Feminine swimwear is one of the most important packing items for the ladies when a family is going on a vacation near the water. It will be up to your family to determine what is modest for you. But, since we found some things that we love, we are going to share them with you. Maybe they’ll even give you some ideas!
Last September, our family traveled out to Maryland and Pennsylvania for the HSLDA National Conference and a visit with my brother. We enjoyed spending time on the Chesapeake Bay at his cottage. Activities included tubing, jet skiing, and cruising the Chesapeake surrounds in sturdy and stalwart Bumps.
Shannon (L.) is making a splash with this very cute nautical swimwear of her own creation. For years now, she has made an impact on my daughter’s taste by sharing her creative sewing skills and ideas on feminine dressing.
Like Shannon, you can pair your swim top with board shorts or capris. My daughter chose to make her own skirt with fitted shorts underneath because she wanted the skirt in navy with a ruffle. Maybe she’ll post a tutorial on that later.
Inspired by Shannon’s swim top, my daughter found some navy and white striped swim fabric, and she made her own pattern and swim top. It was really simple to make. She shares the instructions so we can make one, too! (you can also do this with no ruching for a quick-dry, plain swim top)
Ruched Adult Swimwear Top Tutorial
1.) Choose a high quality swimwear fabric. I recommend the Fabric Fairy for the most beautiful and classy swimwear fabrics.
She chose the striped fabric to be the top. One (1) yard should be enough for your top.
2.) Fold your swimwear fabric, with wrong sides together. Make a big fold of fabric near the bottom of the fabric, adding a total of 18″ inches (9″ each side of the fold). This does not have to be exact, so don’t stress! The extra fabric becomes the ruching later on. (Do not add the additional 18″ if you don’t want ruching.)
2.) Fold your fabric, with wrong sides together. Make a big fold of fabric near the bottom of the fabric, adding a total of 18″ inches (9″ each side of the fold). This does not have to be exact, so don’t stress! The extra fabric becomes the ruching later on. (Do not add the additional 18″ if you don’t want ruching.)
3.) Lay your favorite tank top on your swimwear fabric. Put the hem of the tank at the bottom of the fabric.
You will not need to hem your top as swim fabric does not fray and makes a perfect edge when cut. (Update 9-2017: after 3 seasons of light to moderate wear, this top still looks great and has not faded).
Make sure that any print or stripes are laying correctly.
4.) Take out your pincushion and mark the fabric with your pins, outlining the tank. For the sides, pin 1/2″ from the edge of the tank (this extra fabric becomes your seam allowance).
At the top, design with your pins how you would like your cap sleeves to look. You can go sleeveless or halfway between cap sleeve and sleeveless.
This is where you get to put on your ‘fashion-designer’ hat.
Here is the finished product to peek at if you need any help with this step. You can see that there is NO hemming AT ALL!
5.) Now, go ahead and cut the top out of the fabric, cutting along your pin lines. Along the torso, the line may be uneven due to the extra 18″ of fabric you added. Trim it to make the edges even and symmetrical. You can cut your neckline following exactly your tank top if you like that neckline, or you can make a boat neck like I did by making it wider in the shoulders and higher along your collarbone. This is up to you!
We recommend to mark exactly what you want with pins before you cut!
6.) Turn your fabric so that the right sides are together. Now stitch 4 seams: 2 shoulder seams and 2 side seams. Turn back right side out and try on. If you need to do any alterations, now is the time to do it. The top will be w.a.a.a.a.y to long on you at this point if you are ruching, but don’t worry- it’s almost done!
7.) Cut a piece of elastic as long as you want the torso of your top to be.
a. Pin both ends of the elastic to the fabric, one underneath the arm, and the other at the hem of the garment, which will end up at your hips.
b. Starting under one arm, on the inside of the fabric, hold the piece of elastic onto the fabric and stretch it without stretching your fabric. Pull to make the elastic run the entire length of the side seam by stretching it. If necessary, pin in several places so you know how much you need to stretch.
c. Place on your machine and put the machine needle in the elastic and fabric before you begin to hold it while you stretch the elastic.
d. Stitch the stretched elastic to the un-stretched fabric along the inside seam. This will ruche your fabric along the sides. Do this for both sides.
This is what it should look like on the inside:
And this is what it should look like on the outside:
It should be ready for wearing now!! Let us know if you decide to make one and how it turns out. If you have any tips, please let us know those as well so we can make this post even better for you!
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Thanks for reading!