Skill Level

Confident Beginners

Your Tutor


Dates and Times

Day – Saturday and Sunday

Date – 6h and 7th July 2024

Time – Saturday 10-6pm   Sunday 9-3 pm

Venue – St Michael’s Mount Community Centre St Michaels Road Hitchin Herts SG4

Course Description

Join Amanda Bowden Aka The Swimming Seamstress to learn the techniques of sewing with activewear fabric!

Choose to make a bespoke, one piece pull on swimming costume, a two piece costume both featuring bust darts, an internal bust support, crotch shield and scooped front and back neckline OR racer back style costume with lined front – optional internal bust support (The racer back is suitable for more advanced sewers)

Amanda will prepare a personalised pattern and instructions for each student to ensure a perfect fit which you can take away and sew as many as you like!

During this two day workshop you will be guided through the process including theory and you will produce plenty of samples to understand the specialist techniques required for making swimwear.

About The Tutor

Amanda set up Felixstowe Sewing School by the sea in Suffolk in 2013 having taught Food and Textiles Technology in Suffolk schools for about 15 years. She has written sewing tutorials for magazines, blogs, run vintage dressmaking festivals and been busy bringing up a family. In her 50th year looking for some new challenges she says

“Meeting a very experienced open water swimmer on one of my dressmaking classes led to being invited to try sea swimming. I had always enjoyed being in the water but didn’t have a competitive swimming background at all. A little intimidating but why not give it a go! I loved it and from there started challenging myself to longer swims in seas, lakes, rivers and lidos. There was a problem however, being a plus size person with a yearning for bright colours it seemed very difficult trying to find a swimming costume that fit me and reflected my personality. I also had set myself the target of swimming a 10K sea marathon on my 52nd birthday and thought I deserved a fabulous costume in which to swim my swim. The first swimming costumes started to be made, patterns became altered and techniques developed for making well fitted, fun, individual swimming costumes for myself. Folk started asking me if I would make them swimming costumes – of course!  Isn’t it funny how life can present opportunities? I answered a question posed by a lady on Facebook about repairing a much beloved swimming costume and people started asking me if I taught swimming costume making. The rest isn’t quite history as it’s still in its infancy but my, it is so exciting”

She managed to blend her love of teaching to sewing with making swimming costumes and encouraging people to take up the sport and feel fantastic whilst doing it. She says “It feels as if open water swimming is such a huge part of my life now and I have set myself some pretty mighty targets – including swimming to France from England as part of a relay team, competing in Ice Swimming Championships and finishing quite a few open water marathon events. The world of outdoor swimming has presented me with so many fresh ideas for sewing for swimming – which happens to be the name of my lovely Facebook group.

What Skills Will I Learn

  • How to sew a swimsuit using a domestic sewing machine and/or overlocker
  • Techniques for working with activewear fabrics including lycra
  • Exploring sewing techniques for swimwear
  • Working with power mesh
  • How to insert swimwear elastic
  • How to insert a foam cup
  • Fitting and finishing your swimsuit

What’s Included In The Price Of The Course

  • The course  includes 
    • Hire of spacious hall (see Venue description for more information)
    • Two full days of tuition with lead tutor plus assistant guiding you through each step of your garment construction
    • Personalised swimsuit pattern to take away including construction notes
    • Specialist haberdashery
    • Bottomless hot drinks throughout the day plus morning biscuits and afternoon cake
    • Free love and warmth of your fellow sewing buddies!
    • Inclusion in a WhatsApp group for support the duration of the course and afterward should you need us.
    • Ongoing membership of our community group – The Social Society WhatsApp group

What do I Need To Do In Advance Of The Course

  • Purchase your fabric, lining and thread (Guidance and links will be given via the pre course email and in our WhatsApp group to help you)

What Do I Need To Bring With Me To The Course

  • You will need to bring your own sewing machine and all its accessories and extension cable
  • If you have your own overlocker and are proficient using it thread it up and bring it along
  •  Your sewing machine must be fitted with a ballpoint stretch needle and threaded with recommended thread ( more details will be provided on the WhatsApp group)
  • 1 – 1.5m of fashion fabric and lining ( More details will be given on this in the precourse email)
  • You will need a full dressmaking tool kit
  • Your own packed lunch on both days
  • Mug for hot drinks

What else do I need to know?

  • You will receive a confirmation email upon booking please ensure you have given us your telephone number. You will be added to a course WhatsApp group 1 month before the start of the course so you can gather your supplies.
  • Our classes are non-refundable so please make sure you’ve checked your diary carefully before booking
  • This workshop is aimed at students who have already worked with stretch fabric and if you choose to use an overlocker you should be proficient in threading etc. If you need to brush up you overlocker skills please join our overlocking course Beginners Overlock
  • Please read our FAQs and T’s & C’s before booking.
  • Should you need to contact us before your course please email [email protected]
  • If you would like accomodation recommendations please contact us at the email address above. If you are coming by train we can organise a lift from the train station.


The course will be held at

St Michael’s Road Community Centre Hitchin SG4 0QA

The venue has a large spacious well managed space close to Hitchin train station. It has lots of free parking and excellent toilet and kitchen facilities.

1 review for Make Your Own Swimsuit
  1. Gail Gearing (verified owner)

    I have been sewing for a number of years, but hadn’t really tackled any technical fabrics, so I was excited to give this course a go. On the first day, Amanda took us through how to set the stitches on our machines, we were using three stitches to construct our garments, we then moved onto how to attach the elastic on our sample pieces, this was an eye opener, but after a couple of goes it became easier!
    We then moved onto attaching the liner to the fabric and finally cutting out our fabric. Amanda had individually drafted everyone’s patterns according to the measurements we had provided and the design we had chosen. Once we had cut out our patterns we began sewing, from this point onwards everyone worked at their own speed , with Amanda available for any queries and 1-2-1 support.
    Day 2 , we continued with sewing and everyone had a personal fitting with Amanda and adjustments made where needed. If adjustments were needed, your pattern was redrafted for future use. Although there were 3 designs, everyone looked very different in their swimwear, truly individual, and fitted each person perfectly.
    At the end of the day, I had a fantastic two piece! I just need a Spa Day to truly enjoy it!
    I really enjoyed this course, I learnt loads, it was challenging, but achievable. Support was always available and pitched at your level. from this course I feel I can now tackle other garments in technical fabrics , such as gym wear.
    Lastly, the cakes… they deserve a review of their own! utterly delicious!

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