Successful swimsuit conversion to tankini top

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Thought I'd report on my latest experiment on swimwear for a busty
person.  I like tankini type tops but don't find the halter style I
like with bra-sized cups all that often.  I saw this
but in my size on Ebay at a bargain and bought it with the thought of
converting it to a tankini top.  (I wear my tops with black swim
shorts from Lands End.)   It worked out quite well and was not very
difficult.  The most rewarding part was dyeing it chocolate brown.
Being mostly nylon it took RIT dye instantly and turned out a rich
dark color.  The white trim turned out khaki.  Instant gratification!

The steps to convert it are exactly what you'd imagine:  whack off the
bottom and hem!  I used a stretch twin needle and stabilized heavily
with Sulky Solvy.

I made it more complicated by wanting it longer than the leg openings
would allow.  It took several hours more to make a pattern for the
fill-in pieces and splice them in.  For that I used the multiple-step
zig-zag to allow for maximum stretch in all directions.  I managed to
get an extra 2.5 inches in length, which I covet.  (An average tankini
length from the underbust is something around 6 or 7 inches.  I prefer
10.  So, I got pretty close.)  Since it's a dark color the arches on
the hips hardly show.  Frankly, they pretty much look like a design
element ;-).   Also, I used a strip of swimwear lining I had lying
around for the hem, thereby shortening the tankini only a quarter of
an inch.

It was a silly idea, but for $12 US I got a correctly-sized and pretty
colored tankini top.  For that price if I wanted a matching bottom I
could probably just buy another full suit and make it from that.
Don't know if anyone else will ever try this, but if yes I can say
that it works!  (I'm going to do a second one in plum!)


P.S. May I mention that just because a swimsuit has an underwire
"bra", it doesn't mean it provides any support.  This suit, though in
my proper bra size, left my girls less than uplifted.  Like, halter up
and halter off meant no difference in their position!  Good thing I
have a seamless bra I wear swimming!

Re: Successful swimsuit conversion to tankini top
wurstergirl wrote:
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So??  WHen do we get to se a picture of the transformation???  I'm
especially interested because I prefer tankinis these days.  At one
point I had the triangle top bikini...back when I was younger and
skinnier...will never go back.  I currently have a tankini that I bought
online....not bad, but could use some tweaking.

Larisa, looking forward to seeing the finished pics

Re: Successful swimsuit conversion to tankini top

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Oh, I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking about this!  I'll see what
I can do about pics.  Our digital camera is not that reliable lately.
(What tankini did you buy online?)   Mining Ebay for the suits takes a
little effort.  Email me your size and we can hunt together!


Re: Successful swimsuit conversion to tankini top
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currently store size 14....will try to find a link to the one I bought
last year....or maybe it was the year before.....either way, it was an
attached skirt over the bottom to cover my hips and

Re: Successful swimsuit conversion to tankini top
G'day Pora

Congratulations!!  so pleased it worked out for you.  Like you, I have
'never' found a swimsuit that has enough bust support, even though this
is a feature in the description.  I emailed one seller and when she
replied that she was heavy-busted too and the swimsuit had 'lots' of
support I trusted her.....only to find when it arrived that the built-in
bra would be lucky to support a 10A!!

As mentioned previously, I've been wearing tankinis for many years as I
find them more comfortable and if you are wearing them all day, a trip
to the loo is so much easier....specially when bush camping!!

My pattern originated from the KwikSew 'Making beautiful Lingerie' book
so the bottoms are the regular brief pattern, that I use for all my
lingerie and the top is a variation of the princess style teddy, that
has been lengthened to a similar measurement as you did for your top.
Sometimes I add a short (approx 10cm or 4") skirt.  Rather than making a
built-in bra, these days I just wear an old bra underneath as this makes
it a quick and easy job to make a new tankini.

I find that a lightweight jersey works really well, has lots of body and
doesn't need lining and also is not affected by chlorine in a heated pool.

Have fun!
Bronwyn ;-)

off kilter quilter wrote:
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Re: Successful swimsuit conversion to tankini top
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Yeah, it's pathetic what some people consider "terrific!" bust
support.  Would their heads explode if they ever got a really good
uplift?  :-)

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Can't say anything about bush camping.  I'm glad for the half hour I
spend with my preschooler at the YMCA pool twice a week!  But the
tankini is my style, either way.

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I'm intrigued by the description of the princess teddy-turned-
tankini.  One reason I've stayed away from sewing my own tankinis is
that I don't know how to add several cup sizes to a stretch garment
pattern.  I do own the Kwik Sew Swimwear book but I seem to remember
their cup adjustments being very, uh, standard.   I haven't got the
courage to try putting in darts, more gathers, or adjust princess
seams in lycra that has different stretch in cross directions .  Do
you have anything to share here about how to do it?

[Actually I bought an It Figures tankini top that I love the style of,
and I wish I could 1) make a pattern from it and 2) add cup sizes to
the pattern.  If I had a clue how to add cup sizes I'd go ahead and
cut it apart.]

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 I've been doing the swim bra thing for a long time.  It definitely
makes it easier to mix and match with any tankini of the same neckline
and forget about the inner structure.

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I think my pricey Moontide tankini was made from something like this.
It was two layers and reversible and just luscious to wear.  That was
several sizes ago so if I could find a source I'd love to sew with

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Thanks!  It looks like my Ebay source ran out of the suit I converted,
boo hoo.


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