Tested: Pattern for Pirates Take the Plunge Swimsuit

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I have a confession – I haven’t purchased a swimsuit since just before I had kids (if you count like 5+ years “just” before)! You might wonder why that matters, unless you’ve had the experience I have – where your body has changed dramatically and you find yourself squeezing into clothes that either no longer fit your personal tastes or waist size!  Last Summer I got ambitious and decided I would make myself a swimsuit… And then life happened. No shame there – priorities change – but it was also easy for me to become complacent and give myself all kinds of justifications for not taking the kids to the pool or getting in the water (“Oh it’s too hot,” or “oh it’s too sunny,” or my personal favorite – “if only we ALL had swimsuits to wear”)… An entire summer people – wasted! This year, I decided to get ambitious – and not only did I decide to make a swimsuit for my daughter (linked here), but this past week – I made myself one too (excuses be damned!). And now I can’t believe it is out here on the web for the world to see!

Patterns for Pirates New Swimsuit Release

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If you haven’t joined any Facebook sewing groups, Patterns for Pirates (P4P) [affiliate link*] might be a brand you are unfamiliar with.  It happens to be one of the first sewing groups I joined a couple years ago, and my first garment for myself was from a P4P pattern (see here).  The group was significantly smaller then, and has rapidly grown to one of the largest sewing groups I’ve seen (with over 50,000 members!).  The group link is here if you are interested in checking them out.  They released a swimsuit set (separate top and bottom) that I have already prepped and cut, and then left by the waysides as life got busy (which of course gave me another excuse for avoiding the pool!).  Well – guess I’m going to have to find another excuses for not getting this ‘fro of mine wet!

Pattern Details


Per the pattern listing:

This intermediate knit pattern is a traditional, tight fitting one piece swimsuit with tons of options!  It is fully lined and comes with directions to add bust support (sew in swim cups, power mesh and under bust elastic). All seams are enclosed and edges finished with elastic for a secure, traditional swimsuit fit and feel.

As you can see – this pattern is full with options – all including the signature gathered cross front bodice.  Let me tell you – Judy is a genius!  She walks you through how to install cups, add provide extra support under your bustline, and how and where to place powermesh to strategically support and slim you up!  I did the regular bottom, halter tied top version and all my seams are enclosed!  I can’t believe how good my swimsuit looks both inside and out (well – it would look nicer inside had I not been lazy and just switched out my Thread from black to a more pleasant nude!). Seriously folks – I need to stop underestimating my muslins – this is my muslin and I’m wearing it as a swimsuit!  I should have just done the right thing – learn from my mistakes!

When Judy says enclosed seams – she means it!  I lack intuition for swimsuit sewing and enclosed seams, so I just needed to trust the steps!  Knowing what I know now – about the pattern and myself, I would just have cut into my good fabric once I had worked out my trunk measurement and how much to take off from the pattern (for reference, I am 5’3″ and was ~4″ shy of the length for my size – you can see my standard measurements here)…  This aligned well with the 2″ I take from P4P patterns, and I took 1″ from the bodice, 1″ from the waistband and 1/2″ from the bottoms.  I also am a rectangle vs an hourglass, so I ended up having to blend between a small top, medium waistband and an XS bottom (and of course that is why I am so unhappy with a store bought swimsuit!).  I also added sew-in cups for support – but not the extra elastic.

Dare I call it – the perfect one-piece pattern?


As the testers started sharing their pics, I couldn’t help but notice how seriously AMAZING everyone looked (and also couldn’t believe how many folks were wearing custom swim fabric NOT purchased at Joanns!)   I purchased this swim knit from Joanns, and ALSO custom ordered swim knit from The Fabric Fairy – but didn’t get to make it… Yet!

Perfect for in and out of the water


Believe it or not, the pictures in front of the stone wall below were taken AFTER I had already spent an hour in the pool with my family!  I’m amazed that I had no swimsuit malfunctions and that it still looks great after I stepped out (I don’t know if I thought the thread would melt in the chlorine or what – but I was just anxious).  I’m glad it all worked out in the end.

Now EVERYONE has a swimsuit – no excuses!


You may remember my daughter’s swimsuit from the Suit Up for Summer swim tour.  She is tickled pink that we now have matching bathing suits – and so am I!  I’m hoping some of you will join me in feeling good about ourselves in homemade swimsuits (perhaps matching family sets?) – would love to hear if swimsuit sewing is in your plans below!

*affiliate link – clinking any of the links in this post with an asterisk, and making a purchase, means I get a small contribution to my fabric and pattern fund — my fabric stash thanks you in advance!

11 thoughts

  1. Mac! You are incredible. I love that you tested this suit with us. And I’m also jealous that you got to swim already in yours…I was half considering buying a kiddie pool this week so I could sit in cool water. The heat is rising and I’m not ready!

    I clicked over to the Henley that you made. August 29, 2016. That was your first me-made shirt? Less than a year ago? I would have never guessed, I feel like you’ve always been kicking butt in my sewing circles. You are awesome, ladycakes!


  2. Mac, from the time I saw Judy sneak peek this on her IG, I knew this was going to look freaking amazing and all of the testers reaffirmed this initial thought. You look fantastic mama!


  3. This looks amazing! My measurements also fall in the s/m/xs sizes. Was it easy to grade? Also, would you mind sharing what kind of cups you used? I love reading your blog. Your makes are always fantastic!


    1. I think so… I think you need the waist to hit you in the right spot… I have a super short torso, so I have to truncate that section (I selected the medium for the waistband and then graded the top to the waistband size and the bottoms to the waistband size as well… It’s easy – give it a try!


  4. Thank you so much for this post; I love the look of this pattern and am itching to try it but have been put off because I am completely different sizes for bust, waist and hips and had a terrible experience attempting a mash of sizes with another pattern. I think you look absolutely fabulous, maybe I just need to bite the bullet 🙂


  5. Mac, I love your blog, I love everything you make, I love your face, I just love you. I would say, “I want to be Mac when I grow up.” but I suspect I’m older than you. You are amazing. I bought this pattern. I’m ready to “Take the Plunge”.


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