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Sew (or Buy) a Modest Swimsuit

Updated on January 27, 2021
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Kimberly has a lifetime of sewing experience, including costumes, bridal, and alterations.

Swimwear Modesty in 1925

1925 wool bathing suit
1925 wool bathing suit | Source

Sewing Tips for Swimwear

  1. Be sure your shears are sharp before cutting into swimwear fabric. You may need to get them sharpened.
  2. Use high quality polyester thread.
  3. Sew with a zigzag or stretch stitch if you do not have a serger.
  4. Use chlorine-resistant cotton swimwear elastic or clear elastic, not regular polyester elastic, for swim suits.

Want Better Coverage?

There are many reasons for seeking a more modest swimsuit than those usually found in a department store. Some swimmers want more coverage because of religious and/or moral convictions. Others are seeking better protection from skin-damaging sunlight. Some engage in active sports and want to be confident that their suit will cover them no matter how they move. Still others simply want more coverage for a body that is not as toned as it once was.

Finding Appropriate Swimwear Patterns

For the person with some sewing skill, a modest swimsuit is within reach. Sewing patterns for modest swimsuits are available from a number of online and conventional retail sources.

Jalie offers sewing patterns for a variety of swimsuits with enough coverage for active sports and/or sun protection.

KwikSew 3609 is an empire-waist swim dress with separate panties. The dress can be cut longer for a cover-up or sundress as well. KwikSew 2868 is a modern tankini with boy shorts and a T-shirt cover-up. Many fabric stores now stock Kwik-Sew patterns, so you could buy these patterns locally or order online.

Any of these patterns, along with some spandex (Lycra) fabric with four-way stretch, some chlorine-resistant cotton swimsuit elastic, and some sew-in bra cups if desired, will make a swimsuit that looks great and keeps you tastefully covered.


Swimwear Poll

Ladies, what is your swimwear of choice?

See results

Can Ready-Made Suits be Modest?

Yes. Lands' End has a large selection of suits with more coverage than average. They offer swim shorts and swim skorts as well as swim dresses. In the 2015 catalog they even include briefs and a skirt with an ultra-high waist so your midriff stays covered. Tummy control is an option with many styles, too.

Kids' suits and rash guards are also available with long or short sleeves for sun protection.


Modest is Becoming More Popular

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