Retro Summertime Bathing Suit

Pattern: McCall's Misses Two-Piece Bathing Suits #M5861 with help from Vogue's Rebecca Taylor Misses' Dress #V1227
Fabric: lycra spandex
Cost: $15
This bathing suit was a labor of love. I've been wanting to do piping in a bathing suit for a while, but the print combo I had wasn't quite cutting it. When I saw this print at Fabrics R Us I knew I just had to have it, and quickly ran all over the store looking for the yellow fabric so I could do the piping. Then came the great search for more bathing suit elastic, as my favorite spot seemed to be all out. Once home, I combined my Rebecca Taylor Vogue bust pattern (fresh from the mail) with an old standby, my McCall's DIY Style bathing suit pattern. The piping was done with corded elastic and my new love--the piping foot--that made it all sooo easy. The final inspiration is from a great vintage-style bathing suit feautred in the May 2008 issue of Vogue UK that I found on Pinterest.

This being my third bathing suit, I was glad that I finally seemed to be sewing straight stitches and not tangling my thread (historically, my sewing machine has NOT gotten along with swimwear). The cups also took considerable patience as I am quite narrow around the chest and often have to take things in, which can get quite complicated when dealing with piping, seams, padded cups, and spandex. I also made a few changes in the way I make a suit. For one, I basted on the elastic with Wash Away Wonder Tape rathern than sewing it on, then folded over the fabric and sewed once. This made the stitching on the inside of the suite look much cleaner. I also didn't stretch the elastic, but rather made the suit to fit and then just taped and sewed the elastic on. Finally, I also used elastic in the straps because, like with the rest of the suit, it has less give than the fabric alone, keeping the straps from stretching too much.

For the padding, I bought bathing suit pads at the store, covered them with bathing suit lining, trimmed to fit, and then sewed them into the suit:

For the piping, I covered corded elastic in yellow lycra spandex using my cording foot and a stretch stitch (I used the lightning bolt sitch). I then attached it to my bathing suit again with my piping foot and used a stretch stitch again, referencing my trusty piping tutorial.

More details:

Inspiration: Vogue UK May 2008

Check it out at BurdaStyle and PatternReview's lookalikes contest!


  1. Wow! Looks great! Making a swim suit for the impending summer has been on my to-do sewing. Yours definitely makes me want to have a crack at it!

  2. Adorable! I love how you did this - a swimsuit is on my "to do" list!

  3. Wow, that looks great ! I just don't know where I can get swimwear fabric in my area. Is there an online-shop you can recommend ?

  4. I recommend 's printed spandex. they ship all around the world, and have some cool prints. I made my first bathing suit out of their stuff

  5. Looks absolutely amazing! Great job!


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