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How to Sew Your Own Goth Swimsuit: An Introduction

Image of three swimsuits on a dress form: The first is a one piece swimsuit with a halter top and ruched sides in a print with different cartoon interjections; the second is a two piece in blue fabric with white stars; the last is a one piece with a vintage vibe in a black fabric with red cherries.
Maison Fleur One Piece, Seamwork Maggie, and Closet Core Bombshell

It is a misconception that goths do not enjoy the beach. Every goth clothing website has a swimsuit section—leading to the conclusion that goths buy swimsuits, and if they do so, that’s because they are wearing them to the beach (or the poll, but don’t get me started on swimming pools. The thought of standing water where random people bathe is quite revolting). I would argue that it is not the beach that scares goths; it is the inclement summer sun that’s the culprit.

Yes, it is true that from 15 to 17, I boycotted the beach, but at the time, I identified as a metalhead. I did not want to be mistaken for a Patricinha—the Brazilian term for a yuppie. My pale skin was a cry against all the things Patricinhas stood for: Consumerism, capitalism, conformity. I’ve been fighting the good fight for a while now.

In the years that followed, I made peace with the beach. I go home (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) every June-July, and I make sure to visit the beach as much as I can. Even though this time is winter in Rio, the average temperature is a pleasant 75 degrees. The weather is lovely, but even better, the beaches are not super crowded because 75 is kinda cold for cariocas (=people born in Rio). 

I sewed my first swimsuit almost a decade ago. Since then, I sewed two more. Each one has taught me something about what I like or don’t in a bathing suit. The best part about making your own swimsuit is sewing something that is specific to your wants and needs.

These are the swimsuits informing what I will sew next:

Closet Core Bombshell Swimsuit

Closet Core Bombshell swimsuit ine drawing
Closet Core Bombshell, Line Drawing

When I sew my first swimsuit, Closet Core was still Closet Case, and it had just released its very first pattern, the Bombshell Swimsuit. I fell in love with its vintage look. To capitalize on it, I used a lovely black spandex with red cherries. I wore this swimsuit until it got too small for my boobs. I wish I could find this fabric again; it is no longer available from Girl Charlee, and I have not been able to find an exact match.

Image of a one-piece swimsuit with a vintage vibe in a black fabric with red cherries on a white table.
The Cherry Bombz Swimsuit

The Bombshell Swimsuit is gorgeous, but I would not recommend it to someone with a large bust. Because it ties behind the neck, it can be uncomfortable—especially if your bust is on the larger side. This pattern requires more fabric than the usual swimsuit because of the front panel ruching. But this is what gives the swimsuit its bombshell feel, so it’s worth it. 

Maison Fleur 8101 Halter-Neck

Line drawing for the Maison Fleur 8101 swimsuit sewing pattern
Maison Fleur 8101 Halter-neck Swimsuit, Line Drawing

My next swimsuit endeavor was the 8101 Halter-neck pattern by Maison Fleur. It also has a vintage-y look, with the side seams gathered with the help of a tie. The pattern has two options: The one piece that I made, and a two-piece with a high-waist bottom. I used a fabric I bought in Brazil—I believe it is suplex nylon. It is printed on one side, so when it stretches too much, it becomes whitish. It is also kinda hot.

Image of a one piece swimsuit with a halter top and ruched sides in a print with different cartoon interjections on a white table.
Crash! Uggh! Zoink! Swimsuit

This was an easier make than the Bombshell, and it needs less fabric since there is no front panel. The top fits well, but because my boobs are on the larger side, the behind-the-neck tie bothers me. I also realized that I prefer a two-piece swimsuit—it is much easier to maneuver as you are trying to use the restroom at a kiosk by the ocean.

Seamwork Maggie Swimsuit

Line drawing for the Maggie two-piece swimsuit by Seamwork.
Seamwork Maggie Swimsuit, Line Drawing

My last swimsuit has never seen the light of the sun. I used the Maggie Swimsuit by Seamwork with another suplex nylon purchased back home. I really enjoyed sewing it, and I love the top, but the bottom fits weird. It is too big with excess fabric in the front accentuating my tummy. The make matters worse, the front leg opening is too high, and I feel rather… exposed.

Image of a two piece swimsuit with wide straps and a high waist in a dark blue fabric with white stars  on a white table.

The top is another story. I LOVE it! The wide straps are perfect—the strain of holding the chest is evenly distributed, so there is no digging. It is such a relief not having anything hurting my neck.

Summer 2024 Swimsuit: The Inspiration

I recently bought a ready-to-wear two-piece swimsuit from Shapermint. I was really surprised how nice it is. It fits really well—so well that I’m gonna use it as the basis for my summer 2024 swimsuit!

The top has a “curtain” and the bottom has ruching on the side seams and the front. When I wear it, it looks like a one-piece. I get the look I want without having to undress completely to use the restroom.

Image of dark blue spandex fabric with big green eyes and eyelid eyelashes printed
Awakening Print, No Longer Available

I got this super cool fabric at Blue Moon Fabrics. Their selection is dizzying, especially when it comes to all colors of lining. The fabric is dark blue with big bulgy green eyes. It is no longer available—boooooo!!!!!—but they have lots of other fun prints. 

What Pattern is Right For You?

There are lots of swimsuit patterns out there. When I select one, I consider:

  1. Coverage
  2. Support
  3. Comfort

After a misspent youth in Brazilian bikinis, I prefer more coverage. I really like the vintage look, and I gravitate towards patterns that have some ruching in the tummy area. I need a top that provides good bust support. I learned that I hate swimsuits that tie behind my neck. I need two straps, and I want them to be wide enough not to dig into my shoulder.

Image of a swimsuit top with wide straps in a dark blue spandex with white stars
Wide Straps = More Comfortable and Support

You get to decide what you want from a pattern. It does not matter if you choose an itty-bitty bikini or a Victorian bathing costume.  The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable. 

Next week, I will share a few options for fabric, and we’ll talk about tools and techniques you will need to sew your swimsuit. See you then!

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