THE 2017 EDIT
The original Swim Bottoms pattern that I posted here a couple of years ago, was one of my first digital patterns, so I thought it was about time to update it.
There are just small changes to the original pattern, but the fit is much better. The only change that you need to take note of as far as construction is concerned, is that the updated pattern uses 10mm braided swimwear elastic in place of the original 6mm, as the 10mm is easier to sew and more comfortable to wear.
Additionally, if you would like to make swim bottoms that are not fully lined, but have lining only in the gusset area, head over to our Girls Nifty Knickers post and download that pattern, construct the swim bottoms as per the Knickers directions, changing back to this post when it comes to the elastic section!
Summer is in full swing here, and Christmas holidays and endless days down the beach are about to be upon us. The girls need to wear rash shirts for sun protection. That hole in the ozone layer, we really notice it here – tomorrows UV index rating is forecast to be 13 with sun protection recommended between 7.40 am and 3.50 pm. But anyone who has negotiated a toilet run with a wet one-piece and a rash shirt knows that swim bottoms are the go 🙂
Swimwear is one of those things that is so much less expensive to make than to buy, and once you get the hang of it, it is not nearly as scary as it seems. Totally manageable, promise 🙂 If you have never sewn swimwear before, this is a good article on swimwear basics.
I drafted up a pattern for my 5 year old and, since I was already grading it to a size 3 for my little one I decided to go whole hog and grade from a size 2 to a 10 for your convenience.
NOTE: I have only tested this pattern in sizes 3,5,7 and 8. if you sew this pattern up and have notes on the fit, I would love to hear about it in the comments.
You will need:
- FREE Super Summer Swim Bottoms Pattern.
To download the FREE pattern, subscribe to the Sew4bub Weekly Newsletter (by clicking on this link). After you sign up (and confirm your email address), you will receive access to the whole Sew4bub Free Pattern library. Yay! (This is a password protected page – check your newsletter sign up email or latest newsletter for the password)
- Between 38cm and 45cm of swimwear Lycra and the same amount of lining depending on the size you are making (this pattern will only use 35cm width of the fabric so you will get multiple pairs from the required length)
- Between 120cm and 140cm of 6mm braided swimwear elastic again depending on the size you are making
2017 UPDATE: If you have downloaded the updated version of this pattern, please use 10mm swimwear elastic.
So, first thing lay out your cut pieces like the picture above and overlock (or use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine) your side seams.
After you’ve sewn the side seams, turn your swim bottoms right side out. you will notice that the side seams are now hidden between your main fabric and lining.
The next thing I do is to overlock (you could use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine) the main fabric to the lining at the leg and waist openings. This is an optional step but makes the next step sooooooooooo much easier 🙂
Next cut your elastic lengths. I cut mine a little longer than required and mark the starting point as shown. this allows me to have something to hold when I start sewing (picture 2). I then trim off this tail before I finish attaching the elastic (picture 3).
Zigzag your elastic piece along the inside edge of your waistband over your overlocking. The elastic is just slightly shorter than the waistband. You really don’t want to stretch the elastic at all as you attach it to the front part of the waistband and then apply a gentle stretch across the back so that you end up with the ends of the elastic overlapping by 1cm. Secure as shown in picture 4.
Then repeat the process for each of the leg holes. Again you want all of the elastic stretch in the back part of the leg hole (under the butt).
The next, and last step is to fold your elastic inwards towards the lining and topstitch. For maximum stretch I use a double needle with wooly nylon in the bobbin ( I recently posted some testing I did on this here), and gently stretch the elastic and fabric as I sew it.
And there you have it, swim bottoms, just like a bought pair but at a fraction of the cost.
I bought my swimwear lycra and swimwear lining at The Remnant Warehouse, If you are in Australia, I highly recommend them, they have a great range of plains and some lovely prints as well as lining and elastic. The delivery is fast and they often have sales offering free delivery. Def my go-to, the prices are amazing.
If you make some Super Summer Swim Bottoms, be sure to grab some pics and hashtag them #SEW4BUB I would love to see your creations!
As always, thanks for reading.