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Altering Ready-to-wear swimsuits

HopeK | Posted in General Discussion on

I am new to this type of  format.

I am trying to find a way to make and add an underwire bra to a swimsuit.  Are there any suggestions?  And where do I find the supplies to do this feat?  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.



  1. soondon | | #1

    I took the swimsuit to Winners and bought an underwire bra that fit under it without showing. I had to cut the old one out leaving enough fabric to stitch the new one to.

    Then I cut the sides of the bra and attached it to the side seam of the swimsuit.

    I also made a thread chain to hold the strap in place under the swimsuit strap.

    This worked well for me and saved my favorite suit.

    1. HopeK | | #2

      Thanks for responding.  It sounds like this would be straightforward way of altering the bathing suit.  I will try this.  Thanks again.

      1. mygaley | | #3

        I often add underwire bras to party and wedding dresses for customers, and  I know that soondon's directions would work perfectly.  For a little extra cling, I have sewn clear elastic inside the upper bodice seam allowances. 

    2. joress | | #4

      Hi! I saw your thread about using an underwire bra in a ready-made swimsuit. I have a tankini with an underwire bra that doesn't fit--and I'm only a "C"! I'm guessing that's why I got a really good quality suit for only $10. I like the fit of the suit, but I'll have to alter the cup (the gathers above the wire) or replace the entire bra part.

      Since the suit would be hard to put on and right now the underfabric holding the cups is also a little loose, I think just replacing that part of the suit might be smarter than altering the existing suit.

      I'm thinking of using a ready-made bra in the suit, sewing it in the correct position on the under fabric, then cutting off the straps. Then I can use the regular bra hooks when putting on the suit. I'm thinking the outer fabric will hide the bra and also the hooks under the suit won't show enough to worry about lumps.

      Since the tankini top is somewhat loose, sewing the bra to the underarm seam won't give enough support. I know I'll need to retain the entire bra band.

      Do you think this approach will work? Which parts of the bra should be actually attached to the underfabric of the swimsuit--just the top of the cups? Also tacked at the side seams? Tacked just enough to make sure the bra doesn't show (which will probably mean all around the top edge)?

      Any special tips you can share? Any particular bra construction or fabric I should look for in the ready-made bra that will help it hold up better in (public) pool water?

      The suit was certainly cheap enough to be worth trying to save by experimentation. Thanks very much for your help!

      1. soondon | | #5

        Hi there,

        It sounds like trying the suit on over a bra that you find has good support will give you an idea as to where to attach it.

        Perhaps pin around the bra area or tie a few thread tacks to see where it will best attach after you take it off.   I doubt that there will be wrinkles.

        Hope the suggestion helps as it's rather difficult to know what will work best without seeing it.

        Good luck.



        1. joress | | #6

          Thanks for your advice. I'm guessing my sewing buddy will have to help--sounds like two hands and heads will be best. Interestingly, I noticed that I have a camisole with an underwire bra attached underneath that looks amazingly like what I'm trying to do to the tankini. We'll use that as a guide. I just happened to notice the similarity when pulling the camisole out of the clean laundry last night and my brain finally made the connection. If you have any tips on what the content of the regular bra should be--or should not be--to last longer, please share. I appreciate the help!

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