5 Best Fabrics for Swimwear

When it comes to choosing fabrics for swimwear, polyester/spandex blends are often going to work best. Although more expensive than other blends, polyester is resistant to harsh chemicals such as chlorine.
Polyester won’t fade over time and won’t pill or ball up. Nylon/spandex blends will also work, but nylon is not as UV resistant as other fabrics and might tend to pill or ball over time.

Best Fabrics for Swimwear

Here are our fabrics for swimwear reviews

How I  decide on what to buy:

My goal is to help you find the best sewing resource for your requirements. I do the legwork to ensure you get the most for your money, whether you’re shopping for high-end gear or the bare essentials.

I consult experts, sewists, teachers, and/or craftspeople, and family members who are also sewists; I scour the Internet for information on how sewing supplies are used; I read customer reviews by real users; and, of course, I rely on my own accumulated expertise as a sewist.

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This medium-weight polyester/spandex blend is perfect for swimwear. Polyester holds up well to chlorine and doesn’t usually pill over time. The fabric is great for making other apparel items including dancewear, costumes, and activewear as well.

  • Fabric features 25% four-way stretch
  • Easy to launder- hand wash and lay flat to dry
  • Fun, vibrant pattern
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This lightweight polyester fabric is perfect for making swimwear when it comes to board shorts and not traditional bathing suits. Polyester tends to hold up well against chemicals like chlorine and generally won’t fade out or lose its color. This line comes in four different colors.

  • Features a Durable Water Repellent finish
  • Fabric is suitable for a variety of other projects as well, including outerwear
  • Has a soft matte face and a low luster back
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This 80% nylon, 20% Lycra spandex blend is a lightweight fabric that is perfect for making bathing suits. The fabric’s print is a lot of fun and can be used for anything from one piece bathing suits to bikinis. The fabric is versatile and can also be used for projects like dancewear and costumes.

  • Fabric has four way stretch with 40% stretch across the grain
  • Easy to launder- machine wash on gentle and lay flat to dry
  • Nylon is strong and durable, but it might tend to pill more easily than polyester fabrics

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This lightweight polyester/polyurethane blend fabric is perfect for swimwear, as well as many other projects. The fabric is waterproof and extremely durable. It has a slight stretch and would be perfect for use in projects like board shorts or swim diapers.

  • Easy to launder- machine wash warm, dry on low or drip dry- no fabric softeners or bleach
  • This line comes in an array of different patterns and colors
  • Polyester is resistant to fading in chemicals like chlorine and will not usually pill

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Polyester/spandex blends work great for swimwear. This medium-weight fabric is a 90% polyester, 10% spandex blend. This particular fabric line only comes in black, but the fabric is versatile and can be used for other apparel projects as well. Polyester fabrics are great for making swimwear, as they tend to hold their color and stand up well against chemicals like chlorine.

  • Fabric has four-way stretch, including 40% stretch across the grain and 30% vertical stretch
  • Perfect for swimwear and a wide variety of other projects like costumes, and activewear as well
  • Silky and soft with a fluid drape

Fabrics for Swimwear Buying Guide

Why sew your own swimwear? Sewing your own swimwear ensures a higher degree to customization. If you have trouble finding a swimsuit that fits perfectly or even comfortably, making your own could be the perfect solution. Depending on where you buy your swimwear, a new bathing suit can be quite an expensive purchase. Making your own swimwear allows you to get creative, and might also save you money.

Nylon and Polyester

Nylon and polyester blends work best for swimwear for a number of reasons. Both fabrics are quite durable and will hold up well over time. Nylon does generally tend to have more stretch than polyester. Swimwear made out of nylon fabric will often be easier to put on and take off, but polyester fabrics are more colorfast, won’t pill, and stand up to harsher chemicals than nylons do. Both tend to be fairly budget-friendly options to purchase.

Learning Curve

Making your own swimwear can be a bit of a learning curve. Sewing with fabrics that have quite a bit of stretch can be a challenge. With all the fun and exciting prints that can be purchased to make swimwear now and the many different types of swimwear that can be designed and made, sewing your own can also be really fun and exciting. There are many tutorials online, including videos, that can help you learn how to make your own swimwear.

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