Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Red Polka Dot Bikini

I do alot of fabric and strikeoff testing as part of a core group for Black Rabbit Fabrics, located in Penticton, Canada. When Yvonne asked if anyone wanted to sew up a swimsuit to show off the in stock swim fabric for summer, I literally jumped at the chance. I love sewing swimsuits. I need at least once new suit each summer. Last year I made myself an Agility Swimsuit from 5 out of 4 patterns (affiliate links) that I absolutely love and blogged about it here. My hubby is definitely not keen on the full coverage of that suit (as practical as it is) so I knew I wanted to try for a true bikini this year.
I have a love affair with Ohhh Lulu Patterns. I have made a number of bralette and undies using her patterns and have even blogged about a few of them. I decided it would be fun to try and adapt (mostly) free patterns in order to make this swimsuit. I used the Hyacinth Bralette and Celeste Panties to create this look. The bralette top and undies patterns are both free patterns but I did purchase a $6 Hyacinth expansion pack that comes with a variety of backs for the bralette. I was able to use the pattern pieces as is but did need to make a few adjustment to make these patterns into a swimsuit.
Once of the biggest complaints I've had so far with the swimsuits that I've made has been the lack of bra cups. Most RTW swimsuits seem to have built in or removable bra cups and I love the removable ones the most. I opted to make this suit compatible with the Lululemon bra cups that I already have on hand for other RTW tops I own.
For this top, I used the pattern pieces to cut out the swim fabric, I cut an extra front in swim lining (no need to line the back), and I also cut out an extra front out of a beautiful red power mesh that I found locally in the scrap bin. I sewed a line down the power mesh and liner to create two cup sides. I then only attached the tops and bottom of the power mesh and left the two sides open when sewing it all together so the removable cups could slide in and out. Instead of using a Fold over Elastic (FOE) which likely isn't very chlorine resistant, I opted for binding made of the same swim fabric. I like to cut mine 1.5" wide. I had to guess the length of the bands by measuing on an RTW racerback bra that fits well. When the top was done, I zigzagged up the racerback straps to have them attach a little higher.
I'm not going to lie, these bottoms are super low rise and super tiny. I didn't make any adjustment to the bottoms pattern other than to eliminate the seam at the bottom. I cut one continuous piece and also cut a full piece of swim liner so that the entire bottoms are lined. One of my biggest fears is a see through swim suit, so I try my absolute hardest to avoid that! I used swim elastic (80% of the opening) around the leg holes and top stitched. For the waist, I again used binding of the same swim fabric. I think if I were to make another pair of these bottoms, I would add a 3/8" seam allowance to the legs and add a band to the top rather than doing the binding just to add slightly more height and some stability.
All in all, I am in love with my new swimsuit. I cannot believe how quick and easy swimsuit sewing can be once you get used to sewing with a slippery fabric. I do have some polka dots left so i'm debating whether I need a matching rashguard or I may just use it to add a band to the bottom of the top and to the top of the bottoms to help with coverage and avoid any possible wardrobe malfunctions.

Thanks so much for reading until the end, now go make yourself a new swimsuit!

Cheers! Michelle
(as always come check me out on Instagram)

Monday, June 25: 
Tuesday, June 26: 
Wednesday, June 27: 
Thursday, June 28:
Friday, June 29:


  1. Looks great! Sewing swimsuits is one of my favorite things :)

  2. You look amazing and your suit is darling!

  3. Oh I love it! Polkadot swimsuits are my favorite! 😍😍

  4. It looks great on you! Love the back of the top.

  5. You are rocking that swimsuit! I have yet to make a swimsuit for myself yet.

  6. Your suit is amazing! I love how you modified it for the removable cups, and I think I’ll try it on my next suit! ❤️��

  7. Cute! I made my first swimsuit last summer and then ended up making some for four of my nieces as well.