Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a huge selection of swim fabrics slowly popping up. As sewing swimwear becomes more and more popular, so does the fabric selection become more readily available and easy to source.
When I first started sewing swimsuits, I really wasn’t sure what to look for in my fabrics. All I knew at that point was that I needed some sort of knit fabric (see my ignorance there ;)). As I dug into the world of swimsuits, I learned that I would need a spandex/nylon fabric. Swim fabric should consist of mostly nylon or polyester (80% – 90%), with at least 10% to 20% Lycra or spandex. Swimsuit fabric should be lightweight, durable and very stretchy with good recovery.
You also want to pay attention to the direction of stretch. Is the fabric a 2-way stretch or a 4 way stretch? If the fabric only stretches from selvage to selvage , without much stretch going the length of the grainline, then it is considered a 2 way stretch. If it stretches both selvage to selvage and the length of the grain, then it is considered a 4 way stretch.
Paying attention to the direction of stretch is important, especially if you plan to sew a one piece swimsuit. A one piece swimsuit has negative ease in both the width and the height, which means it is important to have a fabric with 4 way stretch for a one piece swimsuit. However, if you are sewing a 2 piece swimsuit than you would be able to work with either a 2 way stretch fabric or a 4 way stretch fabric.
Okay, now that we know what we are looking for, where do we go to find it?
Swimsuit fabric has become more readily available to the home sewist the last few years. If shopping your local fabric store you can often find swimsuit fabric with the “performance” or “athletic” fabric.
In addition to having good, durable swimwear fabric, many people prefer to line their swimsuits. For the most part I line my swimsuits with lightweight swim lining fabric. I personally buy my lining in basic nude, white and black. However, you could also line your swimsuit with neutral-colored swim fabric. This option is especially nice if you have swim fabric that is somewhat shear or if you would like extra support.
Some of my favorite go-to shops for swim are online, because they offer so much variety!
*Please Note I am located in the US. I am including these shops on the list because either I have have bought swim fabric from them or because they have a large selection.
Blackbird Fabrics (Canada Based)
These are just a few great shops to get you started, but there are so many more! The great thing is, it really does not take a lot of fabric to make a great suit, making it pretty economical to make suits for your little ones 🙂a Rafflecopter giveaway