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My family is a swimming family. We swim year round in pools and swim in the summer wherever we can. I’ve recently started sewing my own one piece bathing suits and bikinis, so I decided that it was time to create a free swim cap pattern for my readers!
Sewing your own swim cap is actually pretty easy and quick, much more so than sewing a bathing suit. If you are just beginning to sew bathing suit fabric, this is a great way to practice. And if you are a veteran at doing it, you NEED a swim cap to match your swimsuits!
Just to make it easier, I’ve created a free swim cap pattern with four sizes, for both kids and adults, so you can make them for everyone in your family!
Let’s get started!
Practice sewing bathing suit fabric
If you’ve never sewn bathing suit fabric, I HIGHLY recommend you first read this post with 10 useful tips and tricks to sew this fabric perfectly.
When you feel confident with this type of fabric, start getting your materials together!
- small amount of bathing suit fabric. 2-way or 4-way stretch are both fine. See this post for more information about this fabric and where to buy it.
- ¾” (2 cm) wide elastic* (enough to go around the head)
- polyester thread
- 90/14 stretch needle*
- ballpoint pins*
- overlock machine / serger (optional, but very helpful!)
The free swim cap pattern is available to all Cucicucicoo newsletter subscribers. Sign up here for the newsletter (which arrives once every two weeks) to receive all the best sewing and creative tutorials, as well as access to the exclusive members-only area with dozens of of FREE sewing patterns, craft templates and other creative downloads, including the swim cap pattern!
(If you are an Italian-speaker, sign up here for the Italian newsletter.)
Prepare the free swim cap pattern:
Print out the two pages of the pattern (read here if you need help with printing PDF sewing patterns). If you want to save ink, you can print out just the Child or just the Adult sizes by hiding the sizes you don’t need.
Swim caps are often one size fits all or, at most, kid and adult size. My free swim cap pattern has a regular child size and a regular adult size. If the person to wear the swim cap has a somewhat larger than usual head or a lot of hair, you might want to use the appropriate wide size.
Cut one center piece and two side pieces out along the fold, paying attention to the direction of greatest elasticity in the fabric as shown on the pattern pieces. Make sure you cut around the notches on the pattern.
Sew the swim cap:
NOTE: The seam allowance for this projects is ¼” (6 mm).
1. Match up the wide notches on the center strip and one side piece and pin, right sides facing.
2. Pin together the triangular notches on the two pieces, and then pin between the notches. The center strip will bunch up. That’s fine.
3. Sew along the curved edge. If you have an overlock machine, use it. If not, use a stretch stitch, triple straight stitch or zig zag stitch. (If you need help with choosing stitches to use, read this post on how to sew bathing suit fabric.)
4. Repeat steps #1-3 with the other long edge of the center piece and the other side piece.
Add the elastic:
5. Cut a length of elastic that fits snugly, but not uncomfortably so, around the wearer’s head. If in doubt, lay the wim cap flat, lay the elastic along the unsewn edge (shown above on left), and cut the elastic twice that length.
6. Overlap the elastic ends by 5/8″ (1.5 cm), making sure that it isn’t twisted, and sew the ends together. Then mark both the elastic and the swim cap edge into fourths with pins (shown above on right).
Note: Steps #6-10 are pretty much the same thing as I showed in my no-twist elastic waistband tutorial. If you need more help doing this, I suggest you check out that tutorial.
7. Match up the pins marking the fourths on the elastic and the wrong side of the swim cap, keeping the overlapped part of the elastic in the center back, and pin together (A).
8. Sew fabric and elastic together with a wide zig zag stitch or with the overlocker with the knife disengaged (B).
9. Fold the fabric edge over, covering up the elastic, and pin in place (C).
10. Sew around the edge with thread that matches the swim cap fabric with a zig zag stitch so that the fabric/elastic edge is flattened down securedly (D). I suggest using the free arm for this step.
Here you can see the stitching from step #10 better, and how it catches the edge of the fabric so that it lays flat.
Flip the swim cap right side out, and you’re done!
Make a bunch more!
This is such a quick project that you can now make a swim cap for every member of your family! Kids love being able to choose their own fabrics!
And if you’ve sewn your own bathing suits, you can sew matching swim caps!
This is my new home-sewn bathing suit and matching swim cap that I will be using this year when my swim course starts up again next week. I’ve already tried them out and they are really comfortable and I got a lot of compliments on my matching swim gear!
As you can see in the picture above, these swim caps have enough stretch to accommodate long hair pulled up into a bun. However, if you have very long hair, I highly suggest you sew the wide size.
Now all that’s left for you to do is to find a place to swim and jump right in! Splash!!
This free swim cap pattern and tutorial is part of the syllabus of Cucicucicoo’s Learn to Machine Sew beginner’s sewing course! Don’t forget to share pictures of your work on Facebook or other social media with the hashtags #cucicucicoopatterns and #cucicucicoo!
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