Diving into the world of swimwear fabric can feel like navigating uncharted waters, so in this post, we're excited to share our best advice on sewing with swimwear fabric, along with a few helpful tips gleaned from our own experiences.

Whether you're a first-time swimwear sewist or a seasoned pro looking to refine your skills, our guide aims to help you sail through your swimwear projects with confidence.



1. Choosing A Fabric

Selecting the right fabric is the most important step when planning your swimwear make. While swimwear and activewear share similarities, we always opt for swim-specific fabric. A high-quality swim fabric sourced from a reliable retailer ensures durable and opaque material, with added features like chlorine, salt, and UV protection!

Today’s swim fabrics primarily consist of synthetic fibres, as they offer the durability, stretch, and recovery essential for swimwear. However, you can still make sustainably conscious choices with the growing availability of recycled polyester and nylon in fabric stores. 

Helpful Hint: our ECONYL® swim range is made from recycled ocean and land waste!

Another characteristic to seek is 4-way stretch, with a stretch percentage of 40% or more in both directions. It's important not to confuse this with the elastane content, which primarily aids in garment recovery. The recovery ensures a garment shrinks back to its original shape, while the stretch percentage ensures fabric flexibility so there's a comfortable stretch to your suit when splashing about in the pool. 

Helpful Hint: Swim fabrics have a tendency to shift about so we recommend cutting your pattern with the fabric lying flat, rather than on the fold, to keep it on-grain and maintain precision!


2. Selecting The Right Stitch

Now this is a Helpful Hint right from the start!

While an overlocker is often recommended for sewing knit fabrics, it is not essential for swimwear. A standard zig-zag or lightning bolt stitch will work for most seams and is typically recommended for all topstitching!


3. The Pins & Needles

Your best friends when sewing with any knit are ballpoint needle and pins. Featuring a unique rounded tip, they slide in between the yarns without piercing them, preventing holes from forming.

Helpful Hint: If ballpoint pins aren't available, then feel free to use small clips or fine pins which have very sharp points that avoid creating runs or holes.


4. Getting The Most From Your Notions

Opt for polyester thread, as natural fibres do not hold up well against chlorine and salt. The same goes for elastic; while braided cotton elastic can be used, ensure that it is chlorine-resistant!

Helpful Hint: Stretch threads like Maraflex by Gütermann create elastic seams using a straight stitch!


5. Your Lining Options

Don't underestimate the importance of lining! Though it seems like a step that can be skipped, lining offers structural support, enhances fit, and acts as a soothing barrier between your skin and the reverse side of the fabric. 

Helpful Hint:  You can also opt for a mesh (like ours here) which gives even more support, or, in a pinch, use the swim fabric itself!


Make a splash in some of our favourite swimwear patterns! Our recommendations come directly from our own to-sew lists. We’ve picked one-pieces for sport and style, and two-pieces that you can endlessly mix and match.

Ipswich Swimsuit by Cashmerette with our Swim & Sport Knit – ECONYL® Recycled Nylon in bubblegum pink and magenta
Zoe Long-Sleeve Rashguard Swimsuit by Jalie Patterns with our Swim & Sport Knit – ECONYL® Recycled Nylon - Tropics 


We're absolutely in love with our ECONYL® swim range, and we just can’t praise it enough!

One of its standout features is its sustainable production. Crafted in Europe from recycled fish nets and other ocean and landfill waste, it's a fabric you can feel good about putting on your body. 

It’s our go-to for both solid colours and vibrant prints. Not only does it have excellent opacity and a sturdy structure, it's also medium-weight but breathable, with a luxe hand feel. What's more, it is suncream and oil repellent, offers excellent UV protection, and is ultra-chlorine and piling resistant. It’s a top pick for a variety of makes, from swimwear to dancewear, underwear, or sportswear.

For a perfect pairing, opt for our supple and soft mesh lining. It has a 4-way stretch and provides added support and coverage, particularly for swim fabrics that are lighter in weight or opacity.


Questions? Comments? Drop us a line at hello@fabricromance.ie

If you have enjoyed this read then sign up for our Newsletter and follow us on FacebookInstagram & Pinterest.




Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing