For too long, curvy women have been told we have to cover up, and that the beach is the exclusive domain of the flat-tummied. But no more! If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that women with curves look absolutely fabulous in swimwear, and that EVERY body is a beach body. So, if you want to celebrate your awesomeness, or you need a bit of a confidence boost, look no further than our new pattern: introducing the Ipswich Swimsuit sewing pattern, combining chic style and support, thanks to a built-in underwired swim bra and boning (which you can also leave out if you prefer).
Developing this swimsuit sewing pattern has been a true labor of love. When I first launched Cashmerette Patterns, I had a list of “must-do” garment types that have never been available for curvy and full-busted women in sewing pattern form (or sometimes in any form!). A swimsuit with a full underwired swim bra was right at the top of the list, but it was also a very challenging pattern to develop, hence why it took a little while to get there. Combining a full coverage and supportive swim bra with a modern, stylish silhouette isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I think we managed to achieve it!
I’ve never felt more confident at the pool than in my Ipswich Swimsuit, and I hope you feel the same.
The Ipswich Swimsuit sewing pattern
The Ipswich Swimsuit sewing pattern comes in two views: a one-piece swimsuit with a contrast waistband for a classic look, or a high-waisted bikini with piping detail (which is also great if you’re very different sizes on the top and bottom.) Both of the suits feature supportive straps and an optional underwired foam swim bra and boning, so that you’re comfortable lounging by the pool, or playing volleyball on your favourite beach. The color-blocked design lets you mix prints and solids to your heart’s content, or go sleek by making a monochrome version. Let’s take a look in detail…
View A: Ipswich Swimsuit Sewing Pattern One-Piece
I’m a huge one-piece fan, and this on-trend palm print version is my fave so far (You can even make this exact suit with our kits – see more details below). The Ipswich Swimsuit One-Piece has side panels and a separate waistband and neckband so you can create tons of different looks. The internal swim bra is entirely hidden from view, but is holding everything in place so you don’t have to worry.
From behind, the bra-style back band is reinforced with power mesh and elastic to give you firm support – and it’s adjustable during the sewing process so you can get just the right level of firmness you prefer. The band is secured by an S-Hook or by a swimwear clicker, which is my preferred approach as it guarantees no mishaps at the beach! (you’ll find clickers included in our swimsuit kits.)
Let’s take a look inside… In the front of the suit, a full underwired foam swim bra is built-in. This swim bra is optional – if for any reason you’d prefer not to have it, simply leave it out. We also have a tutorial coming up for installing a shelf bra instead.
The swim bra is constructed using classic bra-sewing techniques, and was designed for women with full busts. As pre-made foam swim cups come in a very limited range of sizes, we show you how to easily sew your own (I promise it isn’t hard at all!) and also how to add fun personalized touches like covering the seams in your fashion fabric.
The sizing of the swim bras follows our general sizing, i.e. 12 C/D, 12 E/F, 12 G/H and so on. This means you get good support, but it may not fit as precisely as a regular bra. Consult the underwire chart in the instructions to pick the right size for you, and you can also compare the wires to an existing bra that fits you. Our online workshop also has more guidance on swim bra fitting.
Sourcing fabric & notions for swim bras can be a bit challenging, but you’ve got two options – either pick up one of our kits (we have both full swimsuit kits, and swim bra notions only kits), or stay tuned for blog posts on our favourite sources.
At the back, the support continues with power mesh underlining, elastic reinforcement, and optional boning at the side seams, which is particularly great if you have wide set boobs, or they tend to go sideways when you lie down (ahem, that’s all of us, isn’t it?!)
View B: Ipswich Swimsuit Sewing Pattern Bikini
Next up, the high-waisted bikini version. The key features of the Ipswich Bikini are exactly the same as the one-piece, with added instructions on how to add a pop of color by adding flat piping in the seams (and yes, you can totally do this on the one-piece too if you’d like.) The bikini bottoms come up high, above the navel, although where they hit you will depend on your torso length. The top features exactly the same swim bra and support as the one-piece (and you could even make it a sports bra using different materials.)
One difference at the back is that the bikini uses two closures (S-Hooks or clickers), and we’ve included two in the kits so you can make either view from the notions included.
The Ipswich Swimsuit is available as a beautifully printed pattern delivered straight to your front door, or as a downloadable PDF that comes with Print At Home, and US/A0 copyshop files. And for the first time, it’s a layered file! That means you can just select and print the size(s) you want to print – we explain how to do this in the instructions.
As always, this sewing pattern is available in sizes 12 – 28 and cup sizes C – H. We’ve also introduced a new grading guide in case you need to grade between sizes.
In terms of ability level, we’ve classified this as “intermediate”, mainly due to the construction of the swim bra and the technique for attaching the straps. However, if you’re not doing the swim bra, or you’re following along with the online workshop, I think it’s totally do-able for an advanced beginner. The only way you’ll ever learn to sew a swimsuit is if you try!
Ipswich Swimsuit Fabric & Notions Kits – get 20% off!
Sourcing all the fabric and notions for a swimsuit with an underwired swim bra can be a bit intimidating – not to mention time and money-intensive – so we did the work for you! We have two full swimsuit kits, and also a swim bra notions-only kit in case you already have spandex ready. We also have underwires, which are sold separately. You can get 20% off using code SWIM! at checkout (until May 31, 11.59pm EST).
You can make the fabulous palm print or navy striped suits as featured in our product photos, and know that you have everything you need, with no minimum order quantities from specialist suppliers. The navy striped suit also includes both crimson and turquoise waistband options!
The swimsuit kits are available with or without a pattern (note that the online workshop includes a free pattern), and they include spandex, swimwear lining, Filpar swimwear elastic, bra strapping, swimsuit clickers, fold over elastic, stay tape, swim foam, duoplex, power mesh, underwire channeling and covered plastic boning (phew!).
If you already have spandex and swim lining in your stash or a good local source, you can also buy a kit that just has the swim bra fabric & notions – they come in two colors, black and beige (pick from the dropdown menu).
“Swimsuit Making for Curves” Online Workshop – get 20% off!
Finally, we’ve also got a new class for you! Making a swimsuit for the first time can understandably seem pretty intimidating, so we also filmed a new online workshop where I take you through every step, from sourcing the right fabrics and notions, through to sewing a swim bra and working with spandex.
You can sew everything on your home sewing machine, you just need to learn a few new techniques! There are lots of benefits of an online workshop, including the fact you can watch and re-watch as many times as you like from the comfort of home, and your access to the videos never expires. You can also ask questions and get advice directly on the workshop platform, and I’ll get back to you with help.
The class includes a free copy of the Ipswich Swimsuit sewing pattern (PDF or printed), and you can get 20% off using code SWIM! at checkout to celebrate the launch (valid through May 31, 11.59pm). Sign up today and you’ll be at the beach in no time!
I hope you love the Ipswich Swimsuit sewing pattern as much as I do! Our first integrated-bra pattern is a big milestone for Cashmerette Patterns, and I’m so excited to hear what you think, and see what you make. Feel free to ask any questions about the new pattern below!