s Exclusive Print, or choose a fabric from the Nylon Spandex or Swim sections of the website.
- Let the machine move your fabric under the foot. Do not pull knits through your device, or you will create a garment with stretched-out and wonky seams.
- Practice stitches on scraps before beginning your garment. There’s no magic setting across all machines. You may need to adjust your machine settings for stretch fabrics. Before committing the seams on your garment, take some time to know how your device will react to swim fabric.
- Rinse out your swimsuits shortly after you finish swimming. I like wearing my swimsuit into the shower and rinsing the chlorine off. This will extend the life of your swimsuit fabric and elastic.
- Using cotton or rubber elastic specially designed for swimsuits is recommended. However, I have gotten away with using braided elastic on many swimsuits that lasted for years. I think rinsing out the suits well after each use helps extend the life.
Greenstyle Cami Tank and Seaside Swim Bottom
This is the Yellow/Sage/White Lemons Exclusive Print printed in Adult Scale on Swim Knit. My daughter is obsessed with this tankini swimsuit. I used tan swim lining on the inside of the bottoms. The top includes a shelf bra and is otherwise unlined. Patterns used are the Cami Tank and Seaside Swim Bottoms from Greenstyle.
Greenstyle Power Sports Bra + Flounce Hack
I had just enough of the Yellow/Sage/White Lemons Exclusive Print left for another top, and this one is perfect for my older daughter. She enjoys the bright colors for Summer, and I created this top for her using a sports bra pattern. She loves having a sports bra for a swim top because it’s more supportive, and she can cannonball to her heart’s content with complete confidence that her swimsuit will stay in place. The Lemons look particularly lovely with the added flounce to the front of the sports bra. This pattern is called the Power Sports Bra by Greenstyle. And I blogged my flounce hack here.
Greenstyle Surfside Bikini Top, Boca Bay Bottoms, & Rally Skirt
One thing I really like about using swim knit is the fact that I can make athletic garments with it, as well. Leggings, bike shorts, sports bras, even tennis skirts are really cute in swim knit. For this swimsuit I used the Neon Hot Pink/Purple/Lime Green Animal/Cheetah Exclusive Print.
This print is so fun! I was a little nervous about it before I used it but really fell in love with it once it was sewn up! I made a 2-piece bikini and lined it with neon green nylon spandex swim knit as the liner. This suit can actually be made reversible so I now have 2 suits in one! The skirt with attached shorts makes a perfect cover-up. Bonus: You don’t need to hem skirts made
from swim knit! Patterns used: Surfside Bikini Top, Boca Bay Bottoms, and Rally Skirt from Greenstyle.
Greenstyle Cami Tank and Seaside Swim Bottom
The next suit I’ll share with you is made from a swimsuit fabric no longer carried on the Olga’s Closet site, but remember that you can order any Exclusive Print on swim knit and use the “Shop By Category” option on the website to find the Nylon Spandex and Swim sections for the ever-changing selection. For this suit, I wanted a flounce like my daughter, so I added it to the Boca Bay swimsuit in the same manner as I added the flounce above. It’s a great and easy Flounce hack that adds a nice touch to any bikini top.
Greenstyle Youth Power Sports Bra & Youth Rally Skirt
And finally, my absolute favorite. This adorable number is made using Rainbow Plaid Exclusive Print in Adult Scale on Swim Knit. I love this print’s joy – you can’t help but smile when you see it. It’s my daughter’s new favorite, too. Again, no hemming is required on swim knit! I used two patterns that weren’t designed for swimwear for this swimsuit but worked great. Youth Power Sports Bra and Youth Rally Skirt.
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