Swimsuit for curvy body types
There are pieces of clothing where fitting issues are not too apparent – and then there’s swimwear. A swimsuit that does not fit is such a pain. Especially if you’re curvy. Then you have to constantly check that your boobs don’t fall out or that your ass is still covered 😂 The perfect swimsuit should also not be too tight so it squishes your figure, but not too loose so that it does not hold up 🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪
The good thing about sewing your own clothes is that you can avoid these nigthmares. And sewing swimwear is really not that difficult, I promise! You have to keep two important things in mind, though:
- You need a pattern that fits your body type!
- And you need the right materials!
Sewing patterns for curvy body types
Well, the choice of swimsuits for curvy women is still rather limited. Most patterns don’t have cup sizes, are not drafted for plus size women, don’t have any support for your breasts. Very frustrating. Now, when I checked these patterns at the begin of this summer, I found two exceptions:
Here are the pins for the two exceptions: The Cygne Swimsuit by Small Bobbins (design by Hari Ito Lingerie) is designed for sizes 32-52 and each size comes with three cup sizes (AB-cup; CD-cup; EF-Cup, approx.). The second one is the Ipswich Swimsuit von Cashmerette which is a plus-size swimsuit for (US) size 12-32 and it has an integrated bra for extra support.
I decided to go with the Cygne Swimsuit because I like the neckline better. The Cygne Swimsuit does not have an integrated bra, so I was worried that the girls would not get enough support. I was pleasantly surprised that the swimsuit is supportive enough for my size. I did run into the “side-boob”-problem, but more about that and how I corrected it below.
The swimsuit pattern contains a PDF with pattern alteration guides. I always love if indie patterns do this! The alterations can be used to shorten the pattern (or elongate it), change the leg rise, adjust the back and so on.The pattern is designed for slightly taller women (173cm) – since I’m 165cm, I shortened the pattern by 8cm. Now since this is stretch-fabric, I did not shorten it by 8cm, but rather by 4cm. I used the pattern markings for the waist to cut 2cm above and below the waist.
You need three things for the Cygne swimsuit:
- Swimwear fabric (lycra for instance)
- Swimsuit lining + powernet for the side cup linings
- Swimsuit elastics
I tried three different swimsuit fabrics, all of which are comfortable to wear and move in.
I used the high-quality FILPAR elastics for my swimsuits. Since I wanted a swimsuit that could support my curves, I went with the more expensive one and it did not disappoint. The others I tested were a bit too stretchy or too thin.The FILPAR elastic is really strong and has great recovery. I bought it from B,Wear. The owner, Bodil, is such a lovely person and she has high-quality goods in her store which ensures you’ll never get disappointed. I started buying my lingerie-making supplies there and now it’s basically the only store I buy lingerie and swimsuit notions from 😂 ❤️
I bought the swimsuit lining from Bodil B,Wear as well. Here I haven’t tested out other products, though.
Sewing swimwear: tips and tricks
First off, it’s not rocket science to sew your own swimwear. Don’t get discouraged. If you’ve got a good pattern and good materials, you’re all set.
As I own an overlock, I sewed on my elastics directly with the overlock. The instructions of the swimsuit also contains directions to sewing on elastics without an overlock.
Tip: Swimwear with an overlock
If you have an overlock: You can most likely thread your elastics!! This will make all the difference and will give you excellent freedom to stretch the elastic while sewing.
Tip: Use powernet to line the side cups
The side cups are lined - and instead of swimwear lining I used powernet. Powernet is a strong lingerie-fabric that has an excellent recovery rate. That means it does not stretch out even if you stretch it repeatedly. Using it to line the side cups gives your breasts more stability!
Tip: Sewing front top to bottom:
Once you sew the front pieces together, make sure you sew in an elastic. The instructions also mention this, but if you're curvy or plus size, don't skip it. It will ensure that your ladies stay in place.
Tip: Lining peaks out!
The bottom front piece is lined. Now if you sew it to the top pieces, it's possible that the linig will show while wearing (see foto below). That's not that great. To avoid it: a) use lining that fits your outter fabric or b) sew a piece of outter fabric to the top of the lining!
Pattern alteration for larger cup sizes
As mentioned above, the only criticism I have is that the swimsuit gave me some serious side-boobs. The picture on the left shows you clearly what I mean – the rolls under the armsycle is not great. Now it’s not that visible when you’re swimming, so no worries. But there’s also an easy fix: shortening the arcsycle. The right picture shows you that the armcycle is more covered, avoiding the side-boob effect 😂
To remove the side boobs, you need to shorten the armsycle. At the front pieces, I elongated the seams by about 2cm (2/3in). I also added length to the back side seam.
I really love the two swimsuits I made. They fit my body type and make me feel amazing when I wear them. They are a bit on the sexy side, I have to say, but I love it. I haven’t had such a well-fitting swimsuit since I was 15 😍.