How to Make a Monokini

Model wearing a monokini
Model wearing a monokini (Image: Image by Vincent Boiteau)

Monokinis have rapidly risen to their "in-style" status after having been seen on the bodies of Kim Kardashian and Audrina Patridge as they lounge poolside. Although many fashion houses want you to pay sometimes hundreds of dollars for this creation, you can make one for a fraction of the price, and you can make it as revealing or modest as you wish.

Things You'll Need

  • Butcher paper
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Needle and thread
  • Bathing suit material and optional lining (usually nylon)
  • Measuring tape
  • Embellishments

Look at fashion magazines or pictures of monokinis on the Internet and get inspired. By looking at these magazines, you can get an idea of exactly what you are looking to do.

Have a friend or family member take your measurements. Measure your waist, hips, breasts, and from your shoulder to your crotch. Although nylon (the most common bathing suit material) usually stretches, you do not want to make the suit too small or too big.

Sketch your design, front and back. This will help you visualize what you are trying to create so that you can put it on paper more easily. Some ideas include a traditional one piece with cutouts on the side or a traditional bottom with strips of material attached that cover the breasts and tie behind the neck.

Create a pattern using butcher paper. Using your measurements, create the front and back of the bathing suit. Do this step with a pencil and hold the pattern up to your body (or the person you are making it for) to make sure it will fit properly.

Decide how to support your breasts. If you use a tie with a halter, you will want to merely sew in cups where your breasts will go. It the bathing suit design offers little support, consider sewing a bra into lining of the suit. Cups and bra sewing tips can be found at Sew Sassy Fabrics (see resources for more information).

Shop for material. You can use any kind of material, although nylon is the most common. You can elect to add embellishments (such as belts, buckles, or gold rings), although make sure they are water-friendly. Purchase a lining to sew in if your bathing suit appears see-through.

Pin your pattern to the material and cut it out. Make sure to repeat if using a lining, making two separate pieces for a suit without lining and four for a bathing suit with lining.

Begin by gathering the lining (optional) and pieces of your bathing suit. Decide which part will be the outside. Fold the fabric in on itself so that the seam will be inside the bathing suit (against the body). You can use a sewing machine or stitch by hand. Stitch in a straight, vertical line and reinforce if necessary.

Pin the opposite side together. Turn the swimsuit inside out and sew using the same techniques as above.

Turn the swimsuit "right side out" and fold the fabric back on all sides of the bathing suit about 1/8 of an inch. Stitch the fold down with a sewing machine or use a needle and thread to create a hem.

Add embellishments, but make sure they are securely fastened and will not fall off during regular swim activities.

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