As soon as the Fenix bodysuit was released, the comments rolled in about turning the Fenix into a swimsuit…
“I am envisioning the swimsuit out of this pattern already!”
“Can’t wait to start seeing the swimsuit hacks which I know are coming!”
“How cool! This would be fun in swim!”
…and there were more! From my experience with the Lawren bodysuit, I predicted that another bodysuit pattern would be popular, but I wasn’t expecting so much interest in swimsuits. Maybe it’s because after more than a year of quarantine, we are all ready to rock our me-made swimsuits now that we can leave our houses, travel, and enjoy summer. So I skidaddled to offer Fenix swimsuit kits. There are three DIY kits to make your own Fenix swimsuit and if you purchased one of these kits – read below for a guide on the pattern alterations and changes to sewing.
Click here to shop the Fenix DIY swimsuit kits!
Click here to sign up for Madalynne Intro to Sewing Swimwear class
Center back cutout: Changed to a “U” shape to make it easier to sew fold over elastic. Achieving a sharp “V” with FOE can be difficult for some sewists. I simply rounded the bottom of the “V”. I didn’t use any math or calculations. You can make the “U” shape longer or wider if you want. @keerascherbakov made the back on her Fenix swimsuit super open and I love it!
Center front cut out: On the Fenix bodysuit, picot elastic is sewn to the center front cut out. When sewing picot elastic, there is ¼” built into the pattern to account for turning it back on the second pass. On the Fenix swimsuit, the center front cutout is finished with FOE. You will have to eliminate ¼” from these edges since FOE doesn’t have seam allowances.
Fold over elastic: The fold over elastic binding and the wide elastic band are a blend of polyester and polyurethane and suitable for swimwear. A lot of lingerie fabrics are made with a blend of nylon and spandex. Nylon has better stretch, so it gives a “less tightness” feel on the body, but polyester is a more durable fiber and has better resistance to chlorine. So that means you don’t have to make your own binding or have a coverstitch machine. Woo hoo!
The same goes for the center front barrel closure and rings + sliders. Both are plastic and suitable for swimwear.
Center back closure: The only change to sewing is at the center back. The Fenix bodysuit calls for a 3×3 hook and eye. On the Fenix swimsuit, the hook and eye is changed to a barrel closure. It’s the same barrel closure that is used on the Maris bralette.
The 3×3 hook and eye measures 2″ and there is space between the elastic band and the top of the back band. Since the barrel closure is 1 ⅝”, you will have to angle the fold over elastic down and sew it all the way to the bottom edge at the center back. Basically, you’re eliminating that space that is between the elastic band and top of the back band. You could make this pattern alteration, but I like doing this change during sewing so I don’t have two back band pattern pieces.
To sew the barrel closure, feed the elastic band and FOE through the opening, fold it back and then sew with a bar tack (as shown in photo below) or straight stitch.
Shoulder straps: The other change are the bikini straps. The kits come with clear elastic to make your own and I followed this tutorial by Evie La Luve (the 2nd method) to create them. If you have enough fold over elastic left in your kit, you could encase it with clear elastic and use it as straps. Self-made swimwear straps are less supportive than regular shoulder straps for lingerie. So, if you feel that you need the supportive and you’re not going into the ocean or pool much, I think it’s okay to swap one for the other.
Crotch lining/gusset: What about crotch lining? First thing first – do not use cotton jersey. Cotton absorbs and retains water and the last thing you want is for your hoo-ha to be *moist* all day long. You can use fabric for a gusset, but I prefer to eliminate it completely. It can get bulky and I have seen RTW swimsuits without any gusset or crotch lining.