SUMMER!! It's just around the corner! The warmth, the events, the pool, the fun, the memories...many in the great outdoors. So, why not make a sweet baby swimsuit for the wee one in your life in anticipation for summer and in honor of National Serger Month?!?!
You don't have to look at too many of my tutorials to see how much I love my serger!! And my absolute favorite project to work with on my serger is...drum roll please...SWIMWEAR projects! Why? Well, I LOVE my sewing machine and it can certainly do things that my serger can't, but, hands down, I prefer the serger stitch for stretchy fabrics. It doesn't stretch or warp the fabric, the needle has no problems penetrating the stretch, AND...and this is a big AND...it still allows for the full stretchy-ness of the fabric! You can absolutely sew a swimsuit with a sewing machine and some zig-zag stitches (that's what I did before owning a serger), but, since I obtained a serger, it has always been my go-to when it comes to swimwear.
So, let's get started on this pattern tutorial! After you've created the pattern, visit this page to learn how to sew it!
As you can see below, you'll need a baby bodysuit that fits your baby. Grab a drawing tool, a ruler, a measuring gauge, and some interfacing or tissue paper to create your pattern.
- First things first, lay the bodysuit out on your paper. We're going to start with the front panel. Mark the middle of the neckline and crotch, where the armhole seam is, the side seam, and the lower edge of the garment (the crotch area), as shown below. I also made a vertical mark where the leg hole goes in on the top/front flap of the bodysuit.
- Next, unsnap the bodysuit, keeping it in place but, tuck the bottom fabric flap back under the front. Trace the front leg hole, curving the hole to meet the crotch line you had traced in the previous step. You may need to adjust the line inward more (as you can see from mine below), closer to the mark you made for that vertical marking even with the front leg hole.
- Next, pick a place where you'd like the neckline to hit.
- Fold the bodysuit down and mark that spot.
- Remove the bodysuit and connect your lines. A straight horizontal line is drawn where you marked the neckline. Draw "Front" and "Cut 1 on fold," as well as, "Fold" on the fold of the pattern!
- As shown in purple below, drop the armhole down about an inch.
- Now we're going to add our seam allowance, shown in pink below. Along the NECKLINE, add a 5/8" hem allowance for a casing we're going to create there. Add 3/8" seam allowance along the ARMHOLE. A 1/2" seam allowance is marked at the TOP OF THE SIDE SEAM and a 1.5" seam allowance is marked at the BOTTOM OF THE SIDE SEAM (some fullness for gathering is added here). Add 1" seam allowance to the LEG HOLE and another 1.5" seam allowance at the CROTCH SEAM.
- Fill in your lines to make them solid and taper your side seam to the best semi-curvy or slightly bent line that you can (as shown in purple below).
- Moving on to the back, place the bodysuit face down and mark your centers again as well as your side seam and where you'd like the back of the swimsuit to hit. You can go up higher, closer to the underarms, or move it down a little bit to mid-back.
Remove the body suit, draw your straight lines at the fold and along the halter cut line. Now, let's add some seam allowances, shall we?! Again, shown in pink, add a 5/8" hem allowance for the casing, 1.5" seam allowance for the entire side seam, 1" at the leg hole, and 1.5" at the crotch seam (just a reminder, this has gathering allowance built-in).
Make all of your lines solid. Then, you can either overlap your patterns here if you can see through your pattern, or cut both patterns out to make the little adjustments we're about to make in the next steps.
- Overlap your pattern front and back, aligning the crotch seam and the folds. I tapered the lower edge so the front would meet the back well - see the orange line below. You will be using stretchy swimsuit fabric, which is pretty forgiving, but you don't want your pattern lines to be close. :) So, I just marked where the front hit the back and tapered that line into my leg hole.
- Next, align your pattern at the side seam, as best you can. Start with the leg holes aligned evenly with each other (as shown below). If your front armhole and the halter cut on the back do not line up, you'll need to raise/lower the armhole or back casing. I had to drop my armhole down and taper it into my armhole (as you can see in orange below). The armhole seam allowance is 3/8" and the casing on the back is 5/8" so, regardless of whether you lower your armhole or raise your halter cut line, try to make the lower armhole seam allowance 1/4" below the halter cut casing allowance (as you can see below; the orange line of the armhole drops 1/4" below the casing allowance on the back).
- After making your adjustments, cut our 1 Front and 1 Back on the FOLD! Then, proceed to the free tutorial over at NationalSergerMonth.org on how to serge and sew the Sweet Little Swimsuit! Happy sewing! ~Steph
P.S. You might also add the size you created for future reference! :)