Swimdresses are either skirted swimsuits, or short dresses with attached swimsuit panties. Fans of these suits appreciate the extra coverage they provide and in some cases enjoy the vintage styling. Princess seams are curved seams on the bodice that help define the waist and bust line. Making a swimdress with princess seams is a project for an experienced seamstress with knowledge of how to work with four-way stretch knit fabrics. This type of project will likely take four to six hours of work.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Serger Sewing Machine
- Ballpoint needles
- Lycra or Spandex fabric
- Swimwear lining fabric
- Swimsuit elastic
- Polyester thread
- Ballpoint pins
- Tailor's chalk (optional)
Choose a pattern. Patterns for swimdresses can be ordered online, or purchased at a local fabric store. Read the pattern description carefully to determine whether or not the swimdress has princess seams. Additionally, take note of the pattern's suggestions for fabrics and any additional notions you may need to complete your project.
Choose fabrics. Swimdresses by necessity will need to be made from a four-way stretch fabric. These fabrics are generally Lycra or Spandex and occasionally come in blends with cotton. You will also need to purchase an equivalent amount of swimsuit lining fabric. The lining is usually a nylon blend with two-way stretch for both stability and modesty.
Cut your fabrics. Using ballpoint pins, pin the pattern pieces in your size to the fabric and cut. Occasionally patterns will have different templates for the lining, but generally the same pattern piece is used for the interior and exterior of a suit. Mark the pieces of the pattern with tailor's chalk if necessary.
Pin and sew. Pin the pieces of the garment together with right sides of the fabric facing each other. Princess-seamed garments usually require that you assemble the different pieces of the bodice before beginning assembly of the garment. Do this for the lining and the exterior of the suit. Check the pattern for full assembly instructions. While tank or maillot swimsuits are generally seamed at the crotch first, swimdresses can have different construction techniques, depending on how the panties are attached to the skirt.
Insert elastic and hem. Pin the elastic to the edges of the garment at the neck opening and leg openings and sew. Fold over the edge and topstitch the elastic into the garment for a finished hem. Again, check the pattern instructions for this step. It is often done at the end of the garment, however some patterns insert this step earlier in the process.
Try on finished garment. Check your hems for stretchiness, and make sure that the seat of the panties is not bagging. Ironing or pressing is not necessary; four-way stretch fabrics do not require this step unlike woven and some two-way stretch fabrics
Tips and warnings
- Ballpoint pins needles allow you to pin and sew four-way stretch fabrics with ease. Other types of pins and needles can catch on knit fabrics and pull threads.
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