Swimwear is one of the most unique items of clothing to sew. To be functional, it needs to be able to withstand harsh environments and a lot of water. That makes choosing the right fabric for your swimwear sewing project key to getting great results – and making a swimsuit you’ll wear all summer long.

A typical blend is around 80% nylon and 20% of the stretchy bit. That bit is called LYCRA® if it’s by The LYCRA Company but can also be called spandex (SP) or elastane (EA), depending on where in the world you are and if it’s branded or not.

Durability: You’ll likely be wearing your swimsuit in environments that most clothing never have to deal with. It will need to hold up to saltwater, pool chlorine, abrasion from beach sand, as well as intense sun. This is why it’s important to choose a fabric that won’t start to quickly break down and degrade in those conditions.
Quick drying: Imagine going for a swim, then coming out of the water with a soggy swimsuit; you’ll want your swimsuit to dry as quickly as possible after you leave the water. No one wants to sit around shivering in a dripping swimsuit for long! Make sure to pick a fabric made from fibers that dry quickly and don’t hold onto water.
Stretchability: Of course, swimsuits need to stretch! They are usually made to fit tightly to the skin, meaning the fabric needs to have a good amount of stretch both horizontally and vertically so that you can pull your swimsuit on. For best results, go with a 4-way stretch fabric with at least 50% stretch in all directions.
Holds its shape when wet: You’ll want your swimsuit to keep its shape and stay tight-fitting when wet. Some fabrics tend to hold on to water and lose their shape when soaked, you’ll want to make sure to choose a fabric that will stay nice and form fitting no matter how wet it gets.
Elastic recovery: It’s extremely important to choose a fabric with good elastic recovery. If your fabric doesn’t recover well, it will quickly get permanently stretched out and won’t quickly snap back to its original shape after being stretched. Selecting a fabric with at least 8% elastane content will ensure that it will have great elastic recovery.
Compression fit: The fit of your swimsuit is a very personal choice, so this one is optional. Some people prefer their swimsuits to have a compression fit that holds the curves of their body in place. If that’s the kind of fit you want, you’ll need to consider the weight of the fabric and the strength of the knit to create a compression fit. Choosing a fabric labelled as “compression” or going with a heavier weight swimsuit fabric will help you get that tight hold.

Post time: Mar-22-2024