Saturday, June 18, 2011

Converting a dance costume pattern to swimsuit

Our little one is pretty skinny, and she get's cold in the swimming pool. I thought she'd be happier with something like a wetsuit, but we couldnt' afford to buy something like that. Fortunately, my friend Sheila had sent me this great dance costume pattern, Kwik Sew: 2678.
Also, here is my Pattern review for the swim suit.

I figured I could combine the long sleeved view B with the pants in View A (tapered at the ankle instead of flared) to make a 2 piece body suit for Liz.

Sheila had also sent me a large amount of lycra/nylon scraps she uses to make dance costumes. She told me the material is very suitable for swim suits as well. I found a sparkly pink and a neon pink that I thought would work well together.
There was barely enough of the sparkly pink to make the contrasting top, I even had to cut the arms in 2 pieces each, but I got it to work. I had enough remaining scraps to add some contrasting blocks to the bottom of the pants, so they looked more like a part of the outfit.

Sewing lycra for the first time was a bit of a challenge. I found that the sparkly pink fabric had less than the required 75% stretch called for in the pattern, so we couldn't get it on through the neckhole. I kept popping seems, too. I have since learned that this is as much due to using old thread as anything else.

However, I still needed some way to get it on her. Rather than make the neck larger, or add a snap to the back, I decided to make it snap at the crotch. This was a pretty simple little change, and I think it works great.

I had to size the original pattern down substantially. the smallest included in the pattern was a 4. Sheila gave me some tips on getting a suit like this to fit well. She said to use body measurements exactly, or possibly even with a little negative ease. I wanted a nice snug fit, so I went with 0.5" negative ease. The fit turned out great for the top!

The pants were a little trickier than I'd expected. As I mentioned earlier, I added a little sparkly pink color block to the bottom, so they matched the rest of the outfit better.
I also found I had to remove 1" from the crotch depth. I didn't make this adjustment until after I took pictures, so you'll notice the crotch area on the pants is a little baggy.
This seems to me to be a very common adjustment I need to make (on adult patterns as well), so I'm going to start checking crotch depth on the pattern pieces before cutting from now on.

Anyway, here is the finished outfit. Great fit, and she loves it. :D
Now we just have to go to the pool and test it out in the water!


  1. Really appreciate this post...Hope to see more good posts in the future.

  2. When a child decides that they want to learn to dance, they often imagine themselves performing on stage in front of an admiring audience. Most dance schools put will put on a show at least once every two years, if not every year, in order to give their students the opportunity to do this. In order to get to this stage requires a lot of hard-work and commitment but is extremely rewarding for everybody involved. One of the most memorable things for an audience in addition to the dance routines are the dance costumes.