Hey ladies! Want to sew your own swimsuit but need a bit more support than a layer of spandex? Then never fear, because it’s super easy to put a pre-made swim bra into your hand-made suit.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can even sew your own – check out our Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit sewing pattern, which includes a pattern for a full underwired swim bra.
I’m going to share the method I used for my polka dot Bombshell – there are others, including putting elastic in to make a shelf bra (my bust LAUGHS at your shelf bra, but others may be in less need of industrial support), or actually making a swim bra out of foam and bra notions. However I took the easy way: I took a very old and worn out tankini, and seam-ripped the internal underwired bra out, and sewed it into my new suit.
1. Complete your suit to this stage: the front and back are attached, but you haven’t put the straps on yet.
2. Serge (or zig zag) along the top of the suit and lining to join them into one piece.
3. Place your swim bra over the front, making sure the underwire is at least 1/2 inch below the neckline (because you’re going to be folding it over with elastic to finish it). Remember to put it the correct way round, so the softer side will be against your body. I also put the sides of the cups about 1/4 inch beyond the side seam, to avoid too much bulk. Note, your bra may not perfectly match the shape of your suit: no worries!
4. Pin that baby! There was more fullness in the cups than in my suit, so I lightly tucked where necessary and pinned so that it would lie flat to the neckline
5. Stitch it down! Just stitch the neckline, and stop at the edges of the cups – the back strap will be free floating. I used a narrow zig zag.
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14 thoughts on “Tutorial: How to sew a swim bra into a swimsuit”
AAAAND bookmarked, for when I get around to my bathingsuit. If I can find material, that is. 🙂 Thanks for the great tutorial (and hint to scavange a bra from an old swimsuit.
I hope it’s helpful Heather!
@ Heather… Moodfabrics.com has a great selection of swimsuit material!
genius! bookmarking for later for sure. soooo…silly question here. if you don’t have an existing underwire swimsuit to scavenge (prehaps because you got mad at it for fraying and becoming quite seethrough and booted it)…can you use a regular bra (obv. one w/o padding or anything that would hold excess water)? Or does that sound like an excessively problematic idea?
Thanks for your advice. It was very helpful and wise!
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Great tutorial! Where would you purchase a swim bra?
I used one from an old swimsuit – you could see if you could find one in Goodwill. Alternatively you can buy cups from suppliers like Bra Makers Supply.
can i sew the bra into the seams right away when making the swimsuit? And then that way not have the back clasp anymore? If so, would the “girls” stay where i need them to? I’d prefer not to have to do the back up every time I wear it.
You won’t get quite as much support, but yes you can definitely do that.
I decided to leave the back of the bra attached when making my bathing suit top. I love how mine turned out and it has such great support now. Thanks for your tips.
How would I add a more supportive bra to an existing swimsuit?
FYI The fabric straps link is broken!
Yes, I just tried it and it is still broken (November 17, 2022)
Looks like that site doesn’t exist anymore. I’ve removed the link.
-Ayelet at Cashmerette