The Olympics Made Me Do It

It appears I sew swimwear every four years.  That’s when I bought the bulk of my swim fabric. I’m an obsessive Olympic watcher and seeing the beach volleyball players and divers make me want to swim.

For this iteration I used a poly lycra Trena donated to me about a year ago. The pattern used is the same fitness top from the out-of-print (OOP) McCalls 8813 and the view E bottoms (string bikini).

On the top, I added another 3/4 inch FBA for a total of 1 3/4 inches. I also took two inches out of the band width to try and get closer to my size. For support, I added power netting and 3/4 inch elastic for the underbust.  I (still) lined the top and lined the front of the bikini bottoms. 

For construction, I used my elasticator foot on my serger to apply the swim elastic and topstitched with a twin needles and my walking foot. The tops definitely has more support now and a bit of compression too. Marta asked if this could work as a sports bra. My best guess is ‘yes’. But, I’ll be honest, my sports bra is a ridiculous $60 affair from Under Armour.

The bottoms… well, let’s just say they are a little early 2000’s high waisted! They are not at my navel, but hipsters are more flattering to my heavy bottom half. Here’s a comparison of my Patrones bottoms with these.

I can’t be bothered to sew a second bottoms right now. But, I want to merge these two patterns. The McCalls has great rear coverage but I like the height of the Patrones.

And if you worry I’m sewing to be sewing… I’m back in the pool. It’s too hot to run and my gym has a really lovely pool. Maybe what this really means is I need to have a beach weekend soon.


  1. That swimsuit is fantastic! Haha! I love your post – made my day – and Congrats on a wonderful suit!

  2. Great suit! My husband and I have been swimming every day since the Olympics; we detail the athletes forms and critic each other in the pool, it’s been great!

  3. An Elasticator foot? I’m intrigued and will have to look that up, I’ve just always taken the blade off when serging on elastic but I do love learning a new trick!
    I agree with you on watching the Olympics and staring at all the ladies in the swimsuits, although for me a lot of it was “geez I should play beach volley and get a bod like that!” ha ha! I love the suits the syncronized swimmers wear, they’re so cool!

    Good luck on your pattern merging!

  4. I am totally intrigued by that cross over waistband on one view of the bottoms. Have you made that? I may have to locate this pattern just for that waistband. I would like to use that for workout pants as well as a swimming bottom.

  5. I really like the fabric with the flowers. I’ve just recently purchased a reversible swimsuit (thus, with no lining), and gave no thought to trying ot make my own suit, although, my confidence is growing. I just found your blog today after searching for a pattern review ( I really appreciated your take on the dress, and have enjoyed your blog even more today.

    I am getting back into sewing after exploring other hobbies and its really nice to find others with a ‘voice’ similar to mine. I am now picking things back up by tyring out new patterns and fabrics, finding local groups (I’m in Northern Virginia) and taking a class or two here and there. Looking forward to reading more. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Ahhh! Thank you very much. Sewing is the best hobby, ever. There are sometimes meetups in Baltimore and DC. I’ll try to email them to you as I hear about them. Welcome back to sewing!

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