Swimwear Inspiration

Helen Cloke summer blues swimwear inspiration swimwear sewalong

Swimsuits are a fun way to get a little bit experimental with colour blocking, embellishments and fabric manipulation.

Here are some ideas - based on January's colour inspiration 'Summer Blues' and featuring lingerie patterns that you can convert into swimwear ones.


Summery and skimpy with a patterned bandeau and co-odinating bottoms.  The ties and tassel details add to the fun and would be easy to create.

Use the Madalynne designed pattern Simplicity 8437 with the recycled swimwear fabric in solid 'Spirulina' and print 'Watercolour teal'


I am crushing hard on the one-piece rash shirts that are popping up in RTW and they would be super easy to make yourself.  I've seen some with the zip in the back but I think a front zip insertion is not only more practical but you can also change up the look from fully zipped and sporty to unzipped and a wee bit sexy.

Make this using a bodysuit pattern such as Megan Nielsens Rowan combined with the recycled swimwear print 'Watercolour white'


I get a bit of a European vibe from this one - body confidence to the max.  It would be easy to re-create using Madalynnes Sierra pattern for the wrap-around bikini top and how about using the Celeste pattern by Ohhh Lulu for the high side briefs?  Both of these patterns are free so you can create designer style swimwear for only the cost of the fabric.  The recycled swimwear in 'Spirulina' is a great match.


Casual, beachy fun with this one and it is a perfect chance to use the Jordy bra pattern by Emerald Erin - Erin even has a tutorial on how to convert her bra pattern to swimwear.  All you need then is Cloth Habits Watson pattern and some of the recycled swimwear print 'Dragonfly geo'


This is super duper adorable! Easy to create, the button front placket could just be faked and not functional, keeping the clasp at the back.  Use the Madalynne Simplicity 8711 pattern and lengthen the ruffle - the hem could be left raw.  Up the cuteness factor by using this mini polka dot swimwear lycra.


Ok, so I'm kind of cheating with this one.  Not only do I stock this exact fabric but the Closet Case Files Bombshell swimsuit pattern is a dead ringer for this RTW piece.  Whip up this style in no time!


I LOVE THIS and would make it right now this minute...if ruffles suited me...which they don't.  Boo-hoo.  But for those of you who can rock ruffles then how about using the Marilyn bikini by Wardrobe By Me, adding the large ruffle down the neckline and under one of the bust seams.  This small stripe mint and white swimwear lycra would look fab! It's like you went from boardroom to beach.


I absolutely love this too!  So stylish and unusual.  I think the Abbie Chemise by House Morrighan could be adapted to suit since it has the under bust seam in which the second tier of ruffles could be inserted.  You could still keep an under layer of the fitted, princess seamed bodice for peace of mind or remove the seams and slash and spread to create the base ruffle with a lot of volume.  The plain recycled swimwear in 'New Royal' will highlight these details perfectly.


With our scorching NZ summer sun it makes sense to 'slip, slop, slap' and cover up.  This long sleeve rash top would be perfect (also for those of you, me included, who feel the cold easily when swimming) Fehr Trade has a great raglan sleeve, princess seamed pattern 'Surf to Summit' and the recycled swimwear in 'Spirulina' and the swimwear lycra 'Moroccan' are a great pairing.


The pin tucks on this underwire bikini top are understated but add so much interest.  I'd start with the Zazie bra by Zazie Patterns as a base with foam and then create your own pin tuck fabric with 'New Royal' to drape and manipulate to cover the cups.  You could keep the base of the bridge straight but gothic arches are quite easy to draft so that would be a nice alternative too.

Well, Im pretty much convinced that I need to make all 10 of these swimsuits!  I think I'll start with the one I have planned for the sewalong and see how I go though.  I hope you'll join in with me on here, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #swimwearsewalong.

Happy swimwear sewing!



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  • Lynda on

    Those swimsuits all look amazing – who knew there were so many patterns out there?!!

  • Amy on

    Gorgeous fabric combinations – I love your recycled swimwear prints, they are really beautiful.

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