Summer Sewing Necessity: Child’s Swimsuit

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!!!


30 Responses to “Summer Sewing Necessity: Child’s Swimsuit”

  1. 1 Dolly June 11, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I am IMPRESSED !
    You are fearless, girl ! Congrats…..there’ll be no stopping you now !

  2. 2 Jennifer S. June 11, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Wow, I bow to you. Thank goodness I only have boys, there are two things that really frighten me about sewing – zippers and swimsuits. You’ve covered both in 2 days. You’re my hero.

  3. 3 Leslie June 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    this looks so great. go you for making a swimsuit….i would be way too scared to try that.

  4. 4 Kristen June 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Great job! It looks amazing!

  5. 5 Jennifer June 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Oh I wish I had the guts to try to make a swim suit! I have entertained the idea enough times, but never ventured so far…

  6. 6 Michelle June 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Awesome! I’d have thought you were an old hand at sewing swimsuits by looking at this one. 🙂 Your daughter is adorable. The aqua is a great color for her.

  7. 7 Q June 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Oh that’s a nice swimsuit and made by her MOMMY – what a lucky girl!

  8. 8 Michelle June 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Great job! It turned out really well!

  9. 9 Tori June 11, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Wow, that looks so good!

  10. 10 Caci June 11, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    WOW! THat is a great project for the week! I am super impressed! Way to conquer!

  11. 11 Vicki June 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I’m very impressed! Swimsuit knits are not for the faint of heart:) Great job!

  12. 12 P. June 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    That turned out great, and such cute fabric too! Bravo for your courage in going for it!

  13. 13 Michelle @ Shee Designs June 12, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Wow, I think you did excellent work on it! And you can tell she loves it 🙂

  14. 14 Jessica June 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Wow! I am impressed. Swimsuits are a little scary to make, but hers turned out wonderfully.

  15. 15 Seams Inspired June 13, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Impressive! I may have to attempt this for my daughter. Thanks for sharing! Happy Sewing!

  16. 16 Dayna June 14, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Wow! You did a marvelous job! That looks every bit as great as any in the Lands End catalog, which is where I’ve shopped for our girls in the past. Way to go! You’re an inspiration.

  17. 17 casey May 30, 2012 at 7:53 am

    wow she is so her swimsuite—–YUMMY

  18. 18 Lin September 16, 2012 at 2:35 am

    I read the comment on who wants to buy used swimwear. I just thought I would comment on the fact that soap works. It is basic chemistry, not some crazy idea we hope works. Washed used underwear is also clean. That being said – the swimsuit you made is lovely! I love reading mom blogs but have read over and over about certain used items being gross even after being washed.This leads to others being misinformed. Knowledge is power and science rocks.

    I am sure that even after being told that there is science behind soap others(who have never taken chemistry) will still argue and say they are skeeved by it. Despite anyones “feelings” -it is safe and sanitary to buy any clothing article used. Again, love the swimsuit.

  19. 19 Concerned October 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    You may want to take this down. I am an internet assesor and your page was in my database to rate. Great sewing project, but phedopiles will use this image as well. You may notice a large amount of traffic to this page, it’s not all Mom’s who want to sew swimsuits…

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  21. 21 Emelie September 16, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Looks good , so cute , and happy she liked it that much , and hope she had a lot of fun in the water with it . Also hope it was easy to pull it down for her , when she was done 🙂 Happy days and great work on the suit 🙂

  22. 22 di September 23, 2014 at 5:08 am

    I blog often and I seriously thank you for your content.
    This article has really peaked my interest. I am going
    to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information about once per week.
    I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

  23. 23 January 23, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Apppreciate this post. Willl try it out.

  24. 24 Lindsey mackey June 16, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    My name is michael waer do you live
    Im just checking if you give me a phone number please

  25. 25 mike January 6, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    mmmmmmmmmmmmm sweetie I’d love 2 see you take that off

  26. 27 davi April 1, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    such an amazing girl looking good

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