Upcycling swimwear

What can be done with old swimwear?
When I first started to look at this I was doubtful as to whether I would find anything.  I do either pass on or try to upcycle all our old clothes - I find it hard to throw any kind of clothes out - yet swimwear is one thing that I have always thrown out when it gets stretched and worn.
However... my girls are swimmers, and since starting to swim competitively have got some pretty snazzy swimsuits. They do grow attached to their swimsuits, and they've asked me to keep those that they've grown out of - to make something from them that they can keep! So I began to search for ideas for swimsuit upcycling!


A few years ago, Speedo released the LZR racer swimsuit - that when worn by top swimmers resulted in many world records being broken. Subsequently these swimsuits were banned in competition, but Speedo, not wanting the suits to go to waste donated them to some fashion students in London to upcycle!
Here you can see a short video of what they came up with, - some great upcycled clothing items!

I have also added some ideas that I found to my 
Pinterest board for upcycling swimwear - some amazing dresses made from old swimwear and even a summer pavillion!
Of course if you don't have enough old swimwear for a pavillion....

You can always resize a swimsuit to fit someone smaller - like Danielle from Blissful and Domestic did here:

Or combine an old funky swimsuit with another clothing item. 
For example, a while ago
I used an old swimsuit together with an oversized t-shirt to make 

Other suggestions I found while browsing were:

Sew up the bottom of a girls suit and use it as a bag.

Use pretty parts of the fabric as embellishments on other clothes and bags.

Use the soft swimsuit fabric for stuffing.

So armed with all these ideas I got out my girls old swimsuits..

I decided to try cutting up the one that was in the worst condition fabric wise - very worn and stretched, my younger daughter's much loved 'flame' suit.
I was inspired by a couple of Beanie kids my daughters were given..

So I made a rough pattern, took a deep breath and cut the first swimsuit..

I stitched this using my machine, but found it really tricky. The fabric was very slippery and stretchy, and even with a brand new and fine needle the fabric just didn't want to stitch evenly.  
 I persisted and ended up with this..

I don't think teddy has a swimmers physique, but it doesn't look too bad! I'm sure my daughter will love it!  
I think I'll try this again with the rest of the fabric from this swimsuit, but hand-stitch to see if that works out any better.

I don't want to cut up another swimsuit until I know I can stitch it back together into something worthwhile. That's the good thing about clothes upcycling though - you can learn about sewing techniques and different fabrics on old clothes, so mistakes don't matter so much!

I've also got a pile of my old swimwear that I can practice on too!

This is going to be a longer term project than I thought. I will post my progress as I experiment - and add any successful upcycles to the linky below which will stay open long-term.
Any tips on sewing with swimsuit fabric would be much appreciated too!


Have you ever upcycled old swimsuits?

To see more clothes upcycling ideas - item by item, go here, and come back each week for a new item!

Or for over 600 general clothes upcycling ideas go here!

I am also creating Pinterest boards for each clothing item with ideas for upcycling - you can follow my boards here. Or just check out the one for Swimwear Upcycling.

Happy Upcycling!


  1. The idea of doll/teddy bear clothes is perfect! They turned out cute:@)

  2. I'm intrigued...there must be some cool ways to use them for non clothing items - I like the toe bag idea. Teddy looks great!

    1. Thanks Michelle! Yes - this has really got me thinking, a good challenge to work on!

  3. No, I have never tried to upcycle old swimwear. Your version looks so nice, and that teddy bear in a swimming suit is adorable!
    Also that dress made of an old t-shirt is also pretty, I am sure your daughter likes it much!

    1. Thank you!! Teddy was a big hit with my daughter - who didn't mind the less than perfect stitching at all!!


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