There’s nothing worse than shopping for bathers (and bras) in my opinion. Can you believe I’ve been swimming in t-shirts and shorts to disguise seriously degraded bathers for over 12 years because I can’t commit to a purchase? Finding bathers that are a good fit, affordable and which suit my style has eluded me.

Meanwhile, I’ve been getting irritated by my bras not fitting properly. Body changes over the years mean that a couple will never fit me again (I’ve passed those on) and others are simply getting worn out. So, there I sat on my bedroom floor surrounded by bras and the remains of bathing outfits, contemplating how to prevent them from becoming landfill. That’s when I came up with the idea of using an old bra to make new bathers! I needed the same support in bathers that was provided by a bra and I could add new straps or make alterations (it was only the straps that were stretched and shabby). I thought I could use some of the bather pieces to cover the bra but there wasn’t enough fabric. While I thought about it I visited my sister to borrow her sewing machine. She’d been cleaning out her wardrobe and asked if I wanted some pieces. I didn’t but I decided the shape of this top and the fabric would work well upcycled into bathers. I was very excited to get started.

My first attempt failed. I loved the design I came up with, which was to make some of the top into a yarn that I plaited and thread through the cups in a draw string fashion, but unfortunately, I cut the cups out of the bra and could not get them to sit in the right position or stay secured to my body. Disappointed but undeterred I tried one of the other bras. This style of bra may have worked well for my original idea but I didn’t want to risk cutting into it again and rendering it useless. Luckily, I was able to stitch the bra straight into the cut-outs I’d made for my first idea. Too easy and just in time for my trip to Vanuatu! Oh by the way, I realise I still need to find a matching wooden bead for the other side of the halter neck.

Buoyed by this success I made adjustments to some other pieces so that I could continue wearing them.

The black bather bottoms I bought to swim in when I was pregnant have been used once because I discovered they were too loose in the one area you don’t want exposed when you do breaststroke kick (see why I hate shopping for bathers). Some quick stitching using the sewing machine and they’re a much better fit. I’ll use them as the bottoms to my new bikini top.


Next, I converted this one-piece bathing suit handed down to me into bather bottoms to wear under swimming shorts.

Then I tightened the straps on my loose bras by cutting them shorter and reattaching them, and unpicked a bodice piece that didn’t fit to leave the perfectly fine bra.


I’ve deconstructed all the scraps as much as possible into reusable parts like press studs, wires, buckles, elastic, and fabric pieces. The useless bits are going to be used as stuffing in a future project.

UPDATE: I’ve swam in my bathers and worn my adjusted bras and all is good.

10 thoughts

  1. Fantastic!! I hate shopping for bathers and underwear too
    Think I’ll be trying this in the future when I need new bathers!!
    Thank you
    I love your blog

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very impressed, but no way for this little whale. I could almost guarantee my sewing would come undone as soon as I hit the water scaring everyone for miles! I think you might be on to something though, I don’t know 1 person who enjoys bathers shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. My husband thinks something like this will happen to me. He was like “no, just go and buy some.” I was like “you don’t think I’ve tried in the last 12 years.” Admittedly I don’t try hard when I don’t have a lot of time without tiny tots in tow.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The new bikini top looks fab, and I love your other sewing successes as well. Bra shopping is the worst. Ugh! I spend tonight “editing” a t-shirt dress with long sleeves and belt loops, into a very usable summer t-shirt dress with short turned up sleeves and no belt loops. Love using up something from home and not having to shop.


    1. That sounds so comfy. Would love to see it :). So many people complain that they don’t have time to DIY but if you actually compare how much time you can spend getting to the shops, looking around, trying things on and so on, it can be much quicker to whip something up at home. My confidence to try harder things is growing so who knows what I’ll do next :).


  4. This is a GREAT idea! I definitely hate bra shopping. Unfortunately I bit the bullet last week & bought new ones, throwing out the old. I did keep the metal bits though for future sewing projects. I’ll have to try and remember to do this next time! I’m thinking even just sewing the strap shorter without cutting may work too, and no fuss on reattaching….

    Liked by 1 person

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