HelenHelen's Makes, Love to Sew Podcast14 Comments

Sporty Swimwear

This week we are diving in deep into swimwear over on the Love to Sew Podcast! I hope you go check out the episode because it is full of awesome tips and techniques for sewing swimsuits as well as a great discussion about being body positive at the beach.

I have made several swimsuits so far on my sewing journey and learned a bit more about what I like each time. For this year’s swimsuit, I wanted to try drafting a sportier swim top to go with my high waisted bottoms. This gives me major surfer girl vibe, which I am loving (even though I don’t surf).

When I go to the beach or pool I like to have FUN! I am not a sun-tanner or a hardcore lengths swimmer, but somewhere in between. I love being in the water, exploring the west coast shoreline with my snorkle, and taking long walks along the water’s edge (cliche, I know). All of these activities can benefit from a comfortable swimsuit that I can be active in while still feeling beautiful and confident.

I used the Closet Case Patterns Sophie Swimsuit for my bottoms because I like the shaping of this suit. It has paneling, so you can play with patterns, but I made a solid pair in this teal nylon swimsuit fabric from Blackbird Fabrics. I also made a pair in Black that looks great with this top, too!

The top is made from striped nylon (also from Blackbird) and it was inspired by this image that has been kicking around my Pinterest boards for years. I am really happy with the suit overall, although I might make the shoulder straps a tad longer on my next version. It is really comfortable to wear and I feel like I can do anything at the beach, even wrestle with friends in the water.

I hope you are considering making swimwear this year or maybe in the future! It is so much fun and not nearly as hard as you might expect. Check out this week’s episode of the podcast for loads of inspiration!

About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

14 Comments on “Sporty Swimwear”

  1. Beautiful post Helen! I love it all…your dialogue, your photos, your suit, Caroline’s suit, Third Beach. Most of all, your message!

  2. I really love this top Helen! I tried to make something similar by modifying a crop top pattern but the proportions ended up a bit off . The scoop needs to be just right with cut in armholes and yours looks spot on. You both look like beach babes, very jealous from my cold part of the world!

  3. Gorgeous ladies! I love both your suits. Helen i am madly filing this top away as inspiration for our Aussie summer… it does give a great sporty look and I think it looks fab with the Sophie bottoms (of which I’ve made a few pairs already…).

  4. I’m excited about this episode too since this is high up on my list this year. I bought Jenny’s (Cashmerette) Ipswich pattern, notions package and online course too to have some hand holding through the process of sewing my first suit 🙂 Love your photos! Yes! West coast cavorting on the beach – anything better? I don’t think so 🙂

    1. Thanks Kathleen! I agree it doesn’t get better than a gorgeous west coast beach for me! Good luck with your first suit, you are going to crush it!

  5. Helen, Beautiful swimsuits – both yours and Carolines!!!! And great body positivity! And I love the armhole/shoulder drafting of your self drafted swimtop! While I’m not ready yet to expose my midriff, I’d love a longer swim top with THAT armhole/shoulder lines! and yes with Built in bras as well. 🙂 Would you consider making a sewing pattern out of this one?

    1. Thanks Kay! this suit is definitely on my radar as a pattern next summer! I love wearing it and I’m sure others would too. Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. You two must be mind-readers! I just got back from vacation determined to make myself a swimsuit. I have a super long torso and it has always bothered me that I can’t find cute tank suits in my size without paying a huge amount. I love both of your suits and Helen’s top makes me think that I could consider a two piece as well (I am a lap swimmer). Love your suits, your photos, your tops, your podcast. As always you two are knocking it out of the park!

    1. Thanks Julie! Glad the episode came at the perfect time for you! I look forward to seeing your suit on Instagram! I love a two piece for swimming too, as long as it has support.

  7. You two are absolutely adorable! Yay for body positivity! And here’s another vote for making the top pattern available, Helen. I am in desperate need for a sports-bra type top that is simple and supportive and that one looks about perfect! Hint: it would work great with your Avery leggings too.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Louisa! I will keep it in mind for next summer, for sure! I agree that it would make a great sports bra, too!

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