The Great Cover-Up

May 25, 2011

It’s warm outside! I’m so ready for the hot, hot heat and the days of blistering sunshine. I LOVE summer and if there’s one thing I want to pass along to my girls, it’s the love of all things summer. Many afternoons in my life have been spent in a bathing suit, lounging in the sand or splashing in the pool.

So when I got a request for a swimsuit cover-up, I was thrilled. What a great idea, right? She didn’t have any parameters for what it looked like and I had a very specific idea in mind. Thanks to my friends having terrific imaginations (and faith in me) she waited patiently while I turned this rough idea (I’m NO artist!):

into this gorgeous swimsuit cover-up!


Isn’t it just precious?!




It was incredibly easy to make!

Materials (this is for a 3T/4T size, but can be worn a little longer):
1 yard terry fabric
1 spool 1.5″ ribbon
20″ of 1″ elastic
3.5″ velcro
fabric scraps
coordinating thread

First, take the terry cloth and cut it in half width-wise, making it 23″ by 36″.

Square up the sides, but don’t cut the bottom where the fabric is finished. This will be the bottom of your cover-up.

Serge around the 3 unfinished sides. If you don’t have a serger and don’t want to zigzag to finished the edges, skip this step.

Starting on the sides, fold over 1/2″ and pin. Sew using matching thread. (if you skipped the serging step, fold over twice to enclose your raw edge)

Then fold the top edge down 3″ and sew along the edge. (if you skipped the serging step, fold under 1/4″ and sew, then fold down 3″).

Then come up 1 1/8″ from the seam you just made and sew another one, creating a casing for your elastic.

Pin and sew the ribbon down, making sure to sew on either side of the casing you just made.

Make sure to leave at least 1 inch extra on both sides.

Then take your 20″ of elastic and thread it through the casing, leaving a little sticking out on each side.

Sew 1/4″ from the edge of the cover-up to secure the elastic in place.

I used matching thread in my bobbin so the seam didn’t stick out so much.

Then cut the elastic off even with the edge,

fold the ribbon over twice,

and sew in place.

This is what your cover-up will look like so far.


Then make your straps. I cut 2 pieces of fabric 3.5″ wide by 10″ long.

Fold each end up .5″ and iron.

Fold right sides together and sew down the length of the strap.

Use a safety pin to turn the straps right side out and iron flat, with the seam at the side.

To determine where to place your straps, it’s easiest to use the person you’re making the cover-up for. I used Sofie to get them approximate, then evened them out. If you don’t have someone to try it on, you’ll have to make a judgement call. Start by deciding how far you want the front piece to overlap and mark it with a pin. Then come in equal amounts from each side and place the straps. It was about 2″ for me, leaving approximately 4.5″ between the straps.

Open the cover-up up and pin the straps in place about 1/2″ down. Sew them down, using thread the color of your cover up, 1/4″ from the top edge.

Then sew an applique or other decoration to the bottom. For information on how I do applique, please visit my tutorial.


To finish the cover-up, cut a piece of velcro 3.5″ long.

Sew the rough half of the velcro on top of the ribbon on the part of the cover-up that’s inside. I sew around it several times to make sure it’s on good.

Then sew the soft side inside the outer flap of the cover-up. That way when they’re taking it off, if the velcro hits precious skin, it won’t scratch it.

Again I used matching thread in my bobbin to help the seam blend in.

But since we want it to be pretty, a big bow would hide that velcro part perfectly! So tie a bow from the ribbon,


place it on top of the cover-up and cut the ends to the desired length,


and hand sew it in place!

Ta Da! Perfection.


48 Responses to “The Great Cover-Up”

  1. Dani said:

    Oh, I think I want to make one for little K. Heck for that matter I want one too. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Mandy said:

    Melissa, I’m so thrilled with this! Avery is going to love it, and it’ll be perfect for her birthday pool party. I’m going to surprise her with it as part of her birthday setup that day. Yay!

  3. Meara said:

    I love this!! I made something sort of similar for my bridesmaids at my wedding two years ago-and now I wish I could go back in time and remake the wraps I did then just like this!!! Beautiful work; I will definitely have to update my summer wardrobe with one. Now to decide which fabric for the accents…


  4. Julianna said:

    Great idea!! Tried to open the link to the applique tutorial, but I was unable to open it… :/.

  5. Havludan plaj elbisesi « Müzik Cafe said:

    […] elinizde  havlu çocuğunuzun peşinde koşmayacaksınız nasıl yapıldığı ise adım adım burada.. Cevabı iptal etmek için […]

  6. Jen said:

    I saw your tut a couple days ago, and then went to the pool today and thought I really do need one of these for my girls! It’s so cute!! So, off to the craft store for the terry cloth.

  7. Lanie said:

    Beautiful and fun!

    I shared a link to this on my Inspiration Friday post…

  8. Jaime said:

    Great tutorial! Made one to day for a gift added a beach barbie, pool toys and put it in a pail so perfect!!!

  9. 101 Sewing Tutorials for Summer! said:

    […] Swimsuit Cover Up – Sew Like My Mom […]

  10. Sewzanne said:

    Super CUTE. Thanks for the tutorial I linked to it on my FB page..

  11. » Blog Archive » Pool playtime - Home of Jen, Chad, Molly, and Leah Sellers said:

    […] trip to the pool, I decided that the girls needed some cover-ups. So, I made them these matching terry cloth cover-ups. They have been perfect for keeping them warm and dry while eating our picnic […]

  12. Personalizing a Wrap | The Inspired Housewife said:

    […] Source […]

  13. Danielle Kraehling said:

    Made one for my little Lucy same day I saw this, she loves it! I had a hard time trying to sew velcro on the thick layers, so I did a button with loop elastic for the closure. I wish I could post pictures!

  14. Allison Radtke said:

    Made one today using an old towel and some ribbon. Little Sarah loved it. This one turned out great but I am going to make another one with some terry cloth. Thanks for the excellent tutorial! I love your site:)

  15. Lana said:

    Love the coverup. I would like one for when I get out of the shower. Maybe my nieces would like one.

  16. Donna said:

    I make these in class with my students. (Family and Consumer Science aka home ec class) I LOVE the idea of the ribbon making the casing. This is so much easier than what we had been doing. One question….where on earth did you find cute ribbon that matched your fabric like that?

  17. Donna said:

    Also…are you on Pinterest? I’d love to ‘follow’ you there!

  18. Melissa said:

    Donna, I am on Pinterest! I’m under SewLike MyMom (I think!)

    The ribbon and fabric came from Hobby Lobby. They’ve got lots of matching choices!

  19. Lindsey said:

    I made some like this a while back and my niece and daughter are starting to outgrow them. Do you have any tips on making them a little more “one size fits all” instead of being so custom. Or how to make them to where one might fit 2T to 5T and one would fit girls 6 to 8 so that I can make them a few for bath times and they will last them longer

  20. Hailey said:

    Is there an advantage to using terry cloth over a towel?

  21. Jessa Helm said:

    Do you make these to sell? I’m looking for 2 for my twin girls for our summer vacation. They will be 12 months. My email is

  22. Gina said:

    Wondering what the font is that you used for the “A”? I love it!

  23. bella orellana said:

    muy bien explicado la felicito los coordinadores de esta pagina se la voy hacer a mis nietas y la consegui despues de tantas horas por la web gracias por compartir sus conocimientos con nosotros bella orellana dios le siga iluminando

  24. Sleeveless Pool Wrap « a2202 said:

    […] I saw the tutorial for the pool wrap on the Sew Like My Mom blog, I knew it was something I wanted to try.  The […]

  25. Tate said:

    Hi!!! I made this bath wrap for my nieces for Christmas (age 4 and 5)…they LOVED them!!!! One literally stripped in the middle of opening presents and wore it for the rest of the night! I made one with an actual towel and one with terry material…the terry was much easier to use, although the towel was a little cozier. I also didn’t put straps on them…due to time mgmt that I am so great at! The girls loved them though…thanks so much for posting!

  26. tonya said:

    can you use a towel instead of terry cloth,it is hard to find at most fabric stores?

  27. Camille said:

    What does it mean to square up the sides? Please help.

  28. Amy said:

    HI, LOVE THIS IDEA!!! I’m making these for my daughter’s birthday party as her gifts for her friends 😉 I’m just wondering where you find your fonts? I love the “A” in the picture and would like to use it if you’re willing to share the info. Thanks 😉

  29. 101 Tutoriale de creatii vestimentare « ilikehandmade said:

    […] Swimsuit Cover Up – Sew Like My Mom […]

  30. Havludan plaj elbisesi | Anne Kaz said:

    […] Cırt cırtlı ve askılı olduğu için elinizde  havlu çocuğunuzun peşinde koşmayacaksınız nasıl yapıldığı ise adım adım burada.. […]

  31. mel said:

    would love to make one for myself and a friend, what would i need for bigger sizes?

  32. Christine c said:

    Hi! This was super easy to make. I made one 2 for 20.00! Using coupons at the fabric store. At some stores they sell for over 20.00 for a yound girl for just one. It took about 1 1/2 hour of my time each. They can use at the pool or after a shower when the summer season passes. Thanks for laying it out for the eyes to see. I imagine things but I need to see them in steps.

  33. I’m Going to Make This « I Am Me said:

    […] Swim Suit Cover Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  34. Kris said:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I just made one and it was SO easy! I used and old towel, that was in good shape, and cut it up. Used the ends for the straps and scrap fabric for the ribbon accent! It is such a cute wrap for when my daughter gets out of the shower! And it cost me $0! 🙂 Perfect! Thanks again!!!

  35. Ann said:

    I started this today during nap time and I am almost done. Just need my model to help with the strap placement.

    Just one question. Do you have a tutorial on how you make your bows? I can’t seem to make one that looks nearly as nice as yours. Any help would be appreciated.


  36. Carly said:

    How would you alter the measurements to make this for adults?

  37. Renee said:

    I would also love to know what measurements you would use to make it for adults. What a great Christmas present for multiple people! 🙂 Your pattern is adorable!

  38. Jô de Oliveira said:

    Muito lindo , obrigada por compartilhar

  39. carla said:

    fabulous tutorial! an alternative to having specific length shoulder straps is to do individual longer straps that attach at the front and back and tie up on the shoulder. this way the recipient can adjust the length of the straps to fit her perfectly!

  40. Natalie said:

    I’d also love to know which font you used for your applique! I’m making these as take home gifts for my daughter’s birthday party and I can’t seem to find a font that I like as much as the one you used!

    I also have a broken right hand in a cast, so wish me luck! 🙂

  41. Melissa said:

    I believe this is Pharmacy. Downloaded from I get almost all of my downloaded fonts from their site, so it’s safe to use!

  42. Pat said:

    I love the pattern. Made one out of towel. was hard to sew threw end and velcro. I used fabric for ribbon and straps.

  43. Piper said:

    Love this! Making them for my daughters college roommates and her best friend! Great instructions. Thanks!!

  44. Mary Adrian said:

    Great pattern

  45. Pat said:

    I have made 2 of these out of bath towel. Are cheaper and much heavier.

  46. 25 Things to Sew for Summer - Crazy Little Projects said:

    […]  Swim Suit Coverup: […]

  47. Emily said:

    This truely is a great cover-up! Couldn’t up load a pic but this is a link to the one I made
    Thanks for shareing your idea!!

  48. “Sometimes You Gotta Do Things Yourself” – Just Cassy's Blog said:

    […] your favorite piece of material, whatever color you wanted and made to fit just you! You can buy a pattern and tweak it to personalize it or you can make your own pattern from […]

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