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Turning A Dress into A Swimsuit

Updated: Mar 24, 2022


I thrifted this dress for $7, and thought the twisty draped design would look really cute as a swimsuit! Especially to add extra coverage over the belly area.

First I took apart the dress, and since the lining only stretches one way it won’t be good for a swimsuit, so I purchased new swim fabric for the lining.

I traced out one of my bodysuits onto the lining fabric, and will be sewing it first to test the fit.

I trimmed the neckline so the back is a little lower, and then I undo my basting stitch, so I can cut each piece out from the dress.

For the back I’m leaving it as is, and cutting out the same lining piece.

Now I’m going to sew the lining suit together at the side seams and crotch seam.

Next, I thought I’d try to sew cups into a swimsuit for the first time. These are some padded cups I got from Joann, and I’m going to pin them in place on the wrong side of the lining suit. Once they look pretty even, I go ahead and and sew them along the edge with a zigzag stitch.

Afterwards, flip the lining over and cut the lining out inside the stitching so the cups are released. I was really proud of how they turned out!

Before sewing the outer layer, I gathered the top of the swimsuit to fit the length of the backside.

Then I lay the twisted piece over the front of the swimsuit, and sewed it to the sides. This took some time to make sure all the pleats were in place, and I had to make sure it wasn’t too close to the leg holes because I still have to hem it later.

Once the front of the swimsuit is complete, we can face it right sides together with the backside and sew it at the side seams and crotch seam.

Now that the lining and outside swimsuit are sewn, went ahead and sewed them together along the top, and sewed elastic to help hold it up, but then remembered how much I hated strapless things so I undid everything and created straps first.

I marked where the straps will be placed in the front and back, tucked them in and sewed them down.

I really disliked the padded cups look, and went back to the store to look for less padded ones, but they didn’t have any expect these cushioned cups So I decided to take out the first cups and then realized what a horrible mistake it was, but it was too late. I had to resew the original cup back in, and it was a disaster because the hole was already stretched out. So learn from my mistake and DO NOT remove your cups if you already cut the hole in your fabric like me. and maybe don’t cut the hole in the lining at all until the very end in case you change your mind about them.

I was so mad at myself because the pretty cups I sewed earlier is all jacked up looking now, I kind of just had to fold and force the opening to fit the cup again.

Earlier I sewed elastic around the entire top, but then I decided I only wanted it across the back because I was thinking of ruching the front to create a sweetheart shape.

I’m stretching and sewing the elastic to the seam allowance of the swimsuit, and then under stitching the lining down.

The sweetheart shape is where things went down hill even more because I forgot that I only added the gathers on the outside swimsuit layer, and not the lining, so when I tried gathering both layers of the swimsuit it wasn’t adding up…after multiple attempts, I decided to just keep the neckline straight and removed the ruching. I definitely still could’ve gathered the outside layer, but that should’ve been a step I did in the very beginning when all the pieces weren’t sewn together yet.

Next I felt like the crotch needed additional fabric added to it so I sewed in an extra piece to both layers and resewed them closed with my serger.

Then go ahead and sew the two swimsuit layers together around the leg holes, and make any changes to the shape.

The last thing I always mess up on is how tight to make the elastic around the leg holes. I felt like I gave myself enough room but in the end it was still too tight and squeezed my butt too much, and by that point I was so over this project and did not want to seam rip to resize the elastic anymore.

Overall I don’t think this is a failed project because the design is still cute to me. I was just so frustrated with the process, and in the end it didn’t even fit me perfectly so I didn’t want to share it. Since I left the additional fabric on top unattached, so it kind of just hangs down and I have pull it up to the chest where its supposed to be. You can also see how tight the elastic is on my butt too, I think I could’ve done without the elastic, but chose to add it because if I don’t the swimsuit falls in the butt crack, so I added it to help it lay flat. undoing the elastic is an easy fix, but have you ever seam ripped a stretch stitch? it takes forever! so I’m just gonna leave it as is for now until I am mentally ready to tackle it again.

You can watch the full video here:


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