Self-designed Kaftan and Making Swimwear

Self-designed Kaftan and making swimwear

As you read this I should hopefully be in the last throes of a Greek holiday (providing no flights were cancelled, and everything went well). Anyhow, I was busy sewing up beachwear a few weeks back and today I want to share with you my self-designed kaftan and first attempt at making swimwear!.

Firstly the kaftan…so my starting point was a 2m x 1.10m sarong from eBay which I paid £13 for. I cut my front and back pieces making sure that the front section was 1 and a half inches longer so that I could put in some bust darts. I kept the fringing at the hem of the body because it looks fab along the bottom but I kept the sleeves plain and I cut those from the leftover side piece. I made the sleeves a 3/4 length for more sun protection and I added a slightly curved sleeve head to the top of the sleeve so that it hangs nicely. 

The smaller leftover pieces became neckline binding, a long tie and the channel for the tie under the bust.

Self-designed Kaftan and making swimwear
Self-designed Kaftan and making swimwear

Next up is swimwear or more specifically bikinis (yes I’m over 50 and yes I wear bikinis 🙂 ). I’m not a fan of one-piece swimwear because of the bathroom faff, but if I wanted more coverage I could always make a tankini instead.

My fabrics are from Funki Fabrics and wow their selection is impressive!  I actually bought four lengths for myself but I only had time to make two of them up. 

My starting point for my bikini top is the Boylston bra that I’ve adjusted for myself (after countless toiles and a change of underwire). I’ve sewn up the top just as I would a bra except for using rubber elastic instead of plush elastic and a bikini clasp at the back. The cups are fully lined with stable sheer cup liner for lots of support and the back band is self-fabric on top of power mesh. I didn’t add padding to the cups because I wanted my top to be quick-drying after a swim session.

 I created a halter strap instead of regular bra-style straps and on my leopard print fabric bikini I love the slight 50s neckline shape that’s happening. 

My second bikini is a striking feather print and the only change I made was on the top cup which I shaped up at the sides with an extension that threads through a ring that the halter strap also threads through. This gives me a slightly different shaped neckline with more of a curved sweetheart vibe. 

For both of the bikini bottoms, I copied a pair of ready-to-wear ones that I have which have a double-layered fabric band that folds over at the top and feels very comfy. I used my basic pant pattern and checked all the measurements against the bikini bottoms that I already had and created my own pattern from them.

I’ve fully lined the bikini pants with white swimwear lining and I’ve used rubber elastic throughout. The fit is lovely and that double band once folded over becomes quadruple and acts as a lovely tummy control panel and feels extremely comfortable. The rise of these is a mid-rise and they give me plenty of bottom coverage too. 

I’m absolutely thrilled with my first go at sewing swimwear even if the stitching isn’t perfect (don’t look too closely. Lol!) 

Talking of stitching I had quite a job finding out the right combination of thread and needle for my fabrics. I ended up with a Schmetz stretch needle size 75 and the only thread that gave me the least skipped stitches was on small overlocking spools with an unusual brand name that I’ve not heard of (Amann Threads?). I had to make both bikinis up using this thread because, so I couldn’t match up colours as every time I tried something else I couldn’t sew! Anyway, despite that, I’m really chuffed with the fit and look of both bikinis and I don’t think I’ll ever buy a ready-made one again.

Thanks for stopping by and tell me if you’ve sewn your own swimwear. What threads and needles work for you? Do share if you don’t mind.

See you soon!

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  1. Maureen
    July 4, 2022 / 2:41 pm

    Your bikinis are so pretty. I love the fabric on both! Enjoy your vacation!

    • Diane
      July 4, 2022 / 8:35 pm

      Thanks ever so much Maureen!

  2. Christine
    July 4, 2022 / 3:06 pm

    Some great makes and I salute you, I have thought about making my own swimwear for about many, many years but always chickened out

    • Diane
      July 4, 2022 / 8:35 pm

      Thank you, Christine! I’m happy I decided to bite the bullet and try my hand at swimwear. I love how they fit me so well and I feel nicely supported in the bra tops. You should definitely give it a go. Do lots of testing for stitch, thread and needle type, it’s worth the effort.

  3. Angela Gerbrandt
    July 4, 2022 / 6:17 pm

    Love, love, love your bikinis. Thanks for this!

    • Diane
      July 4, 2022 / 8:32 pm

      Ohhh, thank you, Angela!

  4. Joan
    July 5, 2022 / 8:10 pm

    Wow — great swimsuits and coverup!!!
    I haven’t become excited about making my own lingerie (at all!), but as a warm up for making my best-fitting swimsuit: that makes a lot of sense to me!

    Beautiful fabric choices on those bikinis and sexy, too! Wish I could wear a 2-piece, but I only did that from age 14 to 15 and my abs have always been my trouble spot…

    Your kaftan is very nicely styled, and what a good idea to work from the sarong with the lovely tassel detail!
    Hope you had an amazing Greek holiday!!!

    Was curious about Amann, as it sounded familiar. Turns out it is a very old tech manufacturer in S. Germany:

    • Diane
      July 6, 2022 / 9:31 am

      Ohhh, thank you so much, Joan, you’re too kind. I’m so glad you love my beachwear and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to RTW bikinis.
      And thanks for that link about Amann…interesting!
      And thank you, we did have a fantastic holiday. It was so good to get back to Greece after a break of 3 years…however, my husband now has Covid and is really suffering. We can only conclude that he caught it right at the end of our break or on the plane back 🙁

  5. July 8, 2022 / 11:57 am

    Beautiful makes Di! So smart to use your bikini top pattern for the top. Gorgeous I hope you are and Mr Dreamcutsew are living it up in Greece.

    • Diane
      July 8, 2022 / 4:13 pm

      Thanks so much, Emma! We’re back home now from our hols and had a fab time, but hubs came down with Covid 2 days after we got back home 🙁

  6. Barb
    July 15, 2022 / 2:03 pm

    Appreciate the info on needle, thread & notions. Am checking out the fabric supplier, cute swimwear prints are not available locally. Beautiful kaftan & swimwear💚

    • Diane
      July 16, 2022 / 10:26 am

      Thank you, Barbara! Oh, that’s a shame about the lack of fabric options. You could have tried Funki fabrics but overseas postage is so pricey these days!

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