sew a luxurious silk bathing suit cover up

This skirt is so simple! The fabric will determine how dressy or casual the look. My new bathing suit cover-up is made with a sheer silk chiffon burnout fabric.

Typically we think of silk only for luxury because it needs to be dry cleaned. Not in this case! Instead, pre-wash the fabric in cold water and dry on a light heat. This will preshrink the fabric and allow you to wash the fabric from this point on – and you won’t end up with water spots from the beach.


Machines Used:
• The Dream Machine Innov-is XV8500D
• Brother 5234PRW Serger

• Elastic – 1/2″ or wider (your choice)

• I used a sheer silk chiffon burnout fabric (see photo at right)
• Fabric sizes can have a range from 40” x 40” up to 54” x 54”
• The width of the fabric will determine the maximum length for the skirt.

Techniques Practiced:
• How to sew elastic
• Rolled hem with a serger

Lets Begin!

Step A: Measurements

1. Start by measuring your waist. Be sure to measure at the exact location of where you want the waist of the skirt to fall. This measurement will be used for the circle / waist pattern piece and the elastic.

Step B: Making the Waist Pattern

2. Start by folding a piece of pattern paper in half.

3. Fold the paper in half again from bottom to top. Your paper will be folded in quarters now.

4. Take your waist measurement from Step 1 and divide by 4. Draw a curve across the folded corner with this measurement. I am using a curved ruler to draw the curve.

Step C:Check Measurement

5. Check that the measurement of your waist is equal to the circumference of the circle. The pattern should look like a square of fabric with a circle in the middle.

Step D: Cutting the Fabric

6. Trim off the selvage edge from the fabric. This is the tightly woven edge at the edge of the fabric that keeps the fabric stable during transport and while it’s being made.

7. Fold the fabric the same way we folded the paper in parts 2 and 3 above.

8. Layout the circle/waist pattern as shown.

9. Cut the pattern out.

Step E: Elastic

Note: I am using ½” wide elastic, but use whatever width you prefer.

Elastic Measurement:

  • Start with the waist measurement taken in Step 1
  • Subtract 1” to 4” from that measurement; depending on the thickness of the elastic.

For example: subtract at least 1” for elastic that is 1” wide or greater in width. Subtract at least 2” for elastic that is ½” wide. Basically, the thinner the elastic the more you will need to subtract from the waist measurement. A good idea is to cut the elastic, wrap it around your waist area and pin in it place. Check that the elastic does not feel too snug or too loose and keep in mind the elastic has to keep up your skirt!

10. Wrap the elastic into the circle, matching up the marks for the waistline. Stitch back and forth with a zigzag stitch. I am using a contrasting thread so you can see the stitches, but you should use matching thread.

Tip: Use the Brother Sew Straight™ Laser Vision Guide to line up the stitch with the edge of the elastic!

Step F: Attaching the Elastic

11. Fold the elastic in half and mark the center front (opposite of the stitches) and sides

12. Mark the waistline on the skirt: center front, center back, and both sides

13. Line up the markings on the elastic with the coordinating markings on the fabric.

14. Place a pin at each marking, lining up the elastic about ½” in from the edge of the fabric.

15. Change to a zigzag stitch: starting at one of the pins, start stitching along the edge of the elastic. Notice the fabric is wider than the elastic.

16. Stretch the elastic to match up to the fabric.

17. Stitch all the way around the elastic.

18. Fold the ½” edge of the fabric over the elastic. Then fold the elastic over toward the wrong side of the fabric, encasing the raw edge of the fabric.

19. Stitch along the edge of the elastic.

Step G: Hemming

Decide if you want the points on the hem or if you rather have more of a circle skirt.

Cutting off the points:

20. Layout the fabric with one of the hem points flat.

21. Trim off the point, creating a curved edge.

22. Use the quarter of the fabric with the point cut off as your pattern to trim the other three points.

If your fabric doesn’t fray you can leave the hem raw. It’s a trendy look and that also means you are finished. This silk fabric is a fraying mess, so I am going to do a rolled hem with the Brother 5234PRW serger (another option is to do a rolled hem on the sewing machine.)

That’s it and off to the beach we go! Be sure to share photos of your skirts with us on social media by tagging us at #BrotherSews and #StitchingSewcial on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.