An Upgrade on My Girls’ Home Sewn Swimsuits

An Upgrade on My Girls’ Home Sewn Swimsuits

Over the years I keep sewing up raglan tops for my girls’ swimming suits and pair them with a variety of bottoms ranging from underwear to leggings. I realized that although I keep changing how I attach the neckband to the top of the raglan overall not much really changes. Thus, once seeing all the swimming suits in one place, figured I’d give you a comparison in case you’re thinking of making the same. Looking back I love them all and I’m so glad I made them.

Pinterest-geared image showing my post's title, five images also found below, and my main URL.

Past Swimming Suits

In the past I shared, over two posts, my first version of our swimming suit (in Sew a Rash Guard Swimsuit Top Using your Favorite Raglan Pattern and The Lead Up to Sewing My Raglan Swimsuit) which included a quick test with a magnetic enclosure. I loved their swimming suits but had trouble doing the placket and noticed the snaps kept trying to slip out of the slippery swim fabric.

Both girls exploring a creek in their new swimming suits.
My first set of swimming suits with awesome sparkling mermaid scale fabric (from Surge Fabric) paired with red sleeves and bands.

The next year I bought custom swim fabric through Whimsy Baby Customs for the girls and knew I needed to up my game. Using a tutorial through Made For Mermaids, How to Add a Snap Placket to a Romper, I upgraded the placket while using the same sewing patterns as last time – a knit raglan shirt pattern (through Ellie and Mac) and an underwear pattern (through Stitch Upon a Time). I shared my upgraded process here: Kids’ Swimming Suits – Second round with an extra year of experience.

Image shows a flat lay of two swimming suits. Both suits consist of a raglan and a pair of bottoms. The one is Pete the cat with stripes and a panel on the front. The other is a mermaid saying "believe" and coordinating scales and waves.
I absolutely adored how the girls were able to choose their suit from Whimsy’s custom fabric preorder and I loved how they looked together.

Since those posts went live I’ve since made the girls two new swim tops and three new swim bottoms. The next set was another raglan (temporarily switched to the Ragamuffin one) but, this time, paired with swim shorts using the Apostrophe Pattern’s MyFit Leggings. I was especially proud of these as they copied the girls Halloween costumes that year with a pumpkin and Wonder Woman.

Image shows two swimming suits one orange like a pumpkin and the other looking like Wonder Woman with blue shorts and a red top with yellow bands at the arms. At the bottom it says Week 42 as it was submitted that week in the 2020 sewing challenge.
The pumpkin and Wonder Woman inspired swimming suits were a favorite I was proud of. I especially love that I could do this using scrap swim I bought in a scrap box from Boho Fabrics in the past. This image is taken from 52 Week Sewing Challenge in 2020… All Challenges Accepted!

The next year the swim tops still fit but the bottoms were a bit too small so I resized them in the MyFit Leggings generator and made them a new pair to go with their old top. It was kind of funny to see how faded Zoey’s suit had gotten as the new shorts were darker in comparison. Ada took advantage of the opportunity and requested red and yellow swim bottoms instead of the original blue. I had just enough left to make it a reality for her!

This year I knew they needed new swimming suits again and so I let them pick out their own fabric through Boho Fabrics. I kept my go to raglan pattern but extended the placket and changed the neckband once again. I also switched to the Stitch Upon A Time kids’ boxerwear pattern for the swim bottoms.

Image shows the two new long sleeved tops with a matching shark-themed plackard on the one shoulder. The shirt behind is green cheetah spots while the one in front is colorful palm leaves.
Their new swim tops with woven shark fabric for the placket and matching snaps. These shirts are hacked from the Ellie and Mac raglan pattern.
The two new swim bottoms matching their corresponding top with lining showing through the openings.
I sized them into the Stitch Upon A Time kids’ boxerwear pattern and, like the swim bottoms before, hacked it to have a swim lining for more coverage. I basically made two boxers, put the liner one inside the swim outer one wrong sides together, and then sewed them in place by adding the waistband and leg bands.

In case you’re looking at making your own swimming suit I figured I’d share a comparison over the years before going over how I specifically changed the suit this time around.

Quick Note: I wanted to mention that each of these times I either used a pattern I sized the girls in recently or sewed up a new muslin, a wearable garment, in cotton Lycra to confirm the pattern size fit before going ahead with the swim fabric. This way you can check if the sleeves need to be lengthened (I did and then forgot to do so this time) or make other needed changes.

Comparing the Swimming Suits by Pattern

The first years I used the Stitch Upon a Time Scrundlewear pattern and, as mentioned in the previous photo, hacked it to create a lining inside the underwear. As such I skipped the official liner piece as it wasn’t needed. I followed this same idea for all the swim bottoms I made over the years regardless of the sewing pattern used.

Image shows three pairs of swim bottoms of the same shape as normal underwear.

I then switched the bottoms to Apostrophe Pattern’s MyFit Leggings so I could generate a custom set of shorts based on my girls’ measurements, the fabric they wanted, how high they wanted the waistband, and where the short bottoms should end up. The girls loved being able to dictate the custom fit but I found they grew out of them quicker as they fit so perfectly to their current size.

Image shows four pairs of long shorts laid out. The two on the left are orange (of different hues), then a blue one, and finally a yellow one with red bands.

This year I went back to Stitch Upon A Time but switched up the pattern to use their kids’ boxerwear. It fits perfectly. I love that I have options based on what they want and I can make them a truly custom fitting swimming suit.

Image shows two swim boxer wears laid out on the kitchen table. Both have a front section and are lined.

In contrast with the swim bottoms I found their swim suit top hardly changed over the years. Though I guess I did do a few changes like upgrading to a woven placket after the first year, continuously changing the neckband, and somehow switched the side of the placket this year along with extending it.

Image shows six swim raglans laid over top of each other in such a way that all the neckbands, plackets, and a sleeve are shown. The newest is on top and the oldest at the bottom furthest away from the viewer.

For the neckbands themselves I used to simply sew them on meaning the neckband easily flipped down and the ends of the seam were visible (shown in the blue and white top below). The next year I used the Ragamuffin raglan which told me how to bind the neckline (red swim top below) which I liked compared to the previous version yet still didn’t like the look of the ends. This year (palm frond top) I encased the neckline inside the folded neckband and topstitched it together. It’s not perfect but I like how it turned out compared to the other years.

Image shows a closeup of the neckbands and plackets of three of the swimming tops.

This Years

Like the previous years I sewed up the swim bottoms by making an outer and inner layer and then nested them together, to be treated as one piece, before sewing the bands on. That was the only hack I made to the swim bottoms. For the swim top; however, I hacked the placket and changed up the neckband since the neckline was now open. As such that’s what I’ll go over here:


I followed the same steps I used before but this time cut the placket longer. I’m not sure if I like the entire seam becoming a placket but we’ll see how it goes this year.

Image shows the open seam with a placket clipped to the underside or upper side of the fabric.
Left: Placed the placket against the wrong side of the fabric before clipping it and, after this photo, serging it together. It will then be flipped around and topstitched in place becoming the underside of the placket. Right: Placed the placket against the right side of the swim fabric, clipped the raw edges, and serged the seam. This will then be flipped out and become the top side of the placket. I didn’t topstitch along the seam but you can if you can do so if you want it to lie flat.

While lining up the raw edges I realized that Ada’s cheetah print suit had the placket go to the end of the seam while Zoey’s palm frond suit had excess fabric at the end. For Ada’s cheetah I overlapped the plackets, clipped them in place, and lined up the side seam making sure that the placket didn’t shift while it was sewn. The side seam sewed over the placket edge so it’s covered up a bit with the seam allowance. For Zoey’s palm fronds I laid out the rest of the raw edge of the remaining fabric right sides together and serged it from the edge of the woven placket to the armpit of the shirt. This is how it was with the earlier raglans as they had shorter plackets. To keep it doubly secure I then unraveled the serger tail and carefully tied it tight before clipping the side of the shirt together and serging the side seam together.

Image shows both seams with the top shirt clipped and showing the underside of the fabric. The bottom shirt is open showing both sides of the placket.
Zoey’s shirt (top) had the placket end before the end of the seam so I carefully lined it up right sides together so it could be sewn closed. Ada’s (bottom) had a placket that went to the end so the side seam was more stressful but I could also skip right to that step.
Image shows the one inch long seam with the placket opening above it.
I carefully lined up my serger so it would start right at the end of the woven placket and serge off along until the end. I needed it to stay secure so I quickly unraveled the tail against the placket and tied it in place.
Image shows the placket pieces being clipped together so they overlapped and the edge of the two pieces of fabric met up.
Since Ada’s placket went straight to the end I couldn’t serge it in place. Instead I lined it up carefully and clipped the end so it wouldn’t budge in the next steps.
Image shows a closeup of the armpit section with three clips holding it in place so it stays lined up and secure.
I then started at the armpit and carefully clipped the sides together making sure that the placket didn’t open as I adjusted the clips.
Image shows the two shirts laid overtop of each other showing the clipped side seam and the opening of the placket.
With the placket seams finished or clipped securely I went along the rest of the side seams and clipped them in place before serging them together.

If you want more photos showing the placket creation you can check out my earlier post: Kids’ Swimming Suits – Second round with an extra year of experience.


Since the neckline was open, with the placket, I couldn’t follow the normal neckband directions. I also remembered how much I disliked the ends of the neckband the previous years so I decided to change it up once again. This time around I started by folding the neckband in half lengthwise, right sides together, so I could serge the ends closed and, hopefully, use it to hide the top of the placket. I then quartered the neckband and neckline so I would better know where to start attaching the two together. Before proceeding I next flipped the edges of the neckband inside itself, so it was halved in height, and ready to go. I then attached the folded neckband to the neckline making sure that the neckline was fully enclosed within the neckband before replacing the clips. Once those points were attached I stretched the fabric between them, while checking that the neckline was fully in the neckband, and clipped them some more. Once secured I used the lightening stitch on my sewing machine to topstitch along the edge and hold it all together.

image shows the band folded in half with the two ends folded lengthwise and clipped in place.
I started by folding the ends in half, clipping them in place, and, after this photo, serging them closed.
Image show the shirt laid out with the band folded lengthwise above it. Both have three clips on it showing the halfway and two midpoints.
With that done I quartered the neckband and neckline to find the center point and the two quarter points. Normally there’d be four points, hence quartering, but since the placket opens I used their edges as the last points making five in total for each.
Image shows the neckline enclosed within the neckband at one point with a clip holding it in place. The rest isn't connected but the midpoint clips are there.
I started putting the two together at the three clipped points before going onto the ends and then between those points.
Image shows a red chalk mark where the green transparent clip is and a red chalk pen beside it.
With Zoey’s suit I was able to use the fronds to remember where the clip was when I had to remove them. With Ada’s it was more difficult so I quickly chalked, in a hopefully hidden spot in case it didn’t come out, where each clip was before continuing.
Image shows the folded neckband above the neckline. Both shows a chalk mark under or below the clip.
I then matched up the halfway point clips, removed them, and had the chalk marks to see how to specifically line up the fabric.
Image shows the two chalk marks meeting with the neckline right against the folded over neckband.
I folded both edges of the neckline in so the raw edges met in the middle, placed the neckline above the bottom so it also lined up with the raw edges, and then, after this photo, folded the top down so the raw edges were all hidden.
Image shows the clip over the red mark holding the folded neckband on the neckline.
I then re-added a clip to keep it secure before going over to another section and repeating these steps.
Image shows Zoey's neckline with one end completely clipped in place, the quarter points done, and the remaining end and spaces left to do.
After doing the halfway and quarter points I folded in the end of the neckband and did the two end points. Here only one end point is done at the upper left side and I’m about to do the other end. After those first points where secured I took the space between them, stretched the fabric, confirmed the neckline was nestled in the folded neckband, and clipped them in place too. Once it was all done I topstitched it down.

Final Step – KamSnaps

All that was left to do was the KamSnaps. Like before I choose to use only three with the idea I could add more if there were gaping areas. I used my Crop-a-dile II to punch a hole at the top and bottom of the top placket before folding it in half to find the center and punching a third hole there. For the bottom placket I first lined up the plackets as if it were closed and used my disappearing ink pen to mark where the top holes lined up. I then punch three more holes at those marked locations. With that done I inserted the snaps… and, only lost three pieces as I made a few mistakes, thanks Matt for removing the one I inserted backwards.

Image shows the placket lined up with a pen tip inside one of the holes marking the lower placket.
After punching holes in the top placket I used my pen to mark where the bottom holes should be.
Image shows the two plackets with one open and the other snapped closed. There's also a box of bagged KamSnaps, the Crop-o-Dile II, the KamSnap tool, and three broken leftover KamSnap pieces.
And with the snaps in place the swimming suits were done!

And with that they were done for another year! The kids absolutely love them and have already switched to these without any regret about their old suits!

Whether you’re looking to sew your first swimming suit or looking to adjust your current setup I hope this post helps you. If you do use it to sew your swimming suit I’d love to hear how it goes in the comments below.

Hope your week is going great!

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