It wasn’t too long ago the thought of custom making a bathing suit would never cross my mind. Let alone making one myself!
Every time a swimsuit of mine would start losing its elasticity and become all flimsy I’d cringe at the thought of having to go bikini shopping. It’s been getting harder to find a bikini for the petits that doesn’t include heaps of padding. So when I find swimwear that I like and fits me perfectly I’d like for it to last forever. We all know that nothing is made to last forever, so why not replicate what we have?
Here is how I copy my favorite swimsuit so I don’t ever have to go shopping for it again.
- Because I’m taking the old bikini apart, …and I have the memory of a tiny goldfish, I like to take lots of pictures just in case I forget some details of what the final garment is to look like. I take pictures of the front and back, and also inside out. This will help with putting all the pattern pieces together.
- Taking the old swimsuit apart – unpick the seams in reverse order of how you’d be sewing the garment; for example, for a bikini bottom the last thing you’d be sewing is most likely the elastic around the legs and waist. So start by unpicking the elastic around the waist and legs. Remove bindings, waistband and embellishments if there are any. Then remove the side seams and so on. The order may change with each style of swimwear.
- As you unpick each seam mark where the seams come together and wherever there are darts, pleats or any other notations accordingly. Make note of the order they were stitched and the stitches used for the seams (zig zag, lettuce hem, serged, etc)
- Once all is taken apart, you may choose to copy your bikini parts onto paper first if you wish to make adjustments. I skipped this step and just used my garment pieces straight as my pattern.
- Lay all your bikini pieces flat on your fabric as you would with paper patterns ensuring the fabric direction is aligned correctly. It’s usually quite easy to find the direction on a piece of swimwear fabric because of its ribbing look. Match that ribbing direction to the direction on your fabric.
- Ensure you have enough seam allowance for your pattern, I usually add about 1/4 inch of seam allowance to make it easier to handle while stitching.
- Cut out the new fabric and transfer the markings as necessary. Do the same with the lining.
- Assemble all the fabric pieces in the reverse order that you took the old one apart, checking with the pictures taken.
- Et voilà! Here is my happy replica!