Little European Swim Trunks

european swim trunks I’ve been watching (what seems like) every sewist I know tackle swimsuits this season with admiration and apprehension.  As much as I wish to make my own swimsuit, it just seems like an overwhelming task (although Ginger Makes and her last project has me feeling less afraid).  Trying to sew swimsuits for my girls seems doable–less fit issues for little girls than for a 35 year old woman–but when I can find cute little suits for $15, it seems hardly worth the effort.  Then it hits me. I am in love with European inspired swim trunks for little boys and they are nearly impossible to find in the stores. With my project decided, I head off to Mood Fabrics in Los Angeles to pick out some 4-way stretch swimsuit fabric, swimsuit lining and an eyelet plier kit to make my drawstrings look extra professional (with all their great fabric drawing my attention, I don’t think I ever noticed how many sewing accessories and supplies they carry at their store).

mood swimsuit fabric

The nice people at Mood Fabrics help me immediately find this comical, boy-friendly swim fabric (complete with aliens, astronauts, teddy bears, frogs, rockets and “shoot guns”).  I decide it would be perfect for the test sample made from my homemade little European swim trunk pattern (inspired by a pair of swim trunks from H&M).  Turns out the boys love the test sample way better than the final project.

european swim trunks

After some wear testing in the neighborhood sprinklers, I grade the pattern (in a totally non-professional, make-it-work kind of way) to fit my 5-year-old and added some new style lines just for kicks.

sew european swim trunks

The second swimwear fabric I pick out at Mood Fabrics  isn’t exactly swimwear fabric. It has 4-way stretch but it is a rayon-spandex blend.  Even though I have no idea how it will hold up in water, I purchase a yard because I love the yarn-dyed pattern too much to not give it a fighting chance.

With a control piece cut, I throw the fabric in the wash to see what happens.  Nothing.  It handles the wash water perfectly.  Even with chlorinated water still untested, the standard wash test results are good enough for me to move forward, cutting and sewing two matching little European swim trunks.

european swim trunks

After wear testing the suits just a few miles away from the Mood Fabrics LA store (hello Manhattan Beach!), they held up great against a hard day of play.  Now we just need to work on new tan lines to match the new suits.



  • Sarah Gunn
    July 29, 2013

    Your boys are certainly hip in their new Euro swim trunks! Great fit and fabric placement!

  • Lori
    July 29, 2013

    Those are darling swimsuits, great job. Your boys look quite handsome in their European look.

  • Peter
    July 29, 2013

    Adorable and chic. Well done!

  • Carolyn
    July 29, 2013

    So cute! Love both the trial and actual pairs of swim trunks!

  • Vicki Kate
    July 29, 2013

    Adorable! If you ever decide to sell that pattern I’d be there like a shot as my boy is so skinny it’s very difficult to find swim shorts that fit!

  • Amanda S.
    July 29, 2013

    These are super cute! They remind me of boys’ jammers used on swimteams, only shorter.

  • Lauren
    July 29, 2013

    Omg these are so cute!!

  • Ginger
    July 29, 2013

    CRAZY CUTE (and the trunks are cute, too, LOL)! Seriously love these!

  • Amy
    July 29, 2013

    Super cute! That alien fabric is amazing! This post also makes me miss LA! It’s been too long since I’ve lived close enough to go to Manhattan Beach. Enjoy the sun!

  • Patrice
    July 30, 2013

    Really cute on little boys; on an adult man the speedo look isn’t good. IMHO.

  • Rachel In Red
    August 3, 2013

    I love these swimtrunks. Very stylish. I just found out about a new Belgian pattern company for boys clothes. They have an adorable pattern for shorts wich can also be made as trunks. Its called Too bad I only have girls!

  • ohjennymae
    August 4, 2013

    i would love it if finney would wear these. they are so adorable and i bet more comfortable than trunks. when i was a lifeguard i had to do some drills in shorts and it’s really uncomfortable!