Beyond the lingerie drawer: Using Lingerie Patterns for Swimwear


Sadly, I haven’t spent nearly as much time at the beach this year as I would have liked… the weather just has not been cooperating. But, we still have a good month left of beach weather here in central Ontario and I plan on making the most of it!

I get a lot of messages about how to make swimsuits using my lingerie patterns. It’s not too different from sewing them as lingerie, but there are a few changes I usually make. I’ll list them out here.

  1. Find a suitable fabric. Something Spandex. Within THIS post you will find some good sources for swim fabric.
  2. Line it. Line the whole damn thing in swimwear lining or spandex fabric. Do this to prevent your suit from being see-through, and clinging to every nook and cranny. You don’t want your crannies clung to.
  3. Use an elastic hemmed edge  (learn about that here) or self binding (learn more here). Picot elastic or FOE makes a garment look too lingerie-like in my opinion.
  4. Make Self Straps (which you can also learn about in This Video.
  5. Substitute a hook and eye closure for long ties, straps, or a g-hook

Almost any bra or panty pattern can be converted into lingerie. Here I’m going to show you some that I have made (my entire bathing suit collection is me-made using my own patterns) as well as some that other lingerie designers and sewists have made! I hope you find this inspiring and helpful! Now go get your stitch on and hit the beach!

  1. The Anouk Bodysuit as One-Piece Swimsuit. Get the details here!

2. My strappy back Cindy+Ava Bikini. Here’s the top and here’s the bottom!

3. Another Ava Bottom with a Sarah top. I made this shortly after Isabel was born!

4. I used my Amber Bra for this tan-line nightmare but super cute swimsuit. I paired it with the bottoms from my Cindy pattern which have a higher cut leg.

5. This is my oldest and all time favourite bikini. It’s a basic Ava Bottom paired with a boned Jasmine Top. Seriously, I’ve had this since 2013 and I love it to death.  Get the tutorial for a Boned Jasmine Here.

6. Evie La Luve used her Jaime Bodysuit to make this floral number. She says,

“I’ve used my Jamie Bodysuit pattern. I’ve used scuba and lined the whole thing with swim lining. Instead of using fold over and picot elastic I’ve used self made binding, incorporating rubber swim elastic. There were a few minor adjustments to the pattern pieces. First I adjusted the bra back so that it would fit a bikini closure, which i’ve used instead of the back closure usually required for this pattern. I also joined the panties front and crotch pattern pieces to eliminate the front crotch seam!”

7. Madalynne paired her patterns with some Spoonflower Sport lycra for her halter bikini. She says,

“As long as the percentage of stretch is the same or very similar, a lingerie pattern can be used for swimwear. This swimsuit, which I appropriately named August, is a combination of 2 free patterns I offer on my website, Sierra and Noelle. I transferred the bust darts into shirring at the neck and created a channeling so that I could put a tie through it. Obviously, the fabric changed. I used printed Sport Lycra from Spoonflower and swimsuit lining from Bra Makers Supply. Easy peasy to sew.”

9. Ying from Tailor Made Shop also used the Noelle Pattern to make these tropical swim bottoms.

9. Last but not least, Susan from Measure Twice Cut Once used Sophie Hines Euler Bra for this cute longline bikini top. I love the mix of patterns.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I was REALLY inspired by this post! Especially the strappy Cindy Bikini top, and the Amber bra with the tan-line nightmare back. I am really impressed with what I came up with but I’m saving it for a cruise in 3 weeks, so I want to do the photos “on location” and then blog 🙂

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