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Completed: McCalls 7168 Pinup Bathing Suit

Sewing a Pinup Bathing Suit, McCalls 7168 | @vintageontap

Posing in a Pinup Bathing Suit, McCalls 7168 | @vintageontap

Rocking a fun and tropical Pinup Bathing Suit, McCalls 7168 | @vintageontap

Posing in a new Pinup Bathing Suit, McCalls 7168 | @vintageontap

Sewing a Pinup Bathing Suit, McCalls 7168 | @vintageontap

Hanging in there in the wind out at Sutro Baths | @vintageontap

Looking around the Sutro Bath ruins in my pinup bathing suit, Sewing McCalls M7168 | @vintageontap

Looking around the Sutro Bath ruins in my pinup bathing suit, Sewing McCalls M7168 | @vintageontap

Halter top back detail, Pinup bathing suit, McCalls M7168 | @vintageontap

Halter top back detail, Pinup bathing suit, McCalls M7168 | @vintageontap

Halter top detail, Pinup bathing suit, McCalls M7168 | @vintageontap

Top stitching detail, Pinup bathing suit, McCalls M7168 | @vintageontap

Talk about a pinup bathing suit!

This year I challenged myself to sew something different, and for this project I focused on learning to sew with new materials. A pinup bathing suit was my first toe into sewing swimwear knits and I’m happy McCall’s 7168 worked. It challenged me to take the sewing skills I’m all ready comfortable with and marry them with some new techniques.

First, the fabric: a lovely vintage 60s swimwear knit I picked up from the Etsy store Kchoos. I talk about this great fabric in my June 2016 haul video (check it out if you haven’t all ready!) Insanely happy tropical fruits and flowers are featured all over it and you can get lost in all the colors. The fabric fed into the tiki kick I’ve been on lately, so I couldn’t resist. Also, the bright colors hides any mistakes I made in construction!

McCall’s M7168 is a modern pattern that lends itself to a lot of possibilities. 

The amount of sewing options can be a little bit overwhelming, but they’re fun to think about because you can create your ideal two-piece. The mix and match is a selling point and there are a lot of pattern pieces to work with no matter what design you chose. After the dust settled, I went with the high waisted briefs +  plain waistband + no panel gathers…. combined with halter top. Mouthful for sure, but the ideal retro-inspired piece.

My main concern making the pinup bathing suit was whether or not it would even fit! Other considerations I was worried about:

  1. Did I need to do a full bust adjustment?
  2. How much negative ease was built in?
  3. Would any of the bands look weird on my short torso?

For sewing without a muslin, the bathing suit worked out in the end. I think if I were to make this pinup  suit again, I would certainly tweak the pattern just slightly- but barely slightly- around the openings for my legs as I found them just a touch tight. The piece actually fit better than I anticipated, so no complaints overall! My upcoming YouTube video about this piece is going to go a little bit more into the nitty gritty on the process of creation- subscribe to my channel to see it as soon as its published!

Disclaimer: This post contains a couple affiliate links :) 



  1. Pam Pam

    I have a student who is wanting to use this pattern. The back of the pattern envelope only tells you how much fabric to purchase. Did you purchase the same amount of lining fabric as you did fashion/swimwear knit fabric. thanks for your help.

    • Hi Pam-

      I bought the same amount of fabric for both the bathing suit lycra as I did the lining. You can actually probably get away with 1/4y less, though, if they’re purchasing a lining without any discernible grain. The one I used was a 4-way stretch, so it wasn’t too big of a deal which directly I cut the lining out.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Squeal!!! You look incredible! These shots show your swimsuit off to perfection. I am in love with the fabric you chose!

  3. Regina Boyd Regina Boyd

    Nice job! How was the sizing? I also purchased this and am wondering which size to make? I’ve seen reviews that suggest making smaller than you normally would.

    • Thanks for your comment, Regina :)

      The sizing itself was actually really nice– I was concerned about it as well, but just went with it and hardly did any changes to the pattern like I normally would (FBA, short back length, etc. etc.) It still feels pretty snug because the pattern has negative ease built into it, plus with the halter top design, its very forgiving.

      What I did do for sure was to sew the lining pieces on the bottoms first to try those on and see if at least the briefs would fit. I actually had to taper them down at the waist just so they wouldn’t fall off! But that’s a pretty easy fix on the lining before you transfer it back to the paper pattern and then onto the nice swim fabric.

      Stay tuned for the video, though! It should be up sometime next week!

  4. Wow! The colors look great on you and so does the fit. You did a really nice job on this project, can’t wait to watch the video ;)

    • Thanks! My boyfriend/film dude (haha!) is finishing up the video now- I’m excited to see it! The swimsuit was trickier to make at the strangest parts! Didn’t expect that.

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Vintage on Tap started in 2013

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