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Thread: Which fabric to use for durable swimsuit

  1. #1

    Question Which fabric to use for durable swimsuit

    My new project: making my own bikini top. I am SO done with buying stuff that doesn't cover enough to my liking (I know of the sports bra type of bikini tops... they're usually too low on the front). So I came up with my perfect design for a top and looked for fabric online... and got stuck there. I am looking for a durable type of fabric. I couldn't find any PBT polyester. Is that just called "polyester" then, and are 100% polyster fabrics also those used in swimsuits or would that be a rather uncomfortable choice?
    Are there any other durable fabrics I could choose from?
    My skin is very sensitive, so knowing this would help me at least not make any bad decisions.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Look for medium to heavy weight swimwear fabric. Its usually chlorine resistant.

    You don't want the stuff in the sports and dance wear section, because it fades easily and generally not for swimwear purposes.

    Avoid anything shiny, holographic and other foil finishes. Cos it doesn't last long. Look for printed or plain spandex.

    For the lining, I normally use a darker color of swimwear fabric. I've found that using two layers of swimwear fabric, also called spandex and lycra, is good enough that nothing shows through when wet.

    Here is a link to my fave fabric shop. It'll give you an idea of what kind of swimwear fabric to look out for.
    https://www.theremnantwarehouse.com....ra-online.html
    Last edited by Mermaid Jaffa; 03-14-2017 at 04:28 PM.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  3. #3
    Thank you Jaffa. Will I need a different fabric for the lining then? I'm trying to figure out what the differences are so that I can hopefully find the right fabrics within my country.
    And how many layers of fabric would work best, one base layer and one for the lining or more?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marriih View Post
    Thank you Jaffa. Will I need a different fabric for the lining then? I'm trying to figure out what the differences are so that I can hopefully find the right fabrics within my country.
    And how many layers of fabric would work best, one base layer and one for the lining or more?
    For the lining, its up to you. And what you can find.

    Generally, a good swimsuit, one that is not see through, has 2 layers of fabric. One fabric and one lining. Its up to you whether you want to use another layer of swimwear fabric as the lining, or just go with regular lining.

    For me, I tried all the linings that the shop has, even though it was premium quality, it still faded badly or went saggy after a few swims.

    Which is why I now make my swimwear with 2 layers of spandex. My first suit, after a year and half, is still holding up pretty well. Its only recently that it feels a bit loose and faded. Still good for many more swims as I have not had a problem with it whilst swimming.

    Also, if you bought the fabric, and staff are 50/50 about it being swim proof, just cut a little piece and bring it for a test swim.

    Here's a link to the first swimmers I made... I've made a few more since then.
    http://mernetwork.com/index/album.ph...chmentid=30905
    Last edited by Mermaid Jaffa; 03-15-2017 at 04:34 AM.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  5. #5
    This lycra I found online says it's 80% nylon and 20% elastane, and weighs 200 grams per square meter. Is this the usual not so great quality or should it be just fine?
    What a well done swimsuit you made by the way. Must be rewarding to swim in something you made yourself.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    It should be fine. And thanks! I love making all my swimwear!
    Formerly known as ireneho

  7. #7
    Just came to realise the bikini clasps I'm looking for would cost twice their price because of shipping within my country, so I ordered them from Ebay (free shipping) and let's say it will take a month or so for them to arrive. Oh well it's worth it. I'll definitely post a picture somewhere once I've made my top. Then I can finally go swimming sometime.

  8. #8
    I'm still on the lookout for polyester/lycra or similar fabrics while I don't have the time to work on my top very soon anyway. I've seen some good durable fabrics like these! But... no black. NO. BLACK. Only flashy colors.

    ...just why?

  9. #9
    Is 85% polyester and 15% elastane better than average quality? Since the stuff I'm looking at is cheap...

  10. #10
    My favorite online shop is spandexworld.com. Ive made a few full tails from their stuff and it holds up fairly well. I know they have black it is pretty pricy though, just a warning.


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  11. #11
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marriih View Post
    Is 85% polyester and 15% elastane better than average quality? Since the stuff I'm looking at is cheap...
    The higher the elastane count, the more stretchy the fabric is.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Jaffa View Post
    The higher the elastane count, the more stretchy the fabric is.
    It's the 85% polyester that makes me think this might be more durable. I might as well give it a try. The other lycra (that I was going to buy) is 80% nylon and 20% elastane. I'd say that's less durable...?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Stretchy is better because you want the fabric to move with you, not against. Whichever the case, as long as when stretched, the fabric does not become sheer (see through).
    Formerly known as ireneho

  14. #14
    Does a higher polyester count make it more or less likely for the fabric to go sheer?
    "She dreams of the ocean late at night, and longs for the wild salt air."

  15. #15
    Polyester is said to be more chlorine resistant and should not change how it fits on your body over time. Spandex/lycra is said to be more comfortable and stretchy, usually comes in a variety of colors and patterns, but loses its body-tight fit over time as it is affected by chlorine quite a bit. Elastane is used in most lycra swimsuits and gives the fabric its stretch, but it will break down in chlorinated water.
    That is why I am looking for swimwear fabric with a high amount of polyester in it, however lycra often contains polyamide and elastane, while possibly marketed as polyester and elastane (or so it seems?), and I am currently confused whether there would be a noticeable difference in durability between those two at all. I mean, it's still "lycra".

  16. #16
    I'm done with my exams for this semester, got my fabric in the mail yesterday and cut the pieces for the top today. It took hours... not exaggerating, although I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to crafting things.
    Just waiting to go to my dad this weekend because I have no idea how the sewing machine works. x) I'll post a picture if it all turns out well.

    I decided to go with the 85% polyester and 15% elastane, it has plenty of stretch to it yet feels sturdy enough to last for a while.

  17. #17
    What happened is... it turned out too small. It's hard to take it on and off. I rip at least one seam every time I take it on. But it feels fine once I have it on. This is what it looks like now (it makes my cleavage look a lot smaller that's how tight it is LOL):
    Do I recommend trying this? ... Not really. The sewing machine etc. performed great (my father did the sewing, I never used a sewing machine before), but the fabric is just... frustrating to work with. I will try making something like this again, however, and I can only hope to make more successful projects in the future. Overall I would say I'm happy with the result.

  18. #18
    Polyester was they way to do it My 100% polyester swimsuits from Jolyn swimwear have lasted me the past 3 years as a competitive swimmer being in a chlorinated pool for two hours every day, and they still look brand spanking new. Nice job on the top too!

  19. #19
    Thank you! That sounds like some real quality swimsuits you have there. Good to hear those don't get eaten by chlorine too much.

  20. #20
    I've been wanting to make my own tops due to fit/modesty/creative preferences for a while now and this thread totally helped, I'll definitely refer back to it when I get started. Thanks!

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