You’ve probably been seeing crochet bikinis gaining popularity in recent years. They’re cute, elegant, and flattering, but are they waterproof enough to swim in? And are they see through?
Many crochet bikinis are meant for sun-bathing, not swimming. Because the yarn wasn’t waterproofed, so it’ll absorb water and sag. Depending on how they were made, they may be see-through. If you want a waterproof crochet bikini that’ll guarantee coverage, you can make your own with the right yarn, and the right stitches. Or, you can sew a lining into an existing bikini to prevent anything from showing through the stitches.
You’re likely to hear completely different stories based on who you ask. I’ve met people who own a number of crochet bikinis and have had no problem swimming in them. That’s because they were using custom made crochet bikinis designed to be functional swimwear, without being see-through.
Some people were also terribly embarrassed when their crochet bikini ended up too heavy and waterlogged, and fell off as they got out of the water.
As a result, some firmly believe they’re never meant for swimming, and just for tanning or modeling.
For example, Melanie Janisse, a clothing collector who runs a vintage store named Pineapple in Toronto, sells handmade crochet bikinis (at around $100!) According to Janisse, “They’re for tanning. Or posing – a couple of my clients have been fitness models. Or for just wearing around as tops, with cut-off jean shorts.” She advises people not to swim in these bikinis as they can get heavy.
But whether or not you can swim in them depends on how the bikini was made. Some are designed with a lining, waterproof yarn, and tight stitches so that they can be used in the water without being see-through.
Problems With Bikinis That Aren’t Meant for Swimming
Most crochet bikinis are made out of cotton. Regular cotton that hasn’t received any special treatment can get very heavy when wet, which may cause the swimsuit to sag.
This can lead to the garment being stretched, widening the holes and leading to an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. Or, a bikini bottom can sag so low that it’s not properly covering you anymore.
Worse, the weight of the waterlogged bottom can cause it to fall off when you get out of the water.
For a crochet bikini to be used as swimwear, it should ideally be made out of materials that won’t absorb much water, and that wont get super heavy if it does. This rules out regular cotton and wool, but certain blends of cotton or acrylic would work.
Another problem is that these bikinis may take a while to dry, since they’re not intended to be wet. If you’re on vacation in a humid area, these may take longer than a day to dry, meaning you may not be able to bring them to the beach or pool the next day.
Or, if you were planning to go for a dip in the ocean or in the pool, then lounge in the sun later, they may stay uncomfortably wet instead of drying in half an hour like a regular bathing suit would.
Third, salt water and chlorine may interact with the dye, causing the color to leach or fade.
Lastly, there’s also the danger of the bikini unraveling as it sloshes around in the water. This would be the worst possibility because you may not realize it until it’s too late!
Avoid These Issues by Making Your Own Bikini
Since stores have been selling crochet bikinis for upwards of $100 each, you can save a ton making your own. On top of that, you can customize it to fit your body.
I’ve met so many women who struggle to find a bikini set where both pieces are the right sizes. If they find a top piece that fits, the corresponding bottom piece isn’t the right size, or vice versa. But if you make your own, you can tailor it to be both flattering and comfortable.
You also get to pick the colors and the style that you prefer. You can make it a halter top, bandeau top, boy shorts, one piece, a criss cross bikini, or a string bikini. And you can add your own lacework, edging, or cute appliques.
You can also make matching swimwear items to complement your swimsuit, like sarongs, wraps, a stylish top that goes over your bikini, or a beach bag.
Pick the Right Pattern
Some crochet bikini patterns outright state that the bikini is only suitable for sunbathing, and not for use in the water. These may be designed to fit loosely.
If in doubt, you can contact the designer or check reviews to see if the pattern can be altered to make a swimsuit.
Buy the Right Yarn
There are a few yarns that are intended to be crocheted or knit into swimsuits.
Two of the most popular suggestions for swimsuits are:
- Cascade Fixation: a cotton elastic blend that is stretchy, and comes in a variety of beautiful colors.
- Alize Diva Stretch Bikini Yarn: a microfiber acrylic yarn. This may be very thin, but you can crochet with multiple strands at once to use it for patterns that call for thicker yarn.
I have heard that Alize Diva Stretch yarn dries quickly, like a swimsuit, and holds its shape well.
These can be purchased online, or possibly found in your local yarn store.
If you cannot get your hands on these, some people suggest using mercerized cotton. This is cotton that has been processed to have a more shiny finish. This processing usually makes cotton less absorbent than untreated cotton.
I suspect that mercerized cotton would not work as well as Cascade Fixation and Alize Diva Stretch. If all else fails, your local yarn store may be able to suggest a suitable alternative.
Some say acrylic yarns are good for swimwear as they don’t soak up much water, and they dry quickly. Bamboo and silk blends have also been recommended, because they’re strong, and don’t hold much water. I haven’t confirmed these, but if you are out of options, these may be worth a shot.
I’d highly recommend crocheting a test swatch first. That way, you can wash and dry it to see if it stretches, shrinks, or fades.
Making Sure Everything’s Covered
There are a few ways to make sure your crochet bikini wont be see through.
First, try to find a pattern that has a very tight stitch. Single crochet is one of the tightest stitches.
But even single crochet can leave gaps if the crochet hook you used is too big for the yarn.
Opt for a smaller hook, which will make the holes between your stitches even smaller.
If you don’t want to use single crochet, you can sew a swimsuit liner into your bikini. This also has the added benefit of affording more protection against the sun.
You can buy swimsuit lining at a fabric store like JOANN Fabrics and Crafts, or online.
You can find tutorials on YouTube showing you how to sew the lining into your bikini.
The general gist is to cut the material to match the final measurements of the crocheted item, with a little extra around the entire perimeter for the seam allowance. You would then pin the fabric to the crocheted item, folding the raw edge underneath so that the lining is less likely to fray. Lastly, you’d use a needle and thread to whipstitch the fabric in.
Some people even opt to line their crochet swimsuits with a bra cup insert, which you can purchase online, or at a fabric store.
If a lining isn’t for you, you can also buy waterproof pasties to wear under your bikini top, and pick a yarn color that won’t be easy to see through. Perhaps a darker color, like brown or black.
You can also buy swimwear elastic to sew around the waistband and leg bands of your bikini bottom. This can help ensure that even if there is slight sagging, the garment should stay on and keep everything covered. Swimwear elastic can be purchased at a fabric store.
Buy swimsuit lining https://www.joann.com/swimwear-lining/xprd728506.html in case it gets wet and sags. Lining can help ipt not sag as badly.
Again, wash and dry the swimsuit before you use it in public. This way, you can ensure it stays the same shape and doesn’t stretch or shrink.
What About Crochet Bikinis Sold in Stores?
If you’re buying them already made from a store, check the tags to see if it’s advertised as swimwear.
If it is, then the yarn may have been coated or treated with thread that doesn’t soak up as much water.
You can always test how heavy it gets and whether it sags privately at home, in the shower, by wearing it as it gets wet.
If it does sag, you’ll want to check if it sags enough to reveal anything, or if the weight makes it more prone to slip off. You don’t want to lose your bathing suit at the beach or at the public pool!
Do keep in mind that crochet bikinis may take longer to dry, so don’t leave them crumpled in a heap if you need them the next day. You may want to lay them flat to dry somewhere.
Try not to hang them when wet, because cotton gets very heavy when wet. The weight can pull the fabric down, causing it to stretch and stay stretched when it’s dry.
If you find that it takes too long to dry, you might want to bring a dry change of clothes with you to change into after swimming.
You should also keep in mind that depending on the yarn, the colors may bleed when wet. I haven’t experienced this in yarn bought from big box stores, but if you’re buying hand-dyed yarn, just be mindful. Wetting and washing the bikini before going out to the beach may be a good idea to prevent the dyes from coming out and ending up on your skin.
If you find that the bikini is too see-through, you can buy a swimsuit liner or a bra cup and sew it into the interior. Or, you can wear pasties.