There’s a little bit of fear out there when it comes to sewing our own swimsuits…but we’ve heard it said many times lately that it’s so much simpler than you’d think…it could even be said that it’s EASY! Without a doubt though, the most fun part of the whole process is choosing your favourite swim fabric. There are so many gorgeous prints out there and so many amazing vibrant colours, it’s really a chance to go nuts with colour or the perfect opportunity to make that chic black swimsuit you’ve always wanted in your closet.
Throughout the design & sampling process of our Cottesloe Swimsuit, we found so many amazing fabric resources, there are SO many more than you’d ever imagine (*rubs hands together with glee). We also learnt a heap of “do’s & don’ts” when it comes to swim fabrics. It really all comes down to what you’ll be using your swimsuit for. If you love swimming laps at the pool, or have a chlorinated swimming pool at home, make sure to choose the fabric that will withstand the chemical exposure. If you’re happy lazing at the beach and doing the occasional dip in the salt water…you will be able to get away with a few different fabric compositions. This post is all about what the best fabrication is for you…and where you can find it in your area! So let’s get to it…
// TYPES OF SWIMWEAR FABRIC //
Swim fabrics can be comprised from different materials the main two being Lycra and Polyamide/Polyester (Poly).
Poly swim fabric //
- Less susceptible to chlorine damage, longer lasting.
- Recommended for regular use suits or athetic situations.
Swim Lycra //
- More readily available, afforable and generally stretchier than Poly.
- More susceptible to damage and will degrade quicker.
- Recommended for lighter use, such as being worn recreationally and seasonally.
// SWIM ELASTIC //
Now to the elastic! Two kinds of swimsuit elastic are commonly available: swimsuit rubber & woven swim elastic. Both elastics can be used to create successful wearable swimsuits, however they have slightly different properties and as such should be treated slightly differently.
Swimsuit rubber //
- The most stable and long lasting elastic
- Thinner profile & doesn’t degrade over time
- Feels tighter when worn
Woven swim elastic //
- Softer, thicker and has less recovery than rubber
If you are having trouble sourcing swim specific elastic, you can get away with using regular elastic in your swimsuit but keep in mind it may not last as long.
// LINING //
All views of the Cottesloe swimsuit are able to be fully lined and you’ll need the same amount of lining as you do fabric. There are a couple of choices depending on what you’re after. If it’s modesty you’re needing (advised for any fabric that is light in colour or very flat in texture) you’ll find regular swimsuit lining in nude, white or black will work well. *Make sure it’s got 4 way stretch!
If you’re looking for some compression properties in your lining, we’d recommend lining any section from the under bust down in Power mesh. It’s incredibly soft, with great stretch capabilities and will keep you feeling secure in your suit. *Avoid lining the bust with it unless you don’t mind a tight feeling around the chest.
// SWIM FABRIC //
Being an Aussie, I love Ellie for her gorgeous Australiana designs, but honestly the fabric is so incredibly vibrant it’s perfect for everyone’s summer! I’ve made some suits for the kiddos in her cute swim fabrics but even made one of our adult samples in our latest shoot and it was absolutely gorgeous.
Shop here: https://elliewhittaker.com.au/collections/swim-lycra
The Fabric Store
If you’re looking for a great range of high quality swim fabric, The Fabric Store has an abundance of florals and abstract prints in all sorts of colours to choose from. They stock the fantastic Liberty of London swim fabrics and you’ll also notice a few of our photoshoot sample prints in their collection!
Take a look at their Activewear & Swim page here.
Sew Active Fabrics
We used some of Sew Active’s compression spandex for a few of our shoot samples, and were so happy with how they turned out for a sporty look! If you’re not sure which fabrics would be best for swim (i.e. chlorine tolerance) the team at Sew Active are always there to help!
Shop here: https://sewactivefabrics.com.au/collections/fabrics
Also take a look at:
- Pitt Trading – plain & printed lycra as well as power mesh & lining
- The Remnant Warehouse
- Tessuti (we used some of their swim lycra’s in our samples)
- Next State print – you can print custom fabric through this store on a range of fabrics including Active lycra or scuba
Visit Blackbird Fabrics for their newly released swimwear collection for 2019. They have an amazing range of brand new swim fabric in the most amazing colours and are carrying a number of notions like cut and sew foam, g-hooks, and chlorine resistant elastic.
Shop here: http://www.blackbirdfabrics.com/
Also take a look at:
The gorgeous ladies at Sister Mintaka have got some gorgeous bright swim fabric (including Liberty prints!) for you on their site. They’ve also very kindly offered a discount for everyone using MEGAN10 at checkout for 10% off everything!
Shop here: https://sistermintaka.com/product-category/swim/
Take a look at Minerva’s swimsuit/activewear fabrics, in gorgeous bright colours, as well as their Powernet Mesh that is great for lining!
Shop here: https://www.minervacrafts.com/search?q=activewear
Sew Me Sunshine
Harriet at Sew Me Sunshine has a great range of swimwear fabrics, with more to arrive very shortly. All their fabrics ship worldwide, with fixed international shipping prices for those of you not in the UK!
Shop here: https://sewmesunshine.co.uk/collections/activewear
Laura from Blackbird Fabrics has put together some incredible swim fabrics for this season. They’ve also got a great range of notions for your suits available here and power mesh in black and nude as well for those of you who are wanting a little more support.
Shop here: https://www.blackbirdfabrics.com/fabric/swimwear/
Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics
The team at Stonemountain & Daughter fabrics in Berkeley, CA have a great range of swimwear fabrics in prints and solids as well as the swimwear lining and elastic you’ll need to complete your suit!
Shop here: www.stonemountainfabric.com
Oak Fabrics in Chicago, IL have a selection of beautiful swimsuit fabrics and supplies and are doing kits up for their Cottesloe customers. Get in touch with them for more details!
Shop here: https://oakfabrics.com
Also take a look at:
- Mood Fabrics (this is where we found our marble neoprene)
- The Fabric Fairy – Fabric, swim elastic and bra/swim cups
- Zenith & Quasar Fabric
- Solid Stone Fabrics
- Spoonflower – you can print out your own fabric design on sport lycra or choose from their library of gorgeous designs
If you know of any other amazing suppliers of swim fabrics be sure to let us know in the comments below!!
LOOKING FOR MORE COTTESLOE POSTS?
Here’s the full list of Cottesloe posts and tutorials:
- Pattern Tester Round-up
- Inspiration + Ideas
- Where to Buy Swimsuit Fabric (this post!)
- View B Full Suit Construction (+ Optional Lining)
- View A Full Suit Construction with Shelf Bra and Ties
- Views C & D Bikini Construction
- Basic Elastic Insertion for All Views
- Waistband and Underband Elastic Insertion for Views C & D
We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNcottesloe and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!