July 14, 2012

Sew: Kwik Sew 3609 Bathers

What do you call them? Bathers, togs, swimmers, swimsuits, bathing suit? As I grew up in Queensland, I'm inclined to call them togs. But whenever I sew them, I call them bathers.

We're off on a tropical island holiday soon, so it was time for a new set of bathers. I made the Alison Swimsuit by Burda Style last year for our beach holiday in Japan. It was ok if I stood straight up but was hopeless with two kids hanging off me. It was one step away from a wardrobe malfunction resulting in the ladies popping out!

There is not a huge range of swimsuit patterns available but Kwik Sew has a few. None really took my fancy but I liked the top of the Kwik Sew 3609 and thought I could merge it into a one-piece using my RTW and Alison bathers as guidance. I used the pants and top from Kwik Sew 3609, modifying the skirt section to merge it into the pants but retain the same shape to attach to the top. I added 20cm to the centre front and 14cm to the centre back of the pants pattern, shaping the top of the pattern piece to mimic the skirt pattern. I then just drew a curve extending the side of the pants up to meet the top of the skirt pattern. This all worked remarkably well.

Project Details
Pattern: Kwik Sew 3609 - modified
Fabric: 1m floral swimsuit material and 1m black swimsuit material (for lining) from Rathdowne Fabrics
Notions: 2m x 8mm wide swimsuit elastic & 2m x 12mm wide swimsuit elastic
Alterations: Modified to make one piece using Alison pattern as a guide

Excuse the excessive amount of photos, but I really found it helpful to study other people's pictures when sewing these up. I was zooming in on the stitching and trying to work out how they finish swimmers. So I thought I'd help my fellow sewists out and include lots of photos.

Previously, on my Alison bathers, I finished the leg seams with a double-stitch but this caused a bit of a ridge and they weren't very comfortable. The finish is nice but the comfort was not. This time I decided on a triple stitch zig-zag to do all the top stitching and securing the elastic.

If you haven't sewn a swimsuit before and are a bit hesitant I encourage you to give it a go. They are quite a quick project and really not as hard as you think!

Helpful Links

From woolen capes one week to bathers the next! Life's never boring around here. So this is my first photo from my WIP photos yesterday. Next up the black & beige pleats!

L x


  1. They look terrific! Thanks for the close up photos too. I made the Allison swimsuit a year or so ago as well, and know what you mean about leaning forward too much with kids hanging off you...I really must make some more bathers for this summer.

  2. They do look terrific! I've been thinking of making some but have always felt daunted, I might embark on a pair for summer.

  3. From one season to the next in a flicker. Love the front twist, and your fabric choice is gorgeous. Here's hoping it holds up stronger than the previous attempt - is it a halter neck? Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  4. THey look terrific. I'm just about to start Dixie Chick's swimsuit sew-along. (I say togs - I'm a Queenslander too - I feel so posh saying "swimsuit"). Hope I get them finished for summer! I like your frankenpatterning.

  5. Currently struggling with my own suit. It's all gathered and is nightmare to sew. This looks lovely though! Kudos!

  6. You make it look so easy. I have yet to tackle togs more complicated than boys trunks but it is on my to do list.

  7. They look fantastic! I love the fabric. I hope you have a great holiday - you're perfectly equipped with those togs!

  8. So,pleased to have found your blog :) I have returned to dressmaking after a long absence and am enjoying reading how others tackle their projects ans see some little tricks of the trade. Your bathers (I am originally from Melbourne, my husband (Tas) calls them swimmers) are very swish, and a great example of mixing and matching to make something that suits you. Looking forward to reading more.

  9. Wow! So clever! I love the retro style. Florals on black backgrounds seem to be everywhere at the moment. I have a beautiful piece of lycra to turn into a swimsuit but I'm still yet to find the courage.

  10. I'm a QLD kid born & bred. I used to go swimming in my togs but my kids have brain washed me into saying swimmers. Our language is funny hay?

  11. So cute - making a bathing suit feels way beyond my ability (if you'd just used the word "togs" I'd have had no idea what you meant!) I've been seeing that style top all over in RTW but nothing in such a cute print!

  12. These bathers look fantastic. They actually look like they can handle a decent pair of "girls". You have definitely inspired me!

  13. Wow! You are so brave....I would never attempt a bathing suit. What a great job.


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