My 5-year-old daughter started swimming lessons this week, and I was surprised at her first lesson by how small her swimsuit has gotten. I mean, it’s really small. The straps pull at her shoulders and the bottom doesn’t cover, well, her bottom. Because I don’t buy clothes that were not made in the U.S. (or internationally by a company whose labor practices I trust completely), I couldn’t run out and get one at the mall or Wallyworld. I searched online, but there were slim pickings. And nobody wants to buy a used child’s swimsuit; we all know they pee in those, am I right? So I was left to make one. Gulp. I’ve never made a swimsuit before, and I couldn’t find a pattern for a one-piece at Joann’s. I couldn’t really find a good tutorial online, either. So, I got some fabric, 1/2 yard of swimsuit material and 1/2 yard of lining, and, even though I was honestly scared to try, I went for it. I used a leotard that fits my daughter well for the basic shape and sort of laid the pattern over her to decide where I wanted the armholes and legholes to fall (ie, how much chest and fanny coverage I wanted). It’s really a simple design, because, like I said, I know nothing about making a swimsuit. I just sewed on and folded over elastic on the edges rather than adding ribbing, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
It has many imperfections, and I spent a good deal of time ripping out errant stitches. She loves it, though, as you can see. Silly girl.
It fits her very well. I didn’t expect it to fit so much better than any of her store-bought swimsuits ever have. I guess that’s what happens when you make something rather than buy it. 🙂
I learned two important lessons from making this swimsuit. First, knit elastic works way better than braided elastic when you’re folding it over on armholes and leg holes. WAY better. Second, you shouldn’t be afraid to try using a new fabric or a new technique. It might not turn out exactly like you wanted it to, but projects are like children; you can’t expect perfection with your first try. 😉
Like this and want to try it yourself? Click to Get the tutorial!!!