I’ve been wanting to try my hand at sewing a swimsuit for years, but have always been intimated by the idea. I’ve sewn pants, jeans, and lined coats in the past, but a swimsuit? That’s scary! (At least, it’s scary to me.)
Enter Beverly Johnson’s Sewing Swimsuits class from Craftsy. This class walks you through the entire process of constructing a swimsuit, including basic fitting adjustments and ideas for design alterations.
On the Craftsy website, Sewing Swimsuits has the following class description:
Sew swimwear that fits better than store-bought! Learn techniques for working with swimwear fabric, adding supportive cups, shaping seams and more.
Learn how to sew a one-piece swimsuit that’s comfortable and flattering with sewing expert Beverly Johnson. You’ll begin by discovering how to choose your pattern and fabric before making custom length and width adjustments. Beverly will show you how to construct a supportive bust with pre-formed foam cups or a built-in bra. You’ll even learn how to adapt your own bra pattern for your swimsuit if you choose the built-in bra option. Next, you’ll pull your suit pieces and lining together and create flattering curves whether you sew a suit with princess seams or a tank-style (maillot) design. Beverly will also help you modify the leg curve to suit your shape and add elastic to leg openings, neckline and armholes. Then, find out how to insert a built-in bra and finish your one-piece. Finally, Beverly will show you how to use stylish color-blocking designs in your swimwear and troubleshoot common fit issues.
Topics Covered In Class
This class covers the following topics on construction, fitting alterations, and design options. I’ve included notes in parentheses on topics that I found particularly interesting.
Lesson 1: Fit & Fabric
- About this Class
- Swimwear Basics
- Styles of Swimwear
- Choosing a Pattern (The only two patterns shown for this class are Beverly’s patterns. Note that these are fairly basic in style but have a wide size range.)
- Altering a Pattern for Fit (Basic pattern adjustments.)
- Adjusting for Body Length
- Drafting a Bra Back
- Fabric & Lining Options
Lesson 2: Interior Bra with Pre-Formed Cups
- Foam Cups for Swimwear
- Cup Sizing & Squish Test
- Preparing the Lining
- Inserting the Cups (Elaine used a similar method in her Bra Insertion Tutorial.)
- Cutting the Starburst
- Sewing the Cups to the Lining
- Finishing the Front
Lesson 3: Interior Built-in Bra (You’ll want to be familiar with bra construction and have a well-fitting bra pattern if you go with this option.)
- Built-in Bra Basics
- Modifying Your Pattern
- Modifying Your Cup Pattern (This is super-useful if you are modifying a bra pattern for a swimsuit.)
- Drafting a Supportive Powernet Insert
- Sewing Cut & Sew Foam Cups
- Adding Inner Cup Trim
- Next Steps in Construction
- Adding Elastic to Frame
- Adding Cups to Frame
- Adding Channeling
Lesson 4: Constructing the Suit
- Attaching Lining
- Sewing Center Back Seam
- Finishing the Bra-Back Keyhole
- Adding the Front Lining
- Tank with Built-In Bra
- Princess with Pre-Formed Cups
- Sewing the Princess Seam
- Stitch & Flip Gusset
Lesson 5: Completing the Suit
- Leg Curve Adjustment
- Transferring Adjustments to Pattern
- Choosing & Applying Elastic (She shows different types of elastic and explains her preference.)
- Elastic: First Pass
- Elastic: Second Pass
- Adding the Bra-Back Closure
- Inserting the Built-in Bra
Lesson 6: Fit Adjustments & Color Blocking
- Common Fit Issues: Length
- Side Seam
- Bum Dip
- Fitting for a Panniculus (a.k.a. a “mother’s apron”)
- Clever Color Blocking
Topics NOT covered in Class
Given the name and description of the class, there really wasn’t anything that I had expected to be covered in this class that wasn’t. It might have been nice to have covered one or two more detailed suits/suit cuts beyond the basic tank and princess seamed styles that are covered in the class, although I suspect that you could probably pretty easily apply the class concepts to more complicated/detailed styles.
Sewing Swimsuits – The Supportive One-Piece retails for $49.99 (USD) when it’s not on sale. I took advantage of a sale and paid $19.99 to enroll in this class. I will say that I’m spoiled and always wait for a $19.99 sale for my Craftsy classes–those sales happen quite frequently. This class was easily worth the price that I paid.
I particularly enjoyed or found the following aspects of this class useful:
- It comprehensively covers swimsuit construction from start to finish. Even if you don’t need the extra bust support added by foam cups or a built-in bra, this class would still be useful for someone learning to construct a swimsuit.
- Beverly is fantastic at laying out different options (such as foam cups vs. a built-in bra) and explaining when and why you might opt for one option over another.
- On a similar note, Beverly is great at explaining why she’s doing what she’s doing when the video shows her performing a construction step. Sometimes she might forget to mention something when it’s first introduced, but she always gets back to it.
- If you have certain body areas that you’re self-conscious about and wanting to minimize,
I’m a newbie to swimwear sewing, so I might not be the best person to identify weaknesses for this class. I actually found it amazingly comprehensive and that it answered all of the questions that I could think of. I do think that a follow-up class covering more complexly detailed suits would be useful.
Overall Rating (1-5) + Explanation: 4.5
If you can’t tell, I thought that this class was fantastic. It does a great job of de-mystifying swimsuit sewing, and Beverly is a very engaging instructor (as many of us know from her Craftsy bra classes). I’m pretty confident that if you enjoyed and found her bra classes useful, you’ll find this class useful, too.
If you’re interested in taking this class but still have questions about it, feel free to post them in the comments section, and I’ll answer them as best as I can.