The 20 Hour Swimsuit Cover-up


First off: things have been a little nuts around the Esplin household. I’m working on a bunch of projects that I can’t wait to share with you. They have to wait at least until mid-August, though. You better believe Jill & I are cooking up a batch of killer DIY awesomeness for you!!


the girl in the second drawing totally has a grimace on her face.

I’ve been wanting to make this cover-up for some time, so I’ve been through a lot of design iterations in the process. Above are a couple of rough sketches from my sketchbook. I decided the cover-up would look less “home project-y” with a racerback than with a straight neckline & straps.


This thing took me forever to construct, but I learned a LOT along the way. I drafted this coverup from scratch using sketches, pins & my dress form. I’m really happy with how it turned out, I think I need to dye it an ombre really soon here. Anyone want to have a dyeing party next week? Seriously, next Tuesday night come over to my house with a couple of things to dye & we’ll go to town. Let me know if you’re in.

Above is a little during construction shot. You can see, I started out with straight lines that I cut to the shape I wanted.




I figured out a system to get uniform pintucks without spending too much time on them. That was pretty tedious, but getting the curves on the arm, racerback & necklines took forever. The curve on the bottom took even longer.

The coverup started out 6 inches longer than it ended up. I kept cutting & cutting & cutting in order to get the perfect curve. At the very end I figured out the best way to get a uniform curve all the way along ┬áthe bottom. Too bad I discovered it 6 inches too late. It’s okay though. It’s a cover up. It doesn’t really need to cover much.

I added pearl snaps to the front which were sort of a pain to put in. My thumbs & fore fingers were throbbing afterward, but at least I didn’t have to sew buttons & button holes. I hate sewing buttons.

I was going to line the inside of the cover-up in order to finish the edges & do a curved hem, but by the time I got the perfect curve along the end, I decided to go with biased tape. It was by far the easiest finishing option. I’ve always hated putting on biased tape, but after reading Diana’s tutorial for sewing biased tape the right way, I don’t mind it much at all.

Swimsuit provided by Lime Ricki Swimwear. Read more about the swimsuit here.

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    1. Emily says:

      WOW! I’m impressed you made that from scratch!! The curve at the bottom and the buttons look awesome. I thought you refashioned it from an existing button up shirt. Love the pintucks. :)

    2. Jenny says:

      that looks great! good job.

    3. Katie says:

      So cute!

      I’ve been dying for a dress form for years and this, my friend, is why.

    4. Suzzie says:

      I love this! I can’t believe you made this all by yourself!

    5. Kayla says:

      You are amazing.

      Also, if I in Utah I’d totally be in for the ombre dyeing. I have a shirt that’s calling out for a dye job!

    6. Elaine says:

      Soooooper cute!!!!!!!!

    7. Heidi says:

      Your sketches are awesome. I’m glad you went with the racer-back, it looks great. Love the pintucks. What happened to the elastic?
      I love bias tape! I always pick it up when I see it at garage sales, now I just need to start using it up!

    8. I love it! Amazing job!! Actually, I don’t think you should dye it. It’s so sweet as the thin white. Plus, it will ALWAYS go with whatever swimsuit you own in the future. Maybe an ombre braided fabric belt with a fat wooden button clsure, so you don’t have to worry about ruining a leather belt at the beach.

    9. Liz says:

      What time were you thinking of dying stuff? I work Tuesday, but if I get off early enough I am ALL about dying some sheets and thread for a comforter I’m planning on making!

    10. I don’t know about a dying party, but a dyeing party sounds pretty fun. Ha!

      So how does one get a univorm curve right on the bottom?

    11. Hannah says:

      When I first read the title, I thought it said 20 MINUTE Cover-Up. It wasn’t until almost the end that I was like, “wait a minute, that’s just not possible.” I feel a little better knowing that it can take other people HOURS to complete a project too!

    12. LOVE this! And I’m really glad you decided (or were told) to put your drawings up, I love the “behind the scenes” kind of feel they have. It’s like peeking into someone’s studio space!

    13. I’m so impressed! I love the pintucks and the racerback! Great job!

    14. Tang says:

      I LOVE this! It’s amazing and now I want to make one. I wish I lived in the same city so I could attend a dye party! :)

    15. I’m so happy that you’re sharing your sketches now. I love them. :) Great work on your coverup!

    16. Rebecca says:

      This cover up is gorgeous. I’m seriously so impressed! You make me want to get back into sewing. And I’ve totally been dying to try my hand at dying (pun completely intended). Can’t wait to see what you do!

      Coffee & Inspiration

    17. Ashlee says:

      oh a dye party, SO much fun. But Tuesday dear Husband has class after work so I can’t. But I’m sure you’ll have SO much fun. I’ve been wanting not only a dress form (do they come with extra large busts?) but a cute cover up. Way to go!

    18. Anne says:

      Thems some nice sewing skills. I l-o-v-e the racerback and think you were totally right about it seeming more professional like that. I have been meaning to dye a few things for quite some time. Could I maybe come to the dye party? I’ll BMOD (bring my own dye). :)

    19. Jenn says:

      Super cute! Love the pintucks – I’m still in my beginning sewing stages, so I feel like it would be hard? I may just have to try it. I think this could be a really cute summer shirt, too, maybe with the thicker straps like the one in your drawing.

    20. Jenn says:

      So, I just tried to post something and I think I may have clicked “cancel” instead, but I love this! It’s super cute. Are the pintucks hard? I’m still a beginner at sewing. I think this would make an awesome summer shirt too, maybe even with the thicker straps like in your drawing.

    21. Chaplinnn says:

      This is so beautiful!

    22. Bellesme says:

      WOW!! It looks amazing, definitely not “homemade-y” Especially the racerback and the curves, but all around its amazing! I seriously need to learn… =P

    23. Jenn says:

      Mad skills! I love it. I wouldn’t want to take it off to get in the pool. People are going to start hitting you up for custom stuff. Speaking of, taking orders?

    24. L says:

      Could you share the link for that bias tape tutorial? Thanks!

    25. […] did it. I dyed my swim cover-up. A few of you told me not to, but I feel like this looks more like a professionally made article of […]

    26. […] we flew out to meet my parents for our vacation, I whipped up a swimsuit cover up. I liked the one I made last year, but I felt like it was too short to wear and feel covered. Maybe I’m more self-conscious […]

    27. […] skirt: maternity top and elastic meant for last year’s swimsuit cover-up […]

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