Swimsuit Variations Sew Along: Topic Overview, Fabric Basics, and the Variation One Sew Along

Hi Everyone! Welcome to the Swimsuit Variations Sew-Along! Over this four-part topic, we will take a deep dive into the new pattern with sew alongs for many of the variations. Throughout the course of this topic, we will cover many issues that arise when sewing with swim fabrics, such as the stitch types that work best, the recommended needles and machine settings, and the use of fold-over elastic. As we sew up each variation you will be able to practice different techniques and gain confidence for sewing with this finicky fabric!

The topic will be divided into four sessions:

  • Part 1: Topic Overview, Swimsuit Fabric Basics, and the Variation One Sew Along
  • Part 2: Variation Two Sew-Along
  • Part 3: Variation Three Sew Along
  • Part 4: Variation Four and Five Tops Sew-Along

I'll be demonstrating these methods using several different variations from the Liberty Jane Swimsuit Variations pattern. Follow along to see how easy it is to make these adorable swimsuits!


It's going to be a fun course! Are you ready? Let's go...


Watch the overview video for this months topic:


Patterns Used For this Topic: 

  • LJ Swimsuit Variations for 18" Dolls
  • Watch for the 14-15" doll size to be released later this month!

Supplies and Resources:

  • The print swimsuit fabric used in the sew-along was purchased at Liberty London (last summer). It's made from recycled materials, like plastic, it's pretty amazing, but unfortunately, they don't sell it anymore (insert sad face). The company that makes the fabric is Econyl, I think you can search around and find other suppliers of this same type of swimsuit fabric, but the colors and prints will vary. The blue floral on the cover and blue print used in  Variation 2 are also Liberty fabrics.
  • The orchid purple solid ruffle is from Fashion Fabrics Club (online).
  • We got a few recently from Fabric Fairy, they came pretty quickly too! Daisy Print Variation 6 is one example, but they have lots to choose from!
  • Fold Over Elastic can be found locally at stores like Wal-Mart, JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, etc. Look in the baby cloth diaper supplies, or even with the craft supplies, hair products, etc. You can also find a variety of colors and prints on Etsy, just search "Fold Over Elastic" and you'll see so many to choose from. I'drecommendd minimum lengths of 1 yard per swimsuit.
Ok, let's get started with the Variation One Sew-Along! 

In this tutorial, we are going to sew the one-piece design with the full off the shoulder ruffle that has a deep "V" dip at center back.

  • You will need pattern pieces One-Piece Front and One-Piece Back
  • Ruffle - 30" x 1-1/4"
  • Fold Over elastic - 1 yard cut into the lengths listed on the measurement chart. 
  • Thread that matches your elastic color.
  • Double-sided quilters tape (1/8" recommended), optional but I love this!

Follow along in the video to make the swimsuit. The body construction is pretty much the same as the original Free Swimsuit pattern, with the exception of the partial arm elastic. The off the shoulder ruffle instructions begin at 4:00 minutes into the video. Be sure to watch this to make sure you space the elastic properly and place it on the swimsuit as instructed to get an optimal fit. Once you determine how your machine sews the elastic, you can adjust your elastic length to be exact, currently, it is designed to have a bit ox excess at the ends because every machine is different.

Here's a close-up shot of the finshed swimsuit. Notice how the thread color becomes part of the design and is hidden in the elastic. The biggest tip here is to be sure to keep the stitching inside the edge of the elasitc, don;t let it creep over onto the fabric!


If you are new to SWC or simply need a refresher on sewing with swimsuit fabric, here are a few videos that go over everything in detail.

Week One task:

  • Watch the Topic Overview and the Variation One Sew-Along videos. Take some notes, get things prepped and organized.
  • Check out the Ultimate Resource Guide for fabric and supply sources. (Find this in the SWC Bonuses section)
  • Take some time to practice sewing on some small scrap pieces of swim knit fabrics. Try out different needles, stitch lengths, and stitch selections.
  • Follow along and make the Variation One swimsuit and be sure to share it with the group!
  • Jump over the SWC Facebook Group for conversation and project sharing.

Here are a few more videos that are good to reference. The original Free Swimsuit pattern covers the basics as well as sewing in detail witht he fold over elastic.

This is an overview of sewing with fold over elastic in more detail:



July 13, 2020

Discovered swimwear design only last summer and I am hooked! Great new pattern, Cinnamon!


July 11, 2020

I cannot get anything else than very fine jersey here in Norway and authoraties have made it difficult and VERY expensive to by from abroad from the Internet. Will the jersey do? I have bought just two sets as even that is difficult in tiny pattern variations. Kind Regards Birgit


July 08, 2020

I am finding it impossible to find fold over elastic other than white or black. What is a good alternative.


July 08, 2020

I wish you had a link to where you get your fabric choices. I love your choices and can not find them. I look forward to making several of these for my doll friends.


July 07, 2020

This month I HAVE to take out of my mind the fear to sew elastic fabric. Will let you know at the end of July ;-)

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