It's February...Why Wouldn't You Sew A Swimsuit?

Allow me to first point out that I have been ridiculously practical in my sewing lately.  I made pants for my kid because, well, she needed some that actually fit her.  And I made coats for my kids because, well, they actually needed those too.  You see that, three things that I made that were actually needed!

So you'll cut me some slack for sewing something entirely impractical, right?  Although, truth be told, it's only impractical because it's a bathing suit and it's now approximately 40 degrees outside.  In another way it's totally practical because O actually does need a new bathing suit for this summer.

So while going down the rabbit hole that is following links posted on blogs the other week I came across Peek-a-Boo Patterns, but more importantly I came across the pattern for the Waikiki Swimsuit.  And in stumbling across this pattern it was if the stars aligned because:

1) O actually needs a new bathing suit

2) I'm trying my best to work with the fabric that I have on hand rather than buying more right now

3) A couple years ago my mom cleaned out whatever fabric that she had laying around the house for the past thirty years and in doing so, she gave me a couple yards of swimsuit fabric.

Now I should say that if this fabric looks a little on the eighties side (a la Rainbow Brite), it's probably because it is from the eighties (and it even has a faint moth ball smell to prove it).  But other than that it's in perfect condition and even better, the rainbow colored fabric came with some solid green swimsuit fabric that actually coordinates perfectly.  See?  Stars aligned.

Now let's be clear here.  I've never sewn a bathing suit before and I've never even sewn anything bathing suit-like (like a leotard) so I didn't quite know what I was signing up for when I began this project, but I'm happy to say that it was actually much more straight-forward than I thought it would be.   First of all, I was afraid that the swimsuit fabric would be difficult to work with (kind of like a slinky knit) but it was actually surprisingly easy to work with and it didn't even curl up when you cut it like jersey.  Woo-hoo!.  Also, I sewed most of the swimsuit on my regular machine and only used the serger to finish the inside seam so that it would be nice and pretty.  That step wasn't necessary though so if you don't have a serger don't worry about it - you can still sew this this little bathing suit.  As for the other seams, the patterns recommends a twin needle for a more "professional" look, but truth be told, I've never gotten around to breaking out my twin needle and figuring out how to use it (yes, my laziness is a bit embarrassing).  And I also don't mind the look of a zig-zag stitches on knits.  I know that it drives some home-sewists crazy but I've come to realize that it really is the most functional stitch that I can easily do on my machine with knits and I've made my peace with it (this blog post helped with that). 

As for this little suit, based on O's chest measurement I cut out a size 3 (even though she'll be four in three months) and the fit seems to be right on.  I chose to put three little ruffles on the bottom, but if I were to make this suit again I think I would leave off the bottom most ruffles as it seems to hit in a weird spot.  Oh, and the fabric that I used for the lining was just another regular swimsuit fabric so don't feel the need to purchase special swimsuit lining fabric if you don't want to or can't find it.  Regular swimsuit fabric as a lining seems to work just fine. 

I'm kind of hoping that I have enough fabric left over to make a matching one for C because little kids in matching swimsuit is just the kind of ridiculousness that I like.  No, strike that.  It's the kid of ridiculousness that I love. 

Pattern: Waikiki One-Piece Swimsuit by Peek-a-Boo Patterns
Size: 3
Fabric: Four way stretch nylon-lycra swimsuit fabric (I just happened to have mine on-hand, but there's some cute swimsuit fabrics here if you're looking for some.  I had to control myself not to buy the black and white gingham one.  Ah, gingham.  Why are you so lovely?)

In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links, but, as always, all opinions are my own. 


  1. Ha, that's funny, I just bought some swimsuit fabric and a peekaboo pattern to make s a swimsuit too. that fabric is great! And your model looks adorable in her suit.

  2. Too cute once again, especially those ruffles! :-)

  3. Go for it! My mom always made me and my sister wear matching bathing suits. She said it made it easier to find us at the pool/ocean, she only had to look for one pattern!

  4. Un-freakin-believably cute. That fabric is awesome and yes, C sure does need something to match!

  5. i'm pretty sure i had a swimsuit just like that in the 80s. it's perfect!

  6. Time for a Hawaiian vacation, I say! The suit looks awesome!!

  7. Och they have indoor pools, right? ;o)

  8. a swimsuit!? totally impressed. and that fabric is awesome!!!

  9. Um, seriously? This is awesome! I love the halter style. And the rainbow-ness of it all!

  10. Ha, I saw that first picture and thought Rainbow Brite right away--looooved Rainbow Brite back in the day. Still do, apparently, because I love that fabric. BTW, swimsuits in February are totally practical in these parts; it's supposed to be in the mid 80's by the end of the week. :-)

  11. that last picture is hilarious! our girls could be best friends! ;) so silly! i am impressed that you felt comfortable enough to sew this together! it would have scared the shit out of me. what needle to use? what thread to use? what if i screw up this awesome vintage fabric?! excellent work my friend!

  12. This is SO cute! I saw it posted on Peek a Boo's blog and had to click through. I am all over that fabric and I know my daughter would be too. Super bummed to hear that it's "vintage", but how lucky for you! Nice work.


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