A Maternity Bikini

IMG_3171I made myself a bathing suit last year but it was not great. I’m pretty sure the fabric wasn’t actually swimwear fabric and was thick and absorbent and pretty much awful to get wet. The bottoms I made were also high-waisted and clearly they wouldn’t work for my very pregnant tum this summer.

I did, however, love the halter top pattern I used from Swim Style, so I figured I would go ahead and make it again. There were two major differences between this version and the one I made last year. You might remember I added an extra-wide band the the bottom for some additional coverage and hold. I kept this feature this time around, but made it a bit narrower as I knew that it would bunch up because of my tummy anyway.

IMG_3124The other difference was the cups I used. I had a really hard time finding cups that fit last time as I have what are called “low-contour breasts.” This basically means I need a wide cup but don’t really fill it out. Last year, I kind of hacked together cups that fit by cutting and pasting. This year, I contacted the Bra Maker’s supply directly and chatted with one of their employees on which cups to buy. I ended up buying a handful so I could see what worked best, but the biggest improvement came via the push-up inserts. All of the ready to wear bras I buy are push-up because I find the extra padding helps me fill out the cup. I bought a handful of push-up cups, but they didn’t have enough padding to round out my boobs and fill the cup.

Even if you don’t have this problem, but are a small-breasted lady, you may consider adding push-up inserts to Indigo Ruche bikini top as it’s exactly the kind of top that flattens EVERYTHING out. Without cups I look like a pre-teen. Which is awkward as a heavily pregnant lady.

IMG_3107Knowing that I needed to make completely different bottoms anyway, I decided I would experiment with making some lady swim trunks. My thighs rub (like so many of us) and I find water makes thigh-chafe significantly worse – to the point that I avoid going in the water or moving much when wearing a bathing suit. I also need to bring a complete change of clothes with me to the beach so that I can survive the walk home without rubbing my legs raw.

This is clearly silly and I have a toddler, so not moving was not an option, so I hacked the Avery leggings into a shorts pattern and it was the best decision ever. I feel free to go in the water, sit without worrying that my stomach is hanging out and ACTUALLY WALK WHEN WET. It’s actually pretty liberating.

My original plan was to wear the shorts with the waistband flipped down while pregnant, and then flip it up after having the baby (in the weird event that I actually go swimming later this summer) and have it hold everything in. I find, however, that keeping the waistband up right now is actually amazing as I’m constantly dealing with ligament pain and the waistband helps hold everything up a bit.

IMG_3167I usually grade out one size from waist to hip, so a straight size still manages to fit my 8-month pregnant belly with the high-waist option. To decide on my shorts length, I basically traced the regular legging pattern, held up a pair of athletic shorts about the right length and chopped straight across. For the lining, I cut out all the pieces except waistband in swimwear lining. I didn’t modify the crotch at all thinking that the gusset would eliminate any possible rubbing. Unfortunately, the gusset is set closer to the back, and I do occasionally feel a bit of rub. If you decide to use this pattern for swimwear shorts, I’d recommend making the gusset bigger to get some front coverage. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you could also try to add a bit of a liner like panties.

I got the fabric on sale at Blackbird  in the fall and it’s really, really nice. I highly recommend it!

I’ve worn this suit twice now and have to say that I LOVE it. I am able to wear it under a dress or cover-up to walk to the beach (10 mins from our apartment), feel comfortable enough to go in the water, run, play and lounge with my 2-year-old and can walk back home with ZERO THIGH CHAFE. Also, it makes me feel pretty cute – which is a feat a a thousand years pregnant.


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