Top Tips for Sewing the Perfect Swimsuit

Whether you want a bikini that finally suits your body type or you're interested in starting a line of swimwear to sell, learning to sew your own swimwear can be daunted. One thing almost every seamster and seamstress agrees on is how difficult it is to sew stretch fabrics, and super-stretchy swimsuit material is no exception. Thankfully, while it may be difficult at the start, it's certainly not impossible. With some careful planning and the right sewing method, your handmade swimsuits will soon be the talk of the pool.

Use an Overlock Sewing Machine

The first step to sewing swimwear is using the right sewing machine. Unfortunately, your regular sewing machine is unlikely to do the trick. Instead, it's better to invest in an overlock sewing machine. These machines produce overlocker stitches, also known as serger stitches, which stretch along with the fabric of your swimsuit. Stitches from regular sewing machines are too rigid, leading the stitches to snap and break when you're wearing the swimsuit. As an added bonus, overlocking stitches give raw edges a clean and professional look—perfect if you want to sell your swimwear. If investing in an overlocker just for one item of clothing feels like overkill to you, remember you can use it to sew all types of jersey and knit fabrics that may have previously been off-limits to you.

Choose the Right Fabric

As with any sewing project, the fabric you choose will be the key to a successful swimsuit. Generally, you'll want to look for polyester-spandex blends. These manmade fibres are impermeable, so they won't absorb water when you or your customers are in the pool. Of course, not all of these blended fabrics are made equal. As such, you also want to make sure you stretch out your fabric and take a look at it before deciding on it. Does the print crack or distort when stretched? Does it become embarrassingly opaque? If so, look for another material. Finally, note that there are two types of stretch fabric. Two-way stretch only stretches horizontally, so it's is ideal for bikinis and other two-piece swimsuits. If you're sewing a one-piece, look for four-way stretch which stretches in the length of grain as well as from selvedge to selvedge. Remember to choose the right lining too. Transparent lining is suitable when your swimsuit fabric is fairly thick and dark-coloured, but a more opaque, neutral-coloured lining is best for light-coloured or sheer fabrics.