Design Your Own Swimsuit

Updated February 21, 2017

Swimsuits can be as unique as the people who wear them. They can be one piece or two pieces and come in as many colours as can be imagined. A good swimsuit will highlight the wearer's best features and camouflage any features a person might dislike. Creating your own swimsuit can be an opportunity to test your creative skills and give you a one-of-a-kind piece of swimwear that you can take pride in.

Take your measurements before starting your sketch. If you're making a suit for a woman, you will need to know bust and hip measurements. Men's suits require a waist and an inseam measurement.

Determine what style of suit you want. You can design any style swimsuit that you like, including bikini, one piece and trunks.

Sketch a basic outline for your suit on your art pad. Choose your colours and shade the suit until you find a colour combination that you like. You can use as many colours as you like, but remember that these shades need to be available in actual fabric for your suit. Your suit should be complimentary to your skin tone. Blues and greens go well with pale skin tones, while reds, oranges and yellows hold up better against more olive tones.

Decide what type of fabric you would like to make your suit out of. Swimwear is normally made out of a nylon/lycra fabric for stretch and support, although you can make your suit from whatever material you choose. Just keep in mind that it needs to hold up to water and movement so not all fabrics are ideal.

Trace your design pieces onto your cardboard and cut them out. This cardboard will be used as a template for your actual fabric pieces. Mark your fabric accurately and cut it as carefully as possible to make sure the pieces are the correct sizes.

Trim your elastic strips into sections long enough to fit your suit. If you are making a two-piece suit or trunks, you will need a piece long enough to go around the waist of your suit. If you are creating a one piece, your elastic will need to be long enough to go around the entire neck and shoulder piece of your suit to hold it up.

Cut your swimsuit pieces from your remnant fabric and sew them together. To insert your waistband, lay your elastic strip along the edge of your suit, leaving enough loose fabric to fold completely over the elastic. Sew along the edge of the fold to completely encase the elastic inside the fabric. You want to make a mock up of your swimsuit to test out your design before you use expensive swimsuit material.

Try your mock suit on for proper fit. Check to make sure it fits snugly around the bust and waist without gapping or excess material. If you need to make any adjustments to your pattern, do so now. Your suit should fit snugly against the body without cutting into your skin.

Lay your pattern on your lining fabric, and determine where your liners need to be. One-piece suits normally have liners in the crotch area of the swimsuit, while many two-piece suits have liners in the bottoms as well as the cups of the tops. Women's one-piece suits often include a supportive inner lining in the top of the suit that attaches along the upper suit like a bra. This upper lining lifts and supports the breasts, adding comfort and shape to your one-piece design. The lining fabric should be made of nylon or a nylon blend and should be soft, yet durable enough to protect your swimsuit from wear and tear.

Place your pattern on your swimsuit fabric and cut out your correctly sized pieces. Sew them together, taking care to use the correct setting on your sewing machine. Place your liners in the appropriate locations on your suit pieces. Lay the liner along the suit, and fold the edge of your fabric over the liner portion to hold it down. Sew the liners on, using a small, tight stitch to keep the liner from gapping or coming loose. If your design has any strings of ties, be sure to reinforce your stitches along the tie seams to keep them from tearing.

Add your embellishments at this time. Small beads, sequins and fringe can be added to your suit if you like, and can add an artistic flair to your custom suit. Check your swimsuit for proper fit and take pride in your newly created custom swimsuit.


Select a design that is complimentary to your body type. One piece suits help to disguise problem areas while bikinis highlight a fit body, so choose your style carefully.


Do not use material not made for water use. Many fabrics are not designed to get wet and making a suit out of them could be disastrous.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring Tape
  • Art Pad
  • Coloured Pencils
  • Heavy Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • ½ inch elastic strips
  • Swimsuit Fabric
  • Liner
  • Remnant Fabric
  • Embellishments
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About the Author

Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.