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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.

Anouk Swimsuit Add-On Tutorial

New Items, Sewing Patterns, swimwear, Tutorial

I’m in swimsuit mode this summer, despite the not-so-sunny weather. It’s been a pretty cool and really rainy summer so far, but I guess it’s still early!

I’ve just finished up a free add-on tutorial for my Anouk Bodysuit. This 25-page tutorial will show you how to sew the Anouk Bodysuit as a swimsuit! 

The tutorial includes instructions on how to sew a fully lined Anouk Swimsuit, with elastic stabilized bindings and straps.

This tutorial does not go over the ballet-wrap variation, but the technique is essentially the same – just instead of sewing a centre front seam, you finish the neckline edges with binding, then overlap down the centre front, just like directed in the Bodysuit Instructions.

There are also various ways you can tie the straps!

I really like the straps on this. I can’t wear halter straps – the weight of my boobs on my neck causes migraines. I know I’m not alone in this! This swimsuit eliminates that issue. You can criss-cross the straps in the back or front, or just do straight shoulder straps. They then connect at the centre back.

This swimsuit also has underbust elastic. I can’t wear a one piece without it, I just don’t find it comfortable. However, if you are more petite in the bust-area, you can omit that step!

This swimsuit utilizes similar techniques as my recent Cindy tutorial, so those videos make for a great reference, in addition to my tutorial.

You can download the tutorial Add-On HERE and you can purchase the Anouk Bodysuit Pattern HERE.

Video Tutorial: Ava Swimsuit Bottoms

Sewing Patterns, swimwear, Tutorial, Videos

The Ava Pattern is my favourite pattern to use for making bikini bottoms. I find the cut to be comfortable and flattering on my figure. Perfect for chasing toddlers around on the beach, or just a more retro vibe.


In this short video tutorial I’ll show you how to sew the Ava Pattern as a swimsuit bottom. It’s very simple, but I use some different techniques to finish the waist and legline so it looks less lingerie and more beach.

You’ll need a couple different supplies. First of all, you’ll need swim-appropriate fabric, so something like a nylon spandex/lycra blend is ideal. In my Cindy Bikini Post, I outline some places to buy swimsuit fabric. You’ll also need swimsuit lining, in the same yardage as your exterior fabric.

You’ll also need swim elastic, so something that is chlorine resistant, though really almost any plain elastic will do. Just looking for something 1/4″-3/8″ wide. The elastic is not visible on the finished garment, but I try to get something that coordinates with my exterior fabric – white for light coloured bathing suits and black for darker fabrics. I also use a twin needle. I’ve used the Ava Pattern for my swimsuit, but really any panty pattern you like should work!

Here’s the Tutorial! Subscribe to my channel to be the first to see new videos.

Share your makes with me on Instagram, use the hashtag #OLSBikini so I can see them!

Pattern Hack: Strappy Cindy Bikini Top with Underwire

Sewing Patterns, swimwear, Tutorial, Videos

Looking for a weekend summer sewing project? I’ve got just the thing for you!

I made one of these bikinis last summer and I wore it SO often to the beach with Isabel. We are lucky to have a nice sandy beach just down the road and we spend a lot of time down there (not so much this rainy summer though!).

I used my Cindy Pattern to make this bikini top. My Cindy Pattern is a fairly simple to sew underwire bra with full coverage through the cups and a long-line band. This bra is designed to be sewn with stretch fabric through the cups. It’s a personal preference of mine, I’m not a big fan of foam or rigid cups. I like a softer fit and look.

I altered the pattern just slightly by omitting the centre back pattern pieces and cutting off the “tabs” on the upper cups.

I love this pattern as a bikini top because it is supportive and offers coverage while still being stylish and a little sexy.

You’ll need the same basic materials as you would if you were sewing the top as a bra, but with a couple of substitutions. You’ll need swimsuit fabric – so a fabric that is normally a nylon / spandex / lycra blend. You’ll also need swimsuit lining – I use it to line the cups. The band is lined in power mesh.  Get a little bit of extra fabric to use as your binding and straps. I also use some rubber swim elastic, but pretty much any plain elastic will do! Look for something 3/8″ or narrower.

I’ve decided to offer this tutorial in a two part video series on my YouTube Channel. It’s quite long, with each part being about 30 minutes.

My local Fabricland sells an assortment of swimsuit fabric and some lining, but I find they tend to be pretty expensive. The Sport Lycra from Spoonflower (which I used here) is amazing and comes in endless prints. I’m pretty sure also has an assortment of swimwear fabrics. Spandex World is also a great resource, though if you’re in Canada, shipping can be expensive. I also always recommend supporting Etsy sellers!

Here is Part 1 of the tutorial:

And Part 2:

In this video series, I show you how to sew self-binding with encased elastic. I like this finish for swimwear as it provides some extra stability to your openings, and when top stitched with a twin needle, gives a professional finish. These finishes and techniques  can easily be applied to other sewing patterns too!

I was excited to take some of these pictures in my very lush back yard and newly decorated back porch.  The previous owner of our house did an amazing job landscaping. Other than maintenance, there’s not much to do with our yard. It’s a gardeners delight. Isabel loves to run around the paths and play explorer. Just last weekend Dan and I spent some time putting up some curtains, lights and other bits and bobs in the back porch. When I first saw this house it’s part of why I fell in love with it. It feels like my very own cottage.

New! The Anouk Bodysuit

Design Diary, Lingerie, New Items, Sewing Patterns, swimwear

You’ll see a few short, but picture-heavy posts coming through today! I’ve been working hard finishing up a couple of patterns that I have been pouring over for months… But, I think my effort was well worth it!

The first new pattern I’ll show you today is my Anouk Bodysuit. The pattern will walk you through how to sew it with snaps at the crotch so you can wear it as lounge/lingerie/casual wear, but you can easily make this into a swimsuit. In fact, I’m going to do a tutorial in the coming weeks to show you how to make that very simple alteration.

This pattern comes with two neckline variations: a simple v-neck and a ballet-inspired faux wrap front. The v-neckline on this bodysuit is a little different form my Abigail Swimsuit, which has a true triangle cut cup. I find the Anouk is more comfortable and flattering on my body type, which has a fuller bust.

The instructions will show you how to line the cups and add supportive underbust elastic.

I really love the shape of the back – it was a spin off from my Romy Bra.

Also with this pattern I will show you how to do a lace overlay. I wanted to show you how to place the lace so that you can change things up and experiment with your own lace overlays. Adding an overlay is so easy once you know how to do it.

I’m really excited to see how you guys interpret this pattern! I am totally loving it, and can’t wait to make a swimsuit out of it.

You can purchase my new Bodysuit Pattern directly from my website HERE or on Etsy!

Pattern Hack: Strappy / Sporty High Waist Bikini Part 1

swimwear, Tutorial



Since moving to Washago, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the beach with Isabel, which means I need a few new bathing suits. I’ve always found it difficult finding RTW bathing suits, since I have a full bust and like a fit with a little more coverage so that I can, you know, actually swim. At the same time, I want something that looks awesome.

So, I made this suit a couple weeks ago and it has had a lot of wear already! I used the Amber Bra for the top and the Panties from my Cindy Pattern for the bottom – I like them because they have  high cut leg, which I find more flattering for my petite stature.

Aside from the patterns, you’ll need the following supplies:

  1. Swimwear Fabric -I used a print and a solid for binding
  2. Nylon swim lining
  3. 1/4″ elastic (you can use clear elastic)
  4. Twin Needle
  5. Two spools of thread
  6. 5/8″ (or larger) metal ring



  1. Cut the pattern out of your swim fabric & lining. Taper the Side Back down to a point.


2. Baste the lining to the swimsuit front.


3. Pin the side front swimsuit fabric to the front swimsuit along the curved seam and baste together (right sides facing). Flip over and pin the swimsuit lining along the curved seam of the front swimsuit, so that right sides of the lining are facing and stitch together. This creates a totally encased seam and anchors your lining so you don’t get slipping between the two layers. Repeat on opposite side. If you are feeling confident, this can all be done in one step.






4. Cut a couple long lengths of your contrast fabric to create a binding. I cut two 2″ wide lengths (2″ by approximately 54″) and one 3″ wide length (3″ by approximately 30″) for my size small top.


5.  With the right side of the binding facing the right side of the swimsuit top, baste binding along neckline using about a 1/2″ Seam Allowance. Gently pull on the binding to create a bit of tension to carefully contour the edge of the top.


6. Load your sewing machine up with your twin needle and two spools of thread. Fold the binding towards the wrong side and top stitch in place using your twin needle. I do not double fold my swim biding. I just fold it back once and trim back the excess along the wrong side. This way is quick, easy, and less bulky.



7. Trim the small strap tab back to a point. Apply the binding along the side in a the same manner as steps 5&6, but leave a 6″ long tail extending past the neckline. As in the previous step, fold the binding in half and use a twin needle to stop stitch. I do a single fold, then trim away the excess fabric.





Extra Credit: add some stability and strength to your straps by wrapping the binding that forms your neck strap around a piece of elastic. I am heavy chested and always find stitches in my swimsuit straps pop! Adding clear swimwear elastic (or something heavier) will help. (I’m really sorry I didn’t take pictures of this part! the next step will give you some idea of what I mean)

8. Now we are going to create the strap details for the back. I’m adding elastic to mine for some strength and stability. This is optional – you may opt to just sew a traditional spaghetti style strap/tube. I created by straps by basting a length of elastic to the wrong side of a strip of my binding. I folded the binding 3 times to fully encase the elastic. Using a twin needle, I stitched down one edge, then simply trimmed back the excess. This is a quick and easy way. You may opt to double fold your binding, but I find it gets a little bulky. I then cut the strap into 4 lengths of 8″.






9. I used the wider piece of biding to for my band. In the exact same method as in previous steps, baste the binding onto the lower edge of the top, pulling on the binding as you go to contour the bottom of the top. Fold to desired width, and top stitch in place, trimming back the excess fabric once you are done. Leave approximately a 1″ tail on one end and a 4-5″ tail on the other.



10. With the right sides together, pin and stitch band together.  Fold seam allowance to one side and top stitch down.



11. Wrap ends of strap around your metal ring and stitch in place using a tight zig-zag stitch.


12. Wrap one end of each of the 4 straps you made previously around the ring and stitch using a tight zig zag stitch. Pin the opposite end of each of the 4 straps evenly along the band. I used a tight zig-zag again to anchor them along the band.



Last year I posted a video demonstrating how to apply swimsuit binding. You can view it HERE.  To add more stability to the edges of your suit, you can add clear swimsuit elastic. I didn’t have any on hand, so I omitted it, and so far have found it to be just fine!