Tutorial: Make a Ruffle Swimsuit Cover

make your own ruffle swimsuit cover diy free dress pattern for girls
I hope y’all are having a GREAT summer! My fam and I are having a wonderfully laid-back summer!
Lots of lazy days in the backyard, eating ice cream for lunch and soaking up the sunshine in our pool.
Most days, my girls are in their swimsuits from sun-up to sun-down; just the way summer should be! ;)

In the spirit of deliciously-laid-back summers, I’ve created this tutorial for making an easy, breezy, swimsuit cover!
ruffle swimsuit beach cover tutorial diy free dress pattern 2

Made from light-weight, pre-ruffled fabric – with a stretchy, knit bodice -  these sweet cover-ups are quick to sew. Seriously! No hemming, no buttons, no zippers – just straight lines and a little gathering! ;)

Want to make one for your favorite little lady?
Here’s the scoop!

:: Materials ::
Pre-ruffled fabric (for the main-cover piece)
Knit fabric  (for the bodice and straps)
Sewing machine and basic sewing notions

Pre-ruffled fabric is available at many fabric stores, but the most *amazing* selection can be found at rufflefabric.com

In this tutorial, there are no pattern pieces! Yay! I will show you how to make a cover based on your child’s measurements; so your little gal’s custom swimsuit cover dress will fit her perfectly!

:: Taking Measurements ::
  1. Have your little one stretch her arms straight out and measure around your child's chest
    (This is measurement A) 
  2. Next, with her arms straight down by her sides, measure from the point where where you would like the bodice to start on the front, over the shoulder to the same point on her back (This is measurement B) 
  3. Finally, with your little lady standing tall, measure from mid-chest down to where you want her cover to end. For my girls, this was about an inch above their knees, but you may prefer a longer/shorter cover.
    (This is measurement C) 
:: Creating your perfectly sized, custom pieces ::
For the Bodice-Measurement A + 1 inch.
Divided by 2.
Plus .5 in for seam allowance.
(The height of the bodice will be 3 inches)

For the Main Cover-Measurement A multiplied by 1.5
Plus .5 in for seam allowance.
= the width of the main cover
(The length of the main cover is determined by adding .5 inches to Measurement C)

For the Straps-Measurement B + .5 in = the length of each strap.
(The width of the straps needs to be cut to be 3 inches to create straps that are 1.25 in wide)

:: Cutting your fabric ::You will need to cut 4 bodice pieces and 2 straps from the knit fabric, and 1 main dress piece from the ruffle fabric.

:: Sewing your ruffle swimsuit cover ::  Please sew with a 1/4 in seam allowance.

(The Bodice) Take two bodice pieces and with right sides together, sew down the short edges to create a tube.
Repeat with the remaining two bodice pieces that you have cut out. You will now have two identical “tubes” of fabric.
diy ruffle beach swim cover tutorial by daydream believers 9

(The Straps) Fold each of the strap pieces, right sides together, lengthwise. Sew down the long edge of each strap, creating two, long tubes. Turn each strap-tube right side out and press so the seam runs straight down the middle of the underside of each strap. Using a small, straight stitch – Topstitch along the edges of each strap.

diy ruffle beach swim cover tutorial by daydream believers 10

(Attaching your straps to the bodice) Start with one bodice piece, turned right side out. Find the center of your bodice and measure out 2 inches from the center on each side *these are the spots where you will attach your straps. Pin each strap to the bodice so that the bodice and straps are “right sides facing”  (strap seam facing up)

diy ruffle beach swim cover tutorial by daydream believers 11

Fold each strap under to the back of the bodice and pin to the same points as the front (2 inches from the center)

diy ruffle beach swim cover tutorial by daydream believers 12

Then, take your other bodice piece and slip it over the bodice/strap combo. Be sure to match the edges and line up your seams. Carefully, sew all the way around the bodice on the side where your straps are pinned. Leave the other side open. Turn the bodice right side out, press and topstitch along the top edge. Yay! Your bodice is complete! 

diy ruffle beach swim cover tutorial by daydream believers 13

(Sewing the Main Cover) Fold your main-cover-piece in half, width wise, right sides together (i.e.: ruffle sides touching) and pin all the way down the edge. You will want to try to make sure the ruffles are laying flat as you pin. Using a zig-zag stich, sew down the edge to create a tube. 

Once sewn, turn your cover piece right-side-out and sew a row of gathering stiches 1/4 inch from the top edge of the piece (this will allow you to gather the cover so it fits perfectly!)
*Not sure how to sew a gathering stitch? No problem! Check out THIS easy tutorial

(Attaching the Main Piece to the Bodice) The LAST Step – Yay!Starting with your bodice piece turned right side out, find the back center of your bodice and mark with a pin. Then, turn your main-cover piece so that it is right-side-in (i.e.: ruffle side in) and slip your main-cover piece over your bodice piece so that the seam in your cover piece lines up with the back center point of your bodice.

diy ruffle beach swim cover tutorial by daydream believers 5

Gently gather your main-cover piece so that the edge matches up with the edge of your bodice, secure with pins, then sew using a stretchy zig-zag stitch. Flip the cover-piece right side out and Ta Da!  you’re done! Yay! 

Your little beach babe will LOVE her custom, hand crafted swim suit cover! 
Grab the sunscreen and head to the pool; you deserve it! ;)

I LOVE to see what you create! If you make a ruffle swimsuit cover using this tutorial, PLEASE share some pics! Add #daydreambelieversdesigns to your instagram pictures or you can tag me on IG @daydreambelieversdesigns - so we can all check out the loveliness you create!

This tutorial is for personal use only. Please do not sell pieces created with this tutorial for profit.
Please DO use this tutorial and make rad ruffle swimsuit covers for all your favorite queen bees! xx


  1. This is AWESOME! Stopping by from the All Things Summer link party! Would love to have you also link this up at the Ladies Only Blog Share link party! Our theme this week is Red, White & BBQ. :)


  2. Came over from Blissful and Domestic. Great pattern. Love rufflefabric.com! I have two kinds, but scared to sew with them because I'll screw it up! I've at least been able to cut them into the pattern I want. I'm a beginner when it comes to sewing!


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