How to Make a One Piece Swimsuit Smaller

Swimsuit season is almost upon us, and whether you’re spring boarding into a swimming hole or lounging around the pool, you’ll need to have some swimsuits on hand. Thankfully, swimsuit styles and designs abound, and choosing what to wear is at your discretion. One popular swimsuit style is the one-piece bathing suit, as it often offers decent coverage for the body.

After using your one-piece swimsuit for a while, you might notice it getting more prominent due to stretching from use and washing. Also, you can find the perfect one-piece suit that can be just a little too baggy for your body. In both instances, you can wander about your options and how to make a one-piece swimsuit smaller.

Thankfully, there are a couple of tricks you can perform on your one-piece to make them smaller and have a much better fitting on your body. And with great fitting, you can be confident out on the water when you know your swimsuit flatters your appearance. This article will cover a few techniques for making a swimsuit fit better to tailor your swimwear to fit perfectly.

Can You Alter A One Piece Swimsuit?

You can alter a swimsuit and one-piece is not excluded, to make it bigger or smaller with the right tools and know-how. While making a one-piece swimsuit smaller may not be easy, it is possible with enough effort and creativity. Your options for altering your one-piece swimsuit are diverse. These range from taking in seams to make your suit snug again or adding some elastic to creatively reworking your swimwear.

ALSO READ: How to Make a One Piece Swimsuit Bigger

How to Make a One Piece Swimsuit Smaller

A point to keep in mind is that although there are several DIY methods of shrinking your one-piece, some will require you to have technical skills. Also, if you get it wrong, you stand the chance of ruining your bathing suit completely. Here are some tricks to help you how to make a one-piece swimsuit smaller: 

1. By Adding Elastic 

Sewing elastic to the bottom of your swimsuit can be tricky, but it’s a simple process once you get it. Here’s how:

  • Grab your scissors and sew-on elastic. You can find this in craft stores or any fabric store.
  • It’s essential to pick a width that you think will look good on your suits, such as 1/4 inch or 3/8 inch.
  • Measure the length of your swimsuit from end to end and add about 1 1/2 inches extra to that measurement. That’s how long to cut your piece of elastic.
  • You may want to try on your swimsuit and measure how much elastic you need to wrap around your hips so that your swimsuit isn’t too tight.
  • Cut a piece of elastic to the length of the bottom of the swimsuit.
  • Pin the elastic to the bottom of your swimsuit to line up with one edge, but not stretch out or bunch up. You’ll want the stretchy side facing down to sew easily on top.
  • Fold over one edge of the elastic by about a quarter of an inch and press it down with an iron if you have one handy. This is called hemming and will help keep the edges from fraying when sewn into place later on.
  • Sew the elastic to the swimsuit using a zig-zag stitch, which will allow for some give as it stretches. You can also achieve this by hand, but it may take more extended and more patience since you’ll have to make tiny stitches close together along each side.

2. Shrink It by Using the Dryer

One standard DIY procedure for making a one-piece swimsuit smaller is by turning to your regular dryer. However, this method only works on certain fabrics as it requires heating and cooling off to create shrinkage. Here is how to utilize this means:

  • Turn the suit inside out, and wash it by hand in cool water to clean off any dirt, grime, or oil.
  • Soak the suit in boiling water until the water cools to room temperature.
  • Place the suit into the dryer on a high setting available.
  • Let the garment cool to room temperature once the dry cycle is complete.
  • Repeat this process 2-3 more times to gradually shrink your swimsuit.

Remember that these steps are meant only for shrinking a swimsuit by a small amount. This means you might have to repeat the process repeatedly before you can get a significant change.

3. Ironing Your Swimsuit

Heat can cause your swimsuit to shrink and hence get smaller. A caveat, however, is that you need to take special care when using this method as heat can also damage your one-piece swimsuit. Here is how to go about using an iron to achieve a smaller one-piece:

  • Wash and rinse the swimsuit, then wring out as much water as possible.
  • Ironing a swimsuit is similar to ironing any other piece of clothing. Make sure you have an ironing board or a flat, heat-resistant surface ready before you begin.
  • Place the swimsuit on top and cover it with a cotton cloth. Turn the iron onto a low- or medium heat setting and iron the suit, pressing down with slow, firm movements.
  • Flip the suit over from time to time to evenly iron both sides. Continue ironing until almost all of the water has evaporated, then let it air dry for several hours before wearing it again.

Bear in mind that this will be a permanent change; once your suit shrinks, it won’t return to its original size unless you get another one tailored for you by a professional seamstress or tailor.

4. Create a Ruching Design 

You can also use a ruching technique to gather the fabric around your body after stretching out. And this style is typical in swimsuits for hiding body imperfections such as tommy bulge, mom pooch and muffin top. Thankfully, this design is versatile enough to help you get your one-piece swimsuit smaller for a snugger fitting. Here is how to go about this method:

  • Cut thin strips of elastic thread and sew them into the swimsuit.
  • Measure how much thread you need before cutting it; this will help you determine how large each strip should be.
  • If you plan to create a vertical ruching design, sew the elastic strips into different rows of fabric on your swimsuit.
  • If you want horizontal stripes, sew the elastic threads in several columns instead.

This technique will give your swimsuit a more natural look than if you stitched it in one piece. Whichever method you choose, either tucking or ruching, ensure that your finished product is comfortable and fits well before using it in water.

5. Consult a Professional Tailor

DIY methods are not always your best option, especially if you lack tailoring skills or don’t have a sewing machine. You can further ruin your one-piece all in the process, which can even cost you more. To this end, if you have a tailor that you trust enough, you can consider having your swimsuit professionally altered.

Also, some one-piece swimsuit adjustments can be very complex, even if you have technical skills. For instance, restructuring the bodice to accommodate a different size bust involves detailed measurement and sewing. That said, some changes or adjustment styles you choose can be pricey. Asides from this, if your suit has a liner, this will also require adjustment separately.

Having a professional work on your one-piece swimsuit may cost more than a new one depending on the style you wish to obtain.

6. Get a Smaller Size

Alternatively, if all the DIY techniques and visiting a professional seem too much work for you, you can replace the swimwear. One of the leading causes of a loose swimsuit is when it’s too big. If you have an oversized bathing suit and want to make it smaller, try buying a smaller size. You can go a size smaller this time to ensure it fits perfectly.

ALSO READ: How to Fix Bikini Bottoms That Are Too Big

Do Swimsuits Stretch or Shrink?

Most swimsuits use a combination of nylon and spandex, two exceptionally resistant materials to water. As these materials get wet, the swimsuit will expand by about 10%, only to settle back into its original shape once it dries. Though this expansion might seem jarring at first, keep in mind that if your body expands together with the suit (by drinking a few beers or eating a meal), you’ll hardly notice the difference.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself swimming in your one-piece after spending time in and out of the pool and you notice shrinkage or stretching out. Because they are from nylon and spandex, it’s not uncommon for swimsuits to shrink or expand after drying. If you expose your one-piece to high temperatures, whether on purpose or accidentally, via a hot dryer, they can shrink permanently over time.

Similarly, if you wash them with regular laundry detergent instead of specifically designed swimsuit soap, your one-piece may also become rough and lose some elasticity. Also, poor practice like hanging to dry or improper storage can see your swimsuit gaining in length and becoming poorly fitting.

Conclusion – How to Make a One-Piece Swimsuit Smaller

Now that you know how to make a one-piece swimsuit smaller, you can easily alter your swimsuits yourself and have them fit just as well as before. The good thing about making a one-piece swimsuit smaller is that it’s easy to do yourself and will save you money in the long run. Also, you can finally throw away those old swimsuits that no longer fit and buy some new ones or use a pair of scissors to turn them into the perfect size.


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