Swimsuit Sew-Along: Fabric

This post is one part of a Swimsuit Sew-Along series! If you missed the previous posts and would like to join in, just click below!

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great time looking through all the available swimsuit patterns over the weekend and found one you really love. I didn’t say it before, but keep in mind that if you like the bottom of one one and the top of another, you can get both patterns and morph them into one suit. This is especially favorable if you’re looking for a two-piece.

So now that you either have a pattern on its way or in your hand/fresh off the printer, you can find out how much fabric you need and start shopping for a great print or solid! If you bought online from one of the big pattern companies (assuming it’s not here yet), you will want to go to the webpage your pattern is on and scroll down or, if you already have your pattern, look on the back or back flap of your pattern envelope. If you purchased a digital download, there should be a page in your instructions that displays similar information. Either way, find the Body Measurements the pattern used to create their different sizes. It will look something like this (for our example, I am going to use  the Butterick pattern pictured in my last post):


With this chart in front of you, you will need to take your measurements. Our bodies change throughout the years so you will want to do this pretty frequently. For an explanation of how to do this accurately, please see this post at KojoDesigns. Circle each measurement as you take it. If you find that your measurements do not fall into one size (which is VERY common, at least in my experience), use the largest size for the next step. Also, note the height standards – the above graphic is for Women or Women Petite sizes. Misses or children’s sizes will be different.

Next you will find the pattern line drawings with the different styles or “views” included in the pattern. Choose which style you want to make and keep the style letter in mind. For example, going with the Butterick pattern pictured in my last post, we would want to make Views D & E:

patternviewsThen you’ll want to scroll down (or glance down) to the fabric chart. You will notice down the left side in bold are all the pattern views. Across the top are the sizes. Choose your size (or the size based on your largest measurement) and find the style view(s) you want to make. In the example below, the size 20W will need 1 1/4 yard main fabric for view D (swimsuit) and 7/8 yard contrasting fabric for view E (skirt). If you wanted to use the same fabric for both, just add them up to equal 2 1/8 yard main fabric. You will also need swimsuit lining. In size 20W, we will need 1 1/4 yard for the swimsuit view D and none for skirt E. Just use this same process for whatever pattern you’ve chosen.

fabricchartNow you know how much fabric & lining you need, but what kind of fabric do you buy? Every pattern will give a suggestion for the type of fabric suitable for the pattern. Butterick has theirs in the pattern description:


In just a short online search for “swimwear knit”, I found sites calling it by various other names:  “Lycra Spandex Knit”, “Dance/Swim Knit”, “4-Way-Stretch”, & “Nylon Lycra”. Also, “swimwear tricot” is generally found as “swimsuit lining”. If you’re shopping online, these would be the most common names to search by. But let me make it a little easier and give you some resources to check out. If you find a print you like but you’re unsure if it will work, just email me the listing or website (jaimemhjohnson at gmail dot com) and I’ll check it out for you.

  • www.girlcharlie.com – Girl Charlie fabrics is a GREAT resource for knits of all kinds. They are cute and affordable. They also have swimsuit lining. Just click the link to check out their swimsuit fabrics.
  • Harts Fabric
  • Etsy has a few
  • Fabric.com
  • ebay – There are always a ton of nylon lycra fabrics on ebay.
  • Hancock Fabrics
  • If you find another good online resource, let us know!

If you’re in Bakersfield, here are the local stores you can check out:

  • F&M Fabrics – Just ask them to point you in the right direction!

A word of warning – the next post will be on the other types of supplies you will need to gather, so you might pin the fabric you find online and wait to buy until later in the week or delay your trip to the local store just in case they carry some of the other notions you need! Please let me know if you have any questions along the way – we’re all in it together! See you Wednesday!


4 thoughts on “Swimsuit Sew-Along: Fabric

    • Yes thanks for mentioning – the local selection is not the best, unfortunately. I usually get my lining on eBay, but I think it was girl Charlie that had it reasonably priced. Joann’s was a little high, but they had it online – haven’t looked in the store.

    • I just looked at their lining selection at spandex house – it looks like the bottom 4 may be swim lining. All the others say 2 way stretch and those don’t – I would call them or email to double check.

  1. Pingback: Swimsuit Sew-Along: Pattern Alterations | Jaime Johnson

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