First, let’s get something clear.
You deserve to feel comfortable and fabulous in a swimsuit. Period.
Swimsuit shopping isn’t all cute 90’s movie montages and ‘OMG!’ moments, especially if you aren’t a straight sized person.*
Regardless of size, we’ve all been in the dressing room struggling with ANOTHER swimsuit only to find out halfway up our thighs that it’s too short/tight/etc.
OR you finally find something that fits, and the print or color is just...meh...
I started making my own swimwear for this reason!
"Not only do I want a suit that actually FITS MY BODY (and stays on when I splish or splash), I wanna feel EXCITED about wearing a suit. I wanna feel like a fabulous model from a vintage magazine or a groovy mermaid lounging on a beach. I just wasn’t finding that feeling at any department stores." ~ Sierah
I made my own and wanted to share the joy of a really good swimsuit with others.
I want to help people feel good with swimsuits on their bodies, and this mission grew into to my brand, sierah SEW fresh and #sewfreshswim
We already have so much anxiety and complex feelings about our bodies, we shouldn’t have to deal with trauma and body shame every time the sun comes out to kiss our skin!
"EVERYONE, regardless of size, physical ability, skin color or gender identity deserves to feel comfortable and fabulous in a swimsuit." ~ sierah SEW fresh
Which is why I put together my top 5 reasons to buy handmade swimwear!
But first, what do we mean by HANDMADE?
I define handmade as anything made by hand or otherwise created/assembled by a person.
Some people are strict about the 'made by hand' part, but people who make things with sewing machines or laser engravers are still 'handmade' shops in my opinion.
SEW, for the purpose of this blog, we will define a handmade swimwear shop as an individual maker or collection of makers creating small batch swimsuits without mass production. Now let's get to the good part!
5 Reasons to Buy Handmade Swimwear
1. Better Fit/Custom Options
Handmade swimsuits have a better fit than most mass produced swimwear.
Because it’s usually one person sewing your suit, they’re paying close attention to detail, checking quality as they go and probably spent years perfecting their design.
Small swimsuit makers often have custom sizing options as well, which is great if you struggle with finding the perfect fit.
(Anyone else remember when stores started selling swimsuit separates? A literal godsend for folks with different size tops and bottoms, which is, like, most humans.)
Although some shops are biased towards smaller/straight sizes, there are more makers specializing in plus size swimwear coming up every day, and makers like @leila_sews offer patterns so you can create the suit of your dreams if you’re a DIY queen like me!
2. One of a Kind Designs
When you buy a handmade suit, you are guaranteed a One of a Kind look.
There are so many incredible swimsuit makers out there, each with a unique style.
Whether you’re into functional sporty suits, high fashion statement pieces, funky retro suits or summer goth loungewear, there is a shop out there making exactly what you want.
Handmade shops are a great source for gender neutral or gender affirming swimsuit styles.
Again, handmade custom swimsuits are an incredible investment for this reason as well. Or you can order custom coordinated/matching suits for you and your besties, babies, pets or partners. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE, Y'ALL!
My favorite place to find small makers is Etsy, Instagram and Pinterest.
Some of my fav swimsuit makers right now in no particular order:
3. Sustainable Materials
Small shops care about the materials they use.
Many small swimwear brands either make their suits from sustainable materials (i.e. recycled plastics, organic materials, etc), implement conscious practices into their business and/or donate to a cause related to the garment industry.
For example, sierah SEW fresh suits are made with salvaged materials such as vintage and deadstock fabric, thrifted sewing materials like elastic and zippers, and upcycled materials like old prom dresses or sports uniforms!
4. Support Local
Shopping handmade directly supports local economies.
When you buy from a handmade shop, you are literally putting food on someone’s table and helping their dream become a reality.
Many handmade shops are BIPOC, woman or LGBTQ+ owned, and by supporting them you are helping build community, security and opportunities for future generations with your purchase.
Handmade shops tend to invest in other small shops.
As they grow, smaller shops will choose to hire and source locally, boosting their local economy even more.
***For clarity, this is written from an American’s perspective, but is in no way meant to discourage you from shopping handmade globally.
If you buy from a handmade shop in Bangladesh, you are still supporting a small local maker.
Only supporting ‘American Made’ is deeply problematic and rooted in xenophobia.
There are incredible handmade shops all over the world, and you should support whichever shop best fits your needs, regardless of geographic location.***
5. Good Vibes
Handmade swimwear just FEELS different. For one, it’s made with love.
And excitement, and maybe a little misplaced perfectionism lol.
Something about getting to chat directly with the maker about fit concerns and building a relationship with the person who makes your garment is so validating.
Also, there's no other feeling like putting on a suit that fits like a dream and makes you feel like a badass.
And I want that for you, because you deserve it.
Shopping for a swimsuit can be incredibly vulnerable and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be!
Handmade swimwear puts the excitement back into swimsuit shopping. Not only can you expect incredible quality, a great fit and a one of a kind design, you also get to support a small business in the process.
Comment below with your favorite handmade swimsuit brands!
Let's help out small shops and help each other find the swimsuit of our dreams. ;)
Till next time lovelies!
SALE ALERT: I'm having a swimsuit clearance sale on my Instagram stories this Sunday, May 16th at 6pm PDT with one-piece and two-piece suits size 3X-XS priced $5-30!
Join the newsletter for a sneak peek of available sizes and styles.
*Straight size refers to ‘industry standard’ sizes, i.e sizes deemed ‘normal’ by the fashion industry and what most garments are available in. Straight size can also mean anything other than Plus Size. That’s a whole blog for another day!