I made a Full Covering Swimming Costume for my daughter and one for me too! I originally thought about buying one but when I saw the prices I thought they were sooooo expensive and even then you are not guaranteed to get the exact size you want! So after Googling what fabrics would be required I searched for the best deal which happened to be on Ebay. I Googled Burkini and full covering swimming costumes to get some ideas of designs to inspire me!
The swimming costume was actually quite easy to make. I used one of my daughter's top's and a pair of her trousers to trace around for a pattern. These costumes are great for Muslim Women or women who just want something more modest. You can adapt this costume tutorial to suit your own style.
- Swimming Costume Fabric (there are a variety of mixes from Spandex/Nylon/Lycra/Polyester) I used 2 different colours of fabric.
- Sewing Machine and thread.
- Buttons and Elastic
To make the Tunic
I used a current long top of my daughter's and placed it on the fabric and traced around it (I didn't include the arms as I was using contrasting fabric for them.) - leaving extra space for sewing hems and also adding a high neck! I then cut out 2 pieces exact same size for the front and the back.
I personally wanted to add a design so added a long rectangle piece of contrasting fabric diagonally across the tunic. I simply cut the main parts of the tunic where I wanted the diagonal piece to go so that each tunic part was now cut into 2.
I then used the sleeves from my daughter's original top and placed them onto the contrasting fabric to make a pattern for the sleeves. I then cut out 2 pieces for the sleeves exact same size leaving a little extra for the hem. I actually used contrasting fabric to make some cuffs for decoration.
Once I had all the pieces I then sewed them all together. I started by sewing the cuffs to the sleeves and then the sides of the sleeves up first. Then I attached the diagonal piece of fabric to the tunic. Then I sewed the top part of the tunic at the neck to the top of the armhole and then from the bottom of the armhole to the bottom of the tunic. I then attached the arms to the tunic. I then made sure you I had stitched all seams securely, going over a few of them to strengthen them.
To make the Trousers
I again used a pair of my daughter's trousers and used them as a template to make a pattern for the swimming trousers. I then decided to add contrasting hems to the trousers too so sewed these to the bottom. I then sewed the trouser legs together to make a pair of trousers. I added a high hem at the top to make a waistband to add some elastic to make them fit more securely.
To make the head Piece
I then added a head piece, sorry not many photos! I cut out a rectangle piece of fabric and made a wide headband shape. I then cut out a circle shape of contrasting fabric and sewed this to the headband making a hat! I measured our head size to get the size I wanted for this piece. I then attached the hat to the top of the high neck of the swimming tunic at the back and coming around to the front, making sure that I ended the stitches so that it covers the ears. You can hem the part of the neck showing at the front, but I didn't as this fabric doesn't fray!
I then added buttons to the trousers on either side of the hip (below the waist). I then added to the tunic some wide elastic ( the ones you find inside trousers with buttons to extend the waist!) I had a lot of this in my stash as I always remove pieces from old clothing that have some use like buttons/zips etc. This enables the tunic and the trousers to attach so not to separate when swimming!
I made myself a swimming costume after this one but didn't bother adding contrasting cuffs and kept design simple which meant it was a lot easier and quicker to make. It is a personal choice as to how you want to change the design. I made the trousers quite baggy but some people like them a bit tighter which is easy to alter!
Here are some great You Tube tutorials I have found online to help with the sewing:
A YouTube Video on how to make Leggings (without the elastic waist - but that is not too difficult!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvILgAiJzR4
A YouTube Video on how to make a tank top. This shows you how to make a paper pattern if you wish and how to sew the front and top tunic together! http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=NMQKWpSLtZI&feature=fvwp
A YouTube video on how to add sleeves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HIqxLokrkI
An Elastic Waistband Tutorial I found: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FqtMjJBXXY
These are just a few videos, but there are many videos online showing you how to do specific sewing tasks that you may find more useful.