I’ve been wanting to write a much more in-depth book on swimwear since I wrote Make & Fit Swimwear some years ago. There wasn’t any book on the market that went into the fitting, design and construction of all types of swimwear, including tankinis, monokinis or even bra bikinis. I decided to write what I tentatively called “the Big Book of Swimwear”. Like the Bra-makers Manuals that I wrote several years ago, this is also a comprehensive guide to Design, Draft, Fit and Construction, only this book is all about Swimwear.

Why should I make my own swimwear?

Making your own swimwear is a pleasure unto itself. Not only can you save money by making bathing suits at home, but the design options, fabric choices and fitting opportunities abound if you choose to sew your own. The best part is – it will fit your unique body.

Once you have a basic swimsuit that fits you well, that pattern can be modified to make patterns for other styles of suits, and each of them will look completely different than the original. You can transform your basic pattern blocks into a whole library of swimsuit styles. You should be able to look at a style you like in ready-to-wear and duplicate that look at home. That is the goal of this book – to teach you how to fit a swimsuit pattern, then modify the pattern into many other styles of swimwear.

What’s in the Big Book of Swimwear?

The book starts off with identifying the types of swimwear, including both one-piece and two-piece suits and all the top and bottom variations you might encounter.  You’ll see the types of bust support and the back variations you might want to consider. We then move on to the style lines of swimwear that are flattering to the body with ample illustrations.

The next chapter is all about the materials used and how to choose them; from fabrics and linings to bra cups, elastics and hardware. Chapter 4 is all about patterns; measuring for a pattern or for foam cups and using a multi-size pattern to better fit your body. Then we move on to altering the patterns to fit you. Not only will you alter for length and width of your body, you’ll see bust cup alterations and how to draft the modifications for a separate bra back and even a built-in bra.

To the sewing machine! Learn the sequence of sewing a basic suit, as well as other one-piece suits. The section on correct machine settings and how to work with these sometimes challenging fabrics and elastics will make sewing swimwear a pleasure. The chapter on two-piece swimwear covers construction of tankinis, crop tops, swim shorts and bikinis. Learn to work with foam cups or foam lining to create your own unique and well-fitting suit.

Want to change the basic suit to a designer original? There are two chapters on designer details;  straps and neckline to the back and leg shape. There is even a section on modesty panels and colour blocking. Finally, use fabric to create texture with flare, frills, ruffles and ruching. (Yes, there is a difference!)

You can purchase the Big Book of Swimwear here.

10 replies
  1. Emma
    Emma says:

    Hi there, I’m interested in purchasing this book. Does it include instructions on how to sew bikini/swimsuit tops with underwires and foam?

  2. Sandra Siegrist
    Sandra Siegrist says:

    I can not say enough about this swimwear manual. It explains everything in an easy to read and understand way, like short paragraphs. The illustrations are also of high quality. I wish I had bought this years ago it would have saved me money on all the other resource books I have purchased. Every time I start reading it my heart goes into flutters. I wish I dare take it into the tub to read. I’m seriously considering buying a second manual as a spotless copy..mine already has lots of notes scribbled all over it

  3. Aliza
    Aliza says:

    This is the book I wish I’d bought! How does it differ from the small one, that I already have? And do you give instructions on how to adjust for a full tushy? (In clothing, I need to do both a full bust adjustment and a full butt adjustment. Clothes just aren’t designed for hourglass figures!)

    Also – could the advice in this book be used for dresses with open/strappy backs? I’m a 36F, so need a bra, but would love to wear sexy summer dresses, if I could figure out how to build in a bra… but not all the designs work with a band straight across the back.

    • Beverly Johnson
      Beverly Johnson says:

      The BBoS covers fitting, style changes and construction of multiple types of suits, including bikinis, tankinis, tanks and more. it is over 200 pages while the small book is only 70 pages. You really cannot compare the two. The smaller book is a good entry level book to get started in making swimwear, while the BBoS is for the advanced techniques.

  4. K.
    K. says:

    Will you be releasing this on on CD also? I feel like that is the most economical way to buy your books for me in Europe.

    • Beverly Johnson
      Beverly Johnson says:

      Not right away, but perhaps in the future, we will offer it on disc. But you mention about shipping to Europe – we have Bwear in Sweden that prints the books over there, so shipping could potentially cost a lot less than shipping from Canada.

  5. Judith Nowlan
    Judith Nowlan says:

    I have been reading it like a novel and planning out my next swimsuit. I cannot wait to start cutting into my fabric. Thank you very much for this Beverly.


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