I think vintage high-waist bikinis are classy, comfy and cute! But, they cost quite a lot of money if you buy them in the store (and they're hard to find also) - and there's no guarantee they'll fit you properly. It's very simple and inexpensive to sew them yourself at home! Once you get the sizing right - you can make lots of different styles. I'll guide you through the process here! The bikini bottoms I made were from real vintage swimsuit material that I got from my grandma - obviously any swimsuit stretchy material will work!

I tried to get a variety of photos so you could really see how the fit was - I didn't do the best job in photographing myself - but I tried!

If you have any questions, please ask.

Step 1: Materials Needed to Sew Vintage Swimsuit

Picture of Materials Needed to Sew Vintage Swimsuit

Materials Needed:

  • One yard of swimsuit fabric (you may use much less - but it's better to have more just in case)
  • One yard of swimsuit lining fabric (optional - if you want to fully line your bikini bottom - if not, only 1/4 yard)
    • You can get material for a pretty good deal at any JoAnn Fabric store - with using a 40% off coupon.
  • 1/4-Inch Braided Elastic (generally comes in a bundle of 8 yards like this one)
  • 1/8-Inch Soft Stretch Elastic (in a bundle - need a couple of yards)
  • Swim Suit Bra Hook - if you plan on making the bikini top
  • Sewing machine, pins & fabric cutting tools (Any sewing machine should be fine. The one in my Instructable is this: Brother CS6000i Sewing Machine) and I love it - no problems in the 5 years I've had it. :)

Holly Mann is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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ChristyS42 months ago

i made these bathing suit bottoms, but i made them ariel style! :D just made up my own top with an old bra. just got back from hawaii wearing it for the first time and the bathing suit combined with my long red hair lots of people were calling me ariel :o it was so fun. thanks for the pattern! oh and a tip, i made my bottoms size medium by just using the pattern print you provide and rather then using the 1/4 inch seam allowance you provided on the pattern, i just added my own seam allowance onto the size of the pattern and it worked perfect for a medium size!

ariel c.jpg

ChristyS4 I love the way your bottoms came out! Curious how you got them to look more like shorts than bikini bottoms though! That's the style of bottom i'm looking to make.

Thanks! Chelsea

Kartos ChristyS42 months ago

Thanks for posting that you did this, I was looking for the pattern for the exact same thing, only one of her sisters :3

ChristyS42 months ago
faith_raye4 months ago

But I do want to know if you have any ideas for a sportier look, halter tops look awful on my shoulders, and aren't super comfy either. Any ideas??

faith_raye4 months ago

Thank you so much!! This is the most detailed pattern I have found. I am planning on making these for myself, and my sisters and friends. With your guide I am super confident they'll come out wonderful!! I am so excited.

Just as a head's up, using a cotton knit in the crotch area for the lining will help prevent yeast infections for those who are prone to that sort of thing...and anyone else really.

HollyMann (author)  sam.adams.52204 months ago

Thanks so much for the tip!

thundrepance4 months ago

well, first of all, the STYLE is cuter than cute!! secondly, i absolutely LOVE the fabric of the one you modeled {top foto}!

HollyMann (author)  thundrepance4 months ago

Thank you so much thundrepance! :) Made my day! :)

SarahL25 months ago

So cute, definatly gonna try it in time for summer.

payton38 months ago

what if i want to make one because i love high waisted everything and im a 14/16 in children's and do you have to like shorten the mesurement's ?

Miranda-Renae10 months ago
These are super cute! Are these items for sale if not would you be willing to make one? If so can you email me 6thvasquez@gmail.com thank you!
HollyMann (author)  Miranda-Renae9 months ago

Hi Miranda, I'm sorry for such a late reply! I may have time in a month or so from now if you are still interested. I am just busy with school right now...

lolavonder9 months ago

First of all, I`ll do my best but I can´t talk very well in English. I´m from Argentina and here is almost impossible to buy things with dollars, most of all, online things, and I´ve been looking for this pattern for months.. When I finally got it, it was yours! And I really think that is the best pattern of all, but.. I can´t download it, even when the information says that is free, It try to sell me the Pro membership. I´m so sorry that I can´t do this beautiful swimsuit by myself.. It´s so sad because in this country there aren´t any places that sell this kind of things and there are no patterns of this.. :( But I wanted to tell you that it´s a beautiful swimwear and congrats!

HollyMann (author)  lolavonder9 months ago

Hi Lola - Thanks for the comment and compliment! I'm going to send you a message....please check it! And your English is fine!

L.L.Cool1 year ago
Totally professional looking. Very well done.
HollyMann (author)  L.L.Cool11 months ago

Wow thank you!

This is my favorite type of bathing suit, but I can't ever find one! This is great! Thanks, and congrats on the win!

HollyMann (author)  FrecklesMagee11 months ago

Thanks so much!

I am having so much trouble trying to figure out where to add the inches. I am a size medium.. Where on the cutout for each piece do I add the inches? a picture would be very helpful!!

HollyMann (author)  CulturalDynasty11 months ago

Cultural Dynasty - I am SO sorry for the
late reply. Ok - I helped a friend make a suit that fit her pretty
precisely. We did this by using the pattern. We measured her waist and
hips (waist - thinnest part usually above the belly button a bit) and
then the hips - thickest part around the butt. Then the pattern
provided will have a finished size of 22 x 32 inches (but stretches).

you were to measure yourself and you have a waist of 28 inches and hips
of around 38 inches (it doesn't need to be exact since there is some
room for error with the stretchy material)....Then - you would take that
pattern you printed out - then tape more sheets of paper to the pattern
along the side of it where you will be increasing it. First, figure out
the size increase needed. You want to figure out what the finished size
needs to be that will work with your measurements. From the example,
you would need it to be a finished size of (at least) 28 by 38. So, you
will need this pattern to be increased by 6 inches on the waist and 6
inches larger on the hips.

When you look at the pattern piece
printed out, you will then need to add 3 inches to the top part of (the
waist) and you will need to add 3 inches to the bottom part of it also -
which will be the hips. Try to just use a ruler to make marks 3 inches
from the edge of the pattern and do that till you get to the crotch
area. The crotch area you may want to increase the size an inch - it is
up to you or your preference. Otherwise, the only changes needed are
along the side. Try to follow the path of the pattern to duplicate it as
it looks, but with the increased inches along the edge. I really hope
this makes sense. When I have time I can make a graphic!

marynystedt made it!1 year ago

so I made the bottoms of the suit, and I think they turned out pretty good for my first time sewing anything, but I'm unsure how to make the top. I was wondering if you could explain it a little more detailed. Thanks!

HollyMann (author)  marynystedt11 months ago

Wow great job! I am SOOO Sorry for not replying sooner - I did not see
or know you posted a picture either. Very sorry about that. Even though summer is over..I still want to give some type of reply. I haven't made one in a while...so I just reviewed the last step where I share how to make the top (the basics of it). If that is too vague...maybe I can make a clear tutorial on that in the near future. That's the only thing I can think of. Also, you can always get a pattern for a buck at Joann when they have their sales (which is sometimes weekly or every couple of weeks) to help you make the top...otherwise...I will be back and make a proper Instructable on making the top...sorry for any confusion!

garbski1 year ago

Thanks! I have a scar in the wrong place for a bikini anything (thank you, cancer). This suit looks like something I could pull out and keep my femme fatale image.

HollyMann (author)  garbski11 months ago

No problem. I am sorry about the scar..and the cancer. :( I hope you're doing better now and I hope you make a super cute swimsuit - I'm sure you'll be beautiful!

maicholito1 year ago

Agradezco fueran claros en información si no dejan descargar el pdf free no lo ofrezcan

yitsa1 year ago
Sorry, i have a question, you didn't explain the part of sewing the lining of the suit right?


bupkiss2 years ago
KimBaker2 years ago
I love this and thank you, thank you very much! I'm a huge fan of high waisted bikinis and this is a great idea! Thanks again,

shazni2 years ago
Wow Holly...yet another grand prize win! congratulations!
HollyMann (author)  shazni2 years ago
Thanks so much Shazni!
7under1roof2 years ago
Hi Holly! I understand now, apparently I had a different version of Adobe, so it was opening the .pdf but the print screen was completely different, and I just wasn't realizing that it was a different Adobe program. I downloaded the "reader" program and got it working! Thank you for the link and information! :)
HollyMann (author)  7under1roof2 years ago
Ok Good!!!
ashleiwhoaa2 years ago
It says that i need to become a pro member in order to get this pattern.
7under1roof2 years ago
I'm dying to print this out, but I can't find "Page Sizing & Handling" in order to change it to poster :( I've clicked on every "advanced" option on my print page and can't find any way to change it to multiple pages.
HollyMann (author)  7under1roof2 years ago
Hi!!! I'm glad you commented! I just uploaded one more image (see above) which will show you exactly how to print it out. You must use adobe reader to view the pdf file first. That can be downloaded here: http://get.adobe.com/reader/ free. Then, go to File: Print - and then the screen will popup. See my image for the rest of the instructions. Hope this helps!!!
And here is the Grand Prize Winnnner :). Congratulations!!! Holly. Happy to see you a winner (oops grand prize winner).
HollyMann (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya2 years ago
Thank you so much Tarun!! :)
hcachat2 years ago
I am definitely making this!!!! I can't stand how low cut most bathing suits are. Thank you for posting.
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