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In case you didn’t know, July is National Bikini Month in America, so I’ve put together some patterns and tips for DIY-ing your own swimwear— read on for the patterns + tips!

50s Maillot (as pictured above):

I love retro swimwear with a modern twist. If you do too, try our Alison 1950s maillot. 56 of our members have made one too, click here if you’d like to see them.


If you’re into rusching + gathers or just have a thing for tankinis, you should try our golden rusched swimsuit. It has a good amount of coverage and it’s also chic and fun.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie:

If you love the look of a string bikini, then our Jessica bikini can be your new playground for experimenting with fabric scraps and remnants. If you like a halter top bikini, try this free download.

Now onto the tips— The color, fabric and style of your swimwear is totally up to you, and have fun personalizing your swimming costumes. I know that Spandex can be tricky to sew with, so sometimes I’ll opt to use rayon or cotton jersey for variety. Below I’ve put together some mood boards to share my favorite three swimsuit patterns and inspiring ways to interpret them. Here are some of our top tips for sewing swimwear:

FABRIC: Nylon Spandex is your best bet for a stretchy, quick-to-dry and versatile swimsuit. Women’s and girl’s swimwear call for two-way stretch fabrics, the most common being Spandex and Lycra. These materials have a body-conscious stretch and dry quickly.

LINING: A four-way stretch fabric made from 100% Nylon prevents a wet bathing suit from becoming see-through and keeps certain body parts from peeking out.

STRETCH NEEDLE: A stretch needle in your sewing machine to sew Nylon Spandex or similar materials is a must. Not to be confused with a ball point needle, which may not have quite enough of a scarf for stretch knits. A scarf is the indentation at back of needle. A long scarf helps eliminate skipped stitches by allowing bobbin hook to loop thread more easily. A shorter scarf requires a more perfectly timed machine.

ZIG-ZAG STITCH: This stitch allows for the swimsuit material to be sewn but able to stretch without the stitches breaking or ripping, which will better accommodate a body hugging suit.

ELASTIC: Be sure to add elastic banding for the top of a men’s swimsuit, as well as around the leg openings or bodice openings of a women’s suit.

MAKE A PATTERN LARGER or SMALLER: Click this link to learn how to make an existing pattern larger or smaller to accommodate yourself or someone else.


  • Missing

    Jul 13, 2017, 09.49 PMby mehtick

    Nicely written blog post here! The information from this post helped me in my A Simple Dissertation Writing Guide and that is the most amazing thing for me right now. I am just so stoked!

  • Simba_nov_06_large

    Jul 29, 2015, 08.36 AMby nrobson

    useful tips/reminders =D

  • Missing

    Aug 17, 2014, 04.18 PMby Rebecca Wood

    I want the wrap suit from the 50s montage too – how do I find it though? It doesn’t seem to be part of the pattern?

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    Oct 6, 2012, 11.44 AMby RydiaV

    These tips were very useful to me!

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    Jul 13, 2011, 06.16 PMby nouvellegamine

    where are the mods? i don’t want to see body snarking here on burdastyle. celebrate every body type in a positive way please.

  • Befunky_img_20130826_083902_large

    Jul 7, 2011, 12.23 PMby BlancheOfArts

    Just finished my first bathing suit. I based it on Alison, but made a two piece. Now I´m off to finish a second one, also based on Alison, but made in two pieces, tankini style, with a ruffle on the bottom…Can´t wait to show them off! :D

  • Meprofilebarn_large

    Jul 6, 2011, 06.42 PMby Justine of Sew Country Chick

    I am in the process of making a vintage woven bathing suit from a 1960’s pattern. It’s cut on the bias and the construction techniques are incredibly complicated!

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    Jul 5, 2011, 07.27 PMby jrosebud

    Thanx, great tips i plan on making the alison bathing suit for this summer!!

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    Jul 5, 2011, 10.51 AMby freaky-philomeen

    and thank you for the helpful tips on materials, great!!

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    Jul 5, 2011, 10.50 AMby freaky-philomeen

    ooh, finally some diamonds to wear on the beach that will totally draw the attention to the garment and not to one’s imperfect body shape…hope that works, would boost my self-confidence ;)))

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    Jul 5, 2011, 10.41 AMby makurochan

    thanks for finally showing some larger girls looking sexy and feminine! the girls in the 50’s mood board look amazing (and i want that wrap look suit so badly >.<). now if we can just get some more of the cute flattering patterns on the site graded up to cover more sizes….

    2 Replies
    • Drawn_photo_large

      Jul 5, 2011, 08.44 PMby ravensojourn


      that’s what stood out to me.

      at first i didn’t even want to click the link and end up discouraged by ultra “model” types in bikinis but now i’m encouraged to give it a go :)

    • Missing

      Aug 17, 2014, 04.33 PMby Rebecca Wood

      I agree – I’m a UK size 20 and that wrap suit would look amazing on my curvy, 38FF figure. It’s exactly the style of costume I have been looking for.

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    Jul 4, 2011, 04.45 PMby variantvi

    :3 so excited . gotta try one of these… Nothing better than a bathing suit or bikini that is a custom fit

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    Jul 4, 2011, 04.19 PMby Laura Bolčina

    Love the Cindy suit panties! Might make them to complement the bathing suit I made myself a while ago..

    • This is a question
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