Swimsuit Tutorial Part 2 - Making Your Own Pattern

The first thing you need to make your own pattern is a swimsuit that fits.  I used this one because it fit my daughter perfectly. 
I like to cut patterns on the fold, so the first step is to fold the suit in half.  Pinning helps keep everything flat and even.  I also pinned the bum inside so I could trace better.
To draw the pattern, I start with a straight line.  This will be placed on the fabric fold.  I find craft paper to be really great for cutting patterns.  This roll I bought at the Dollar Store.
Trace around the suit exactly as it is.  We'll add the appropriate seam allowances in the next step.
Since we'll be adding 3/8inch elastic to the leg opening, I added a 3/8inch seam allowance.  The easiest way to do this is to simply lay the elastic along your traced line and trace again. 
I added a 1/4inch seam allowance on the side and 3/8inch along the top and armhole.
Most bathing suits have the crotch seam offset to the back, so we have to add that on to our front piece.
Lay the bathing suit on the pattern as shown and trace.  Add the seam allowances....
and you've got a pattern!
Do the same for the back.
Keep in mind that crotch seam again.
Cut out the pattern pieces you've created and double check that the side seams are the same length.  You might have to make some minor adjustments.
Check the crotch seam as well.
There you have it.  Pretty straight-forward. 


  1. Thank you for posting this; your suit came out awesome :-) I'm hoping to make a tankini swimsuit for my 19 month old daughter, which I hope will make diaper changes easier. I already have some cute swimsuit fabric, I just need the guts to get started. You tutorial will be very helpful.

  2. Thanks for the bloggy tip about the paper - I just ran out and got some at the dollar store! :)

  3. Thank You for sharing it looks amazing and want to try it for my grand daughters!

  4. THanks for the tutorial. I refer to this alot when I make my daugther's tankini. I make referene to your tutorial on my blog if you don't mind.

    see my tankini with attached skirt at www.mommysewpretty.blogspot.com

  5. thank you for this wonderful tutorial it inspires me alot

  6. Great tutorial, with spring looming close I am ready to sew up one of these bad dads!

  7. I have had fabric to make my daughter a swimsuit for over a year now along with a Kwik Sew pattern. My trepidation is that I will get it all put together and it won't fit. Plus she is more modest that most and I am not convinced she will like the suit anyway. With this tutorial I feel like I can modify the pattern to be more modest and likely pattern fit it a bit before cutting it out. Thanks for sharing and alleviating some of my trepidation. Did you use a specific kind of thread?

  8. Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial! I've created my own pattern using your instructions and linked back to your post. I'd love it if you checked it out! https://monkeysmiles.com/2016/03/28/swim-suit-pattern-tutorial/