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Tie One On: DIY Swimsuits

Snip, twist, wrap, and knot. That’s all that separates you from a new poolside outfit. We know what you're thinking: Why make a bathing suit? Our answer: It costs less than $20!




Before you assemble our bandeau suit create and cut your pattern.



  1. Step 1


    Fold one yard of swim fabric in half. Print and cut out our templates. If you prefer, you can use a bra and expendable underwear from your dresser.

  2. Step 2


    Fold bra in half and lay along the fold of swimsuit fabric*. Fold underwear in half, and place along the fold. (Folding both in half gives you a more accurate cut which means a better fit) *For the Simple Suit, place bra front toward the fold. For the Twist-and-Tie, latch bra and place latch end at the fold of the swimsuit fabric.

  3. Step 3

    If you are using our templates, place top and bottom pieces on folded swimsuit fabric.

  4. Step 4


    Leaving a generous allowance, trace around top and bottom shapes, extending the lines at the top of the bra straps and the band below the bustline. Be sure to extend the lines at the sides of the bikini bottom shapes as well. This is an important step as this type of fabric curls. Tracing beyond the end of the templates or materials will give you a shrinkage allowance. If you are using your own bra and underwear, see our templates to get a sense of the finished shape you want to achieve.

  5. Step 5


    Cut out the top and bottom.

  6. Step 6


    Make your pattern using our template.

  7. Step 7

    Fold a yard of spandex in half width-wise on a smooth, flat surface. Fold 1/3 yard of a piece in a complementary color in half widthwise and lay it over the first piece, at one edge.

  8. Step 8

    At the fold, pin the top's pattern through both colors, the bottom's through one, then cut.

  9. Step 9

    Tie the bottom in a double knot at both hips and tuck the ends under.

  10. Step 10

    Holding both layers of the top, twist it, wrap it around your chest, and double-knot the ends in back.

  11. Step 11

    Print the pattern pieces; tape them together and cut them out.

  12. Step 12


    Fold 1 1/2 yards of sheer fabric, such as chiffon or organza, in half lengthwise, then again width-wise. Lay it on a smooth, flat surface.

  13. Step 13

    Pin on the pattern and cut with pinking shears.

  14. Step 14


    Unfold the fabric and slip it over your head as you would a poncho. Let the sides overlap a few inches, wrap 1 1/2 yards of cord around your waist, and tie.Note: If you would to make a longer cover-up, buy an additional 1/2-1-yard of fabric. Follow above directions. Add the length between rows B and C on our pattern.

  15. Step 15

    If you use your own, cut sides of underwear along the seams.

Blueprint, May/June 2007



Reviews (21)

  • Jenna Sta 12 Aug, 2013

    Will defiantly be giving this a go need to start making my own bikinis for my designs
    Thanks for the idea

  • Ann Tsui 18 Jul, 2012

    yup..really great DIY,but it's too hard for me to follow..

  • cr8yourself 26 Apr, 2012

    I don't understand how the bandeau top is put together so if someone could put up a tutorial for me that would be awesome!!

  • Michelle_Toglia 22 Sep, 2011

    Hi everyone,
    Sorry for the confusion, you need to hit the "read more" button to see the how-to for the Cover Up.


  • Doggiedog 15 Sep, 2011

    This swim suit is neat.... but I agree.... The link you click for this was supposed to be for the cover up...

  • sherier 8 Aug, 2011

    I don't see how I can get the pattern cut out of only 1 1/2 yards of material when the length of the pattern is 36". Am I missing something?

  • fashonlisa 8 Aug, 2011

    How do I get the pattern for the cover-up.

  • j15 5 Aug, 2011

    I pushed the read more button but no pattern for the coverup was available. Has anyone else had this problem

  • CharlaW 5 Aug, 2011

    Push the read more button to find the cove up.

  • j15 4 Aug, 2011

    Where do you get the pattern for the cover up?

  • ltd-1016 4 Aug, 2011

    Great gift idea for summer birthday also for children made out of terry or towels..just reduce the pattern....Thanks!!

  • clubsoda 4 Aug, 2011

    I made the same mistake. Try again. Just go to the bottom and click on "Read More". Then it shows up. :)

  • belovedofgd 4 Aug, 2011

    Not helpful!!! The beach cover up was the lead article and all I could find was the bathing suit!! Another slipup. Very annoying, but thanks to the ppl that pointed out the read more tip.

  • KatesJoieDeVivre 4 Aug, 2011

    You have to click "Read More" and the rest of the instructions will pop up. The cover-up is there.

  • momala 4 Aug, 2011

    I've tried so many times for the instructions for the "no sew beach cover up" & this bathing suit keeps coming up. WANT the beach cover-up!

  • JessicaB_67 22 Mar, 2011

    So easy and cute, I made the bottoms, bandeau, and halter top. I cut two of each item and then sewed them together for a double lining (I used white fabric) I also lengthened each tie strap on all items. It turned out great and took less than an hour!

  • Chillepeppa 19 Nov, 2010

    @ alicjaewa
    Why not try to tie a ribbon, or a robbin shaped piece of fabric to the center of the front of the top (where the twist is between your breats) and then tie that around your neck, like a regular bikini strap. That should help with keeping it up, in the front anyway...

  • alicjaewa 14 Sep, 2010

    I made this and was so excited about it! It doesn't want to stay on properly - it basically slides off my chest with any movement (I'm not that big or anything - bit B/small C cup). I have tried tying it a bit looser or a bit tighter, but the problems just get worse. It looks like a good idea, but alas the reality is not so! I have also tried it with bra cups, but then the whole thing is just heavier and slides down too much :( Hope someone else had a better time with this one.

  • YANKEEROSE 29 Jan, 2009

    jenky91,The twist and tie suit is no sew,i made it but tied it differently,you could mix and match pattern pieces, so fun!!!

    you can use bra cups in the top so you won't get mashed flat they are at the fabric store in a variety of styles and shapes!

  • jenky91 26 Sep, 2008

    the bandeau is really cute but the instructions dont mention any machine sewing. does it not require any? sorry im quite new to this.

  • TicaTiquita 22 Aug, 2008

    The bandeau top seems like such a cute, easy DIY but one comment/concern: because there is no underwire built in (or any other kind of "support"), won't this top flatten out your chest? Especially once you've fastened it behind your back?