Introduction: How to Make a Mono-kini

About: I am a designer!
Learn how to easily create your own beach style! This is a tutorial for a monokini but it can easily be adapted for swimsuits and bikinis. Its all in the technique and luckily you have come to the right place to find out how to do it! This swimsuit is reversible too, all the seams are concealed within so you can have fun deciding on colours and patterns. You will need the swimwear block drafted to your size. I recommend using Winifred Aldrich’s Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear or Ann Haggar’s Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear to make the blocks. Links below.

You will need:
1.half a metre of 4-way stretch spandex jersey for swimwear (I get mine here Tia Knight Fashion Fabrics, highly recommended).
2.ballpoint stretch jersey machine and hand sewing needle
3.polyester thread (definitely not a natural thread, unless you want your swimsuit to disintegrate in the pool!)
4.sewing machine
5.swimwear block pattern
7.measuring tape
8. ruler
9. pins
10. fabric shears
11. paper scissors
12. felt pen
13.4mm elastic (approx. 3 metres depending on design)

Step 1: 1.Draft the Pattern.

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Step 2: 2. Cut Out Your Garment Pieces.

You will need to cut two of each piece. Using a dressmakers pen, mark out on the fabric to make your tie loops with. For my loops I wanted them to finish up at 4cm x 1.5cm. For this I needed to accommodate for folding and seam allowances. For six ties (four for the bikini bottoms and two for the top back ties) I drafted a rectangle of fabric that was 10cm x 30cm. This included my seam allowances and for folding the fabric in half. I also cut another smaller rectangle that was 10cm x 5cm for the centre front tie loop.

Also use the pen to draft out directly on the fabric, the ties themselves. I suggest cutting two 3cm by 90cm (one to be cut in half for the bottom bikini, one kept whole for the top back) and one approx. 3cm x 60cm for the front neck tie.

Use a zigzag stitch to stitch the seams on all the ties and tie loops. To be able to turn them inside out, stitch a length of cord at the top of the tie and stitch the seam with it inside. Turn inside out by gently pulling the cord pulling the tie right side out. Finish the raw edges of your ties by folding them inside and overhanding them fast.

Turn the rectangle for the loops right side out and cut into six equal pieces.

Step 3: 3. Pinning the Elastic.

Lay your pattern pieces right sides together. Begin pinning the elastic up to the seam allowance. Cut it off within the seam allowance before reaching the end so that when you turn the fabric it lays flat and doesn’t turn on itself and cause it to be bulky.

Fold the tie loops in half and insert where they should go. Pin in place. Do the same with the front tie loop. Cut the elastic before the front tie loop, it is not necessary to stitch elastic over it too.

Note: If you want a border on one side of the garment, first decide which fabric you want to form the border and then keep this one on top when pinning the elastic to the fabric. When stitching the elastic, if you keep the stitching on half of the elastic, closest to the edge, when the garment is turned right sides, the unstitched elastic will cause fabric from the underside to form a border. Similarly, if you don’t want a border, keep your stitching very close to the actual seam-line, the edge of the elastic should meet here. This will keep both sides to the garment separate when worn.

Step 4: 5. Stitch the Elastic

Set the zigzag stitch to about 5mm width. Begin stitching carefully, backstitching at the beginning and ends of each line to secure. Use an edge on the presser foot as a guide to keep your stitching straight down the elastic.

Backstitch the beginning and ends where the ties are inserted for extra durability.

The only part you don’t want to stitch is the crotch, leave that open.

If you look closely here, I have stitched almost to the inside edge of the elastic, but a small border should be formed when the garment in turned inside out. When the garment is worn pink side out, a thin cream border will be visible around the edges.

Step 5: 6. FInishing

Lastly, turn the bikini bottom right sides out through the unstitched crotch seam. Insert this into the crotch of the front swimwear piece with matching fabrics facing. Zigzag together the seam allowances of one side of the swimsuit at the crotch.

Now, turn out the whole swimsuit right sides. You are left with one side of the garment needing the crotch to be sewn up. Fold and pin one of the seam allowances onto the other. Using a matching thread, overhand this seam together.

Pull our your tie loops and flatten and straighten out the seams by hand. Insert your ties and get ready for summer!

For instructions on how to create certain stitches and for the pattern drafting books, check my site.