Adding a modesty panel to a swimsuit

In my post “Family Visit”, I talked about my brother and his kids coming, and all of us going to a waterpark.  I had to get a swimsuit quickly, and had to compromise on one that fit somewhat, didn’t have high-cut legs, but had a plunging neckline.  I figured I could sew some fabric in to make it more modest.

I was in such a hurry, I forgot to take “before” shots of the swimsuit, so I went looking for it online.  It’s made by Gabar, and is black with white polka dots.  It has ruffles that face into the V-neckline,  and a bow of narrow, white ribbon at the base of the V.  I found two pictures to substitute for the missing “before” picture:

This swimsuit is a two-piece, while mine is one, but it is the same design. The top is black with white polka dots (or maybe it's black and white check?), features ruffles facing into the neckline, and has the little ribbon bow at the bottom of the neckline.

This swimsuit is identical to mine, except in color. The lady who bought this said she removed the little bow, because it didn't look like it belonged. I agreed, and had already removed the bow from mine.

I headed over to the fabric store, to look at their remnants.  I found some lilac swimsuit fabric.  I also bought some ball-pointed needles, since they don’t catch and pull the fabric.

Not having a clue what I was doing, I put on the swimsuit and stood in front of the bathroom mirror.  I measured up from the seam that goes across beneath the cups, to where I wanted the panel to reach.  That ended up being 9″.  I marked there with pins on both sides inside, and I marked it at 6″ as well.

I laid out my fabric and started marking measurements on it with a pencil.  I marked off 12″, to be gathered to 9″, and an inch above and below for sewing it into the seam.  I added another couple of inches in order to have plenty to gather.  I pinned the bias tape to it, folding the top inch over the bias tape that went across the top of the modesty panel.  Then, I put in running stitches down both sides, and pulled the fabric along it to gather it, until the gathered part was 9″ high. That finished, I pinned the panel inside the swimsuit and tried it on (carefully!!!).

It looked great!  So then it was time to sew it in.  I sewed in a zig-zag pattern, so the fabric would be secured, yet still able to stretch.  I went over the bias tape ends several times.  I also stitched the folded-over top of the panel to the bias tape that went across there.

As I stitched, I was careful not to go through the front of the seam, since I didn't want purple stitches showing there. You can see the top bias tape peeking out of the top corner of the fabric.

The purpose of the bias tape is to support the panel.  It stretches a little, but it actually is what is taking the stress (I pulled the two sides together a little, for better support).  When I have the swimsuit on, the lilac material is taut enough to be nicely shirred and not droop, but it is taking very little of the stress.

The panel completely sewn in. I was up into the wee hours to finish this thing!

From the front.

The gathering or shirring is not only decorative, it also hides any imperfections I may have made.

Completed suit, already tested at the water park!

Back of the suit.

The panel survived the water park like it had been a part of the suit from the beginning!

I hope to eventually finish the inside seams.


Adding a modesty panel to a swimsuit — 2 Comments

    • Hahahahaaa… It’s hit me before, too!

      I was hoping for a piece of jewel-tone fabric, like a strong red or vibrant blue. But hey, lilac’s fine, and it worked out great! :)

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