diy: large cup bikinis for petite frames (how to alter swimsuits)

It's hard to find a swimsuit that fits when your cup size is upwards of a C and you have a small back. I am petite. My bottoms are usually a size XS but I need my tops to be at least  Large to make the cups fit. My back only measures 32 inches so I am usually left with a lot of excess fabric.

It's lucky if you find a self-tying top but in my case, those are rare and few and a lot of them come in matronly designs. I want a fun bikini to frolick around in under the sun. We all deserve fun bikinis!

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

I have been applying this technique to all my swimsuits for quite some time now but in case some of you have the same problem, here's a quick tutorial that may save you a lot of frustrated tears.

First of all, let's help you narrow down your fitting time and only pay attention to tops that will work.

From experience, bikini tops that are in a halter, bandeau or twisted style always work best with cup sizes that are D or bigger. They offer enough support and coverage. Oh, and straps are your best friend, better if they're the removable type so you can switch from halter to spags in case they start cutting into your skin after awhile because of the weight they're trying to support. Sunburn + chaffing is painful.

Next, where to go.

In Manila, I am usually able to find a nice selection of separates in Roxy, Cotton On, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams and Swim (Rockwell, although I haven't been in awhile).

My latest acquisition is this "Oil Slick" bikini by Lara Bingle from Cotton On. It's spot on trend being made of neoprene plus it was super affordable at just P799/pc.

I got an XS bottom and a Large top that was too loose for me but the cups fit and that's what's important. Now time for some DIY magic to make it look just my size.

large cup bikini for petite frames

Here's what you'll need:
  • seam ripper
  • measuring tape
  • needle (preferably fine) and thread
  • scissors
  • sewing machine (optional)
  • a bra in your size with a band that fits perfectly
Let's get started:

First you'll want to undo the stitches where the clasps are found:

diy bikini
Do both sides then line up your bra on top of your bikini (make sure both cups are perfectly aligned with each other):

diy large cup bikini
Next, slide the bikini clasp to meet the point where you usually fasten your bra:

how to alter bikinis
Do a basic running stitch:

how to alter swimwear
It's best to use fine needles cause they tend to snag the stretchy fabric of your bikini less.
Measure the distance from your new stitch to the bone where your cup starts, do the same with the other side and sew.

cotton on oil slick bikini
If you're happy with your measurements, go ahead and restitch your running stitches with a stronger stitch using your machine or a backstitch if you're doing it by hand.

If you're using a machine, make sure to test your tension, needle and stitch length first with excess fabric of your strap. (This is too avoid accidents like the machine ripping or eating your fabric). Best to use the lingerie needle.

cotton on lara bingle bikini
And you might have to replace your regular foot with a zipper foot to accommodate the small distance between the clasp and stitches:

cotton on swimwear
Once you're done reinforcing your stitches, just cut off the excess fabric:

cotton on lara bingle
Good thing about this type of fabric is that it doesn't fray and you can just leave it open-ended.

There you go, I hope this helps. Feel free to email or comment below if you have further questions.

For more D.I.Y.'s, just click on the DIY tab below my header.


Gellie Abogado said…
I've always wanted to try hair extensions... Thanks for the tip, Sarah! Hindi rin ako mahilig magsuklay esp before I had my hair cut. Nagkabuhul-buhol hair ko kasi I always want that wavy hair so I don't comb it and leave it it in a bun pa lagi before I go somewhere. Turns out, kailangan ko pala talanga suklayin buhok ko. Hahaha! To think I'm a beauty blogger but willing to risk getting my hair damaged just to get that lovely temporal waves. Hahaha! :)