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worn out swim suit

dotty | Posted in General Discussion on

Last fall I bought a tankini top($40) and made the bottom (several sizes smaller and $15). I go to a swimming excersize class once a week. In other words not a ton of use . I came home last week , hung the suit up to dry and saw that the bottom was so worn that if I wore it one more time it might dissolve in the pool! The top had virtually no signs of wear. So I guess my local fabric store (which tends to be overpriced) buys cheezy lycra? The other question is: on closer examination there are certain areas that were very worn- side seams and on either side of my largish belly. Could I have made it too small? Should I add a little to the side seams next time?


  1. user-51823 | | #1

    when you say the bottom was $15, is that what you spent on the fabric? was there a more expensive stretch fabric you could have used? for active wear like swimming, especially with harsh chemicals in the water, you need the best quality.
    and- when you say the seams are worn- are you talking about the fabric at the seams, or are the stitches breaking? did you serge it or zigzag? you can't do straight stitches on fabric you want to stretch, or the stiches will break when forced beyond natural length. not able to picture 'worn on either side of belly'...

    1. dotty | | #2

      The fabric was $15. It was all they had in black. I can't remember how much of it I bought. But I do remember thinking it seemed high. But I don't buy swimsuit fabric often so I didn't really know. The seams were serged and not popping at all. The fabric itself was worn thin in what looked to me like areas of stress.Say 1/2" on either side of the vertical seams. It was paler in those places as though the lycra was showing.The thinness on either side of the belly was about 3" wide. For the record I always rinse the suit out as is always recomended.

      1. user-51823 | | #3

        thanks for the details. but i'm stumped, unless it was stretch lycra not actually intended for swimsuit use. it might not have been made to stand up to chlorine and salt water, even if you rinse it well. ??

        1. dotty | | #4

          The fabric was a lighter weight than the purchased top. I went into NYC yesterday and bought new heavier fabric. The stores in the city are great, but its all a jumble (unlabled). You have to ask a lot of questions from people whose answers I can't always understand. I'm never sure if they actually know anyway. I think shopping in the city is better for more knowlegeable seemstresses. But I do think my new fabric is better and it was only $8 a yard.I went to Spandex house.

  2. User avater
    Becky-book | | #5

    It does sound like what happened to my suit that was a bit too small.  It would stretch over my bulk but eventually the lycra threads came loose from the side seams and made the sides of the suit look worn.


    1. dotty | | #6

      My hunch is that it was both cheezy fabric and too small. Does anyone know how much ease there shoud be? I really don't want a baggy suit either.

      1. user-51823 | | #7

        i'm not becky, but i don't think there's a formula for ease. just what feels right. many swimsuit bottoms are lined, and as with any garment, that helps reduce stress on the outer fabric.

  3. Skye | | #8

    I aquajog 2-3x a week and I make 2 swimsuit/year. The chlorine sure gets to the fabric and I do rinse. I have found tho' that lining the garment does help it last longer - less 'see-through' I guess :). I have spent $$$$$ on so called chlorine resistant swimwear and they last about as long as my home made ones.

  4. ctirish | | #9

    Lycra dissolves in Chlorine in pools. Especially in public pools. I had a swimsuit that you could see through and I had only worn it 6 times and rinsed it out each time. You need to find fabric that is nylon with a minimal amount of spandex or lyrca or a 100% polyester fabric. For some reason polyester and lycra dissolves quickly. Nylon and less than 15% lycra will last quite a while. I did a search and some manufacturers are saying nylon with 20% lycra is chlorine resistant but I would be careful if you go up to that much lycra. I just read about a Speedo suit that uses nylon and lycra - it uses 275B lycra for superior stretch and longevity. If you do a search on Chlorine proof fabric - and chlorine resistant fabric you may find some sites with suitable fabrics. Lands End makes suits that are suitable for pools. I sent back 4 suits one year because they dissolved in chlorine and I am sure I was not the only one. The following year they came out with suits that could handle chlorine. I don't know if they would tell you but you might email them and ask who is their fabric manufacturer?

    1. dotty | | #10

      I had read somewhere to use fabric with nylon for swimwear. I didn't realize that it had anything to do with chlorine. Thanks.

      1. Sancin | | #11

        Do you use a hot tub after using the swimming pool?  I have been told that the chemicals used in public hot tubs are what kills the fabric. 

        I used to make a number of suits a year for exercise classes and found there was a great deal of difference in wearability based on the weight of the lycra fabric.  I can't recall whether the fabric was nylon or polyester. Personally, the best suit I ever used to make a utilitarian bathing suit was old fashioned crimpalene - impossible to now find.  I now wear nylon shorts with no lycra with a fashion tankini top. 

        I am a big woman and comfort and fit are more important than fashion to me when exercising in the pool.


        1. dotty | | #12

          what is crimpalene? As for the hot tub - I wish.

          1. Sancin | | #13

            Yikes, I forget my age!  Crimpalene was a polyester knit used in the late 1960's, early 1970's for a great number of things, primarily bell bottom pants as I recall. One of its popular characteristics was wash and wear.  It was a skirt/ pant weight and virtually indestructible which is probably why it ceased to be popular.  As I recall it was also one of the first fabrics to become available in 60" width and thus there was a lot of left over fabric which was also indestructible.

          2. Ralphetta | | #14

            Man, that sounds scary!

  5. 2Merry | | #15

    I swim daily (and hot tub) and make my own suits most of the time. Usually they last about 3 months. The lycra usually goes first in the areas that have the most water flow through or are under the most stress, such as between the breasts, the crack in back and around the belly button. Some times when the pool chemicals are really off a suit can be ruined in a day or two. You might try making it a little bigger, but suits are most comfortable if they have negative ease, that is they are smaller than your body, quite a bit-- Mine are little over 3/4 of my measurements, but I like them tight for competition. Otherwise they bag and ripple. There is a big difference in fabrics, their weight, stretch and recovery from stretching. If you switch fabric to one that is less stretchy, you will need to make it bigger. Make sure that you cut it out with the most stretch going around your body. Most fabrics Stretch more in width than length. Some, 4way stretch, are about equal in lengthwise and crosswise stretch and will affect the fit also. I have to take out about 1 inch in the length of a tank suit if it's 4way stretch.The most durable suits are made of 100% polyester. I have not found the fabric, but the suits I have bought have lasted practically forever--at least a year. I get tired of them first! Eventually the elastic in the edges gives up. The fabric is not quite as stretchy or as comfortable. I hope this helps.

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