Swimsuit for Mama

Again, this post starts with a disclaimer: I was given some of these fabrics for free by Funki Fabrics in exchange for making something and blogging about it. The fabrics I used from the Fabric Store and the Fabric Fairy were purchased by yours truly.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I wore a bikini or anything other than a hardy old pair of chlorine resistant Speedos. Actually, it was probably about ten years ago, when I was still trying to impress the husband (before he was the husband). I also used to pretend I liked camping and watching rugby back then….bwahaha, entrapment!

In any case, now that I’m all about honesty….um, no that has nothing to do with it. I’m not actually sure why I suddenly decided I needed to make myself some swimmers. Perhaps it was FOMO because I completely restocked the swimwear department of the other Iles girls. Perhaps it was seeing Sophie’s awesome two-piece a little while back. Perhaps it was just that someone gave me free fabric and I thought it would be fun to challenge myself with something a little new. Who knows.

In the end, I made myself TWO pairs. The first pair was more of a muslin to test a design and use up some scraps. The neon fish are from Funki Fabrics and the gorgeous lemons are from the Fabric Store (some Anna and Boy spandex I picked up over a year ago in Sydney).



The bottoms worked beautifully but the leg elastic could be a smidgen less tight. I modelled their design on a favourite pair of hipster undies I own. It’s remarkably simple to turn a pair of undies into high waist bathers. Just measure your circumference where the undies end and again where you want the high waist to end. Subtract 1.5″ off those measurements (because of negative ease) and draw a diagonal line between them. I added some clear elastic and a waistband to the top of mine. Note: If using clear elastic around the legs, you want it A LOT looser than undie elastic. About 2″ looser worked for me, or pretty much the same as the circumference of your leg. There are two reasons for this: a) clear elastic is firmer and less stretchy than  lingerie elastic and b) aesthetically, you don’t really want the elastic to be cutting deep into your curves.


The top, for this first version, was a fail. I started with Kwik Sew 3153 and modified it into a top. The fit is too wide, unflattering, and offers no support. It might work better on a busty gal, but not so much on me. Those busy little neon fishies actually disguise a lot of the issues in the photos, but in real life, they are more apparent. I could see that the top was failing early on so I just wacked it together so I could experiment a little with construction, and to see if I would even like the look of a two piece.

My second effort was much better. It’s a one-piece from the front and a bikini from the back; the best of both worlds! Those of you on Instagram may have seen my red ponte muslin in this design. I tweaked the length and fit a bit, and muddled my way through much of the construction. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It’s fully lined, front and back (which is how I like my bathers). I feel quite secure in it and I like the way the busy floral and gathers in the bodice help to disguise the fact that there’s not much going on under there. I’m not keen on padding in my bathers.  The construction is not quite perfect, but I think if I can find a way to remove the centre front seam, it might help.





The pretty floral in the bodice is from Funki Fabrics. I was originally going to use some Funki Fabrics stripes for the contrast too, but I changed my mind in the eleventh hour. And that’s how I discovered The Fabric Fairy. Their seriously amazing blue swimsuit fabric and the my-colour nude lining  came from them. I thought it would be interesting to order some swimsuit lycra off somebody else new-to-me to make a more objective comparison of the different swimsuit fabrics available online.

So I stand by my original observations in my last post on Funki Fabrics. For a great choice on prints, their selection is unparalleled. They also have pretty quick postage, which can sometimes be a deal changer for me. But for solids in swimsuit fabric, I am SO impressed with what the The Fabric Fairy has to offer. The Bermuda blue swimsuit fabric I purchased from them is insanely smooth and it has the most beautiful robust feel to it. It’s also slightly thicker, with fantastic stretch and recovery. It’s probably the most luxurious swimsuit fabric I’ve ever worked with. I suspect I’ll be checking out their other knits and stretch fabrics in the future now.





25 thoughts on “Swimsuit for Mama

  1. The blue suit is really cool – nice fit, and looks comfortable! Thanks for the swimsuit drafting and fabric tips. I think a suit is in my near future…

  2. Love the blue one! That lemon fabric is very cute, too. I used to pretend to like football. Now that we are married, the truth is out – I have no idea what’s going on!

  3. Wow, love your one piece! The style is so “you”, and really works for your shape. I just tried on a dozen suits this evening, did buy one, but would like to make one this summer as well. I’ll have to check out the Fabric Fairy, sounds like a great resource.

  4. That blue and floral design is incredible. You really should get that graded and start selling pdf’s. I think that centre seam doesn’t matter at all, in fact it is probably the only way to achieve a sharp v in a swimwear fabric. I’ve tried for a v without a seam in the centre, It just doesn’t want to hold that sharp edge.

    1. Thank you Mary! Good point on the centre seam. If it isn’t sharp, the style might lose it’s appeal to me. You’ve inspired me to re-consider what to do with this pattern. I’m going to take a breather while I finish off my other “to-do’s” and then might have a crack at it ;-).

  5. Woah Mama! Miss 5 was looking over my shoulder and said “Woah, I love that yellow one, will you make me one?”. These are both seriously fabulous. I honestly can’t see any real issues with the bikini, but I get that the print may be a good camouflage. That blue suit… sigh. If only I looked this good in a cossie and had the guts to go cupless. It’s a prerequisite for me and my terribly self-conscious bust. But that blue suit may sway me. And I wouldn’t complain about the rockin’ bod either 😉

    1. Oh thank you Jillian, AND Miss Five. My bust is virtually non-existent these days- I think BF’ing three booby obsessed babies (the third one is still reluctant to let go :-/) was the death of them. I used to pad and cup everything – so self-consciously (apart from my five glorious pregnancy/nursing enhanced years when I enjoyed a bust the only time EVER). I’m wearing a bra under the fishy one, otherwise it just looked too big across the front – there are still wrinkles but the fish hide it well. Funny though, that even though I’m quite clearly flat in the blue one, the floral and slight gathers seem to shield my self-consciousness somewhat. It feels ok, maybe lining helps too. I tried to sew in some soft cups partway through and then cut them out because I didn’t like the look.

  6. Wow-WIE Zow-WIE!! You look amazing in both of these! The blue one is especially awesome, the design is so unique – I especially love it from the side. I also love a nice robust swimsuit fabric – so many are on the thinner side and I always get nervous there will be show through when they get wet – even with a lining.

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