As soon as I book a trip anywhere, I immediately start thinking about what I'm going to pack or rather wear while I'm there. For my trip to Hawaii, I made a ton of stuff including pants, a top, a swimsuit and this retro style swim coverup. With just a few simple modifications, I modified my Lou Box Top pattern to create a casual, loose-fitting swim coverup.
The Lou Box Top is a mix and match pattern and this modification takes advantage of that by making a seam where the hem pieces meet the neckline pieces. The seam allowance at the waist is a rather hefty 1 inch and becomes the casing for the drawstring. I used a really plain (but super soft!) cotton fabric so I decided to add decorative trim to the armholes and hemline. Of course, if you used a printed fabric you don't really need any trim at all. You could also try using a knit instead of a woven.
HOW TO MAKE A SWIM COVERUP
1.25 to 1.5 yards lightweight fabric, 60 inches wide
OR 2.5 yards, 45 inches wide
about 1 yard bias tape
about 2 yards loop trim
Note: In the interest of not repeating myself, I'm going to skip over a few of the details that are covered in the pdf instructions and in the sewalong.
Step 1: Modify the pattern. I just put the pattern on top of my fabric drew new cutting lines with chalk. If you think you'll be using the pattern more than once though, you might want to draw it on tracing paper so that you can save it and use it again. You will need pattern pieces 1 (BACK), 3 (FRONT SCOOPNECK), 2C (FRONT CURVED HEM), 1C (BACK CURVED HEM) and 5 (WOVEN NECK BINDING). Piece 2C will be the front skirt and 1C will be the back skirt.
Decide how long you want the coverup to be by holding a measuring tape to your shoulder and letting it hang. I made mine 33 inches in the front and 39 inches in the back.
Now for a little bit of math. We need to figure out how much length to add to the skirt front and back.
Take the finished front length, subtract 22.5 inches. Add that difference to the front skirt length.
Next take the finished back length, subtract 25 inches. Add that difference for the back skirt length.
For a finished front length of 33 inches, add (33–22.5)=10.5 inches to skirt front.
For a finished back length of 39 inches, add (39–25)=14 inches to skirt back.
Just in case you want to know, the total seam/hem allowance that will be subtracted from the length during construction is 3 inches.
Mark the new lengths on the fabric as shown in the illustration above. The pink lines are the new cutting lines. Cut out all pieces. In addition, cut two pieces of fabric 1.5 x 42 inches for the drawstring.
Optional: Raise the neckline slightly for a little extra coverage.
Step 2: Make bodice. Stitch shoulder seams and press seams open. Hem sleeve edges. Topstitch bias tape 3/4 inch from sleeve hem. Topstitch loop trim directly on top of sleeve hem. Stitch side bodice seams. Finish neck edge with neck binding.
Step 3: Make skirt Stitch skirt side seams. Hem edges. Topstitch loop trim directly to skirt hem edge.
Step 4: Make buttonholes. Apply a piece of interfacing about 4 x 1 inches to wrong side of center front, 1 inch from bottom edge. On right side of fabric, make two 3/4 inch buttonholes each about 3/4 inch from the center front and 1.4 inch from bottom.
Step 5: Make waist casing. Stitch waist seam with 1 inch seam allowance. Press seam allowance towards hem. Topstitch seam allowance close to edge of seam allowance. The seam allowance has now been made into the waist casing to hold the drawstring and created a fitted waist.
Step 6: Make drawstring. Stitch together two short ends of drawstring pieces to create one long strip. Fold in half lengthwise and stitch using a .25 inch seam allowance. Turn right side out and press. Cut open the buttonholes and thread the drawstring through the casing. Tie a knot in the end of each drawstring.
I hope that you enjoy this tutorial. You can pick up the Lou Box Top pattern right here to get started making your own or if you're feeling confident, draft your boxy top and use this tutorial as an instruction guide. I love how my coverup turned out, especially the decorative trims. It's super easy and comfortable to wear, just the thing you need when lounging by the beach or pool.