Hello guys! Today I will be teaching you how to make a braided bandeau bikini top from an old T-shirt. If you follow me on Twitter or on Instagram (my username is charleneajose. Follow me!) you would have probably seen my tweets and photos (this and this) of the DIY bikini top I made yesterday. I made another one today, primarily because I wanted to do a tutorial, but also because I wanted to document the process for this is my first time (or rather, second time if you want to specific) to make a bikini out of a T-shirt! So anyway, I won’t blabber on much longer. Keep on scrolling to know how to make your very own braided bandeau bikini top! :)
Disclaimer: Charlene Ajose is not a professional seamstress (and will never claim to be) and this tutorial only contains her personal views on how things should be done (which means you don’t really have to do what she tells you to do) This tutorial will also reflect her resourcefulness (hairpins replace straight pins. OMG!) and prove that she is an arts and crafts enthusiast, DIY lover and just an overall creative girl. She is very sorry for her lack of proper equipment! :D
Difficulty Level: 3 out of 5
Skills needed: Basic sewing
1. A T-shirt (preferably a stretchy one) you really don’t care much for anymore (or any piece of fabric that you fancy. Just make sure it’s big enough)
2. Fabric scissors (I don’t have one so I just used regular scissors. Haha. Just make sure they’re sharp!)
3. A needle and thread.
4. Yarn (or some other heavy duty thread)
5. Ring binders (you can also use shower curtain rings, keychain rings, etc.)
6. Pads (I took these from an old bra haha!)
7. Measuring tape
9. A flat surface where you can work on
10. Pen and paper.
11. Trash bin (Clean as you go!)
1. Cut out a length of yarn. I used black because the fabric I used is black. You can use any color you like. Then, take your ring binder and tie a tight knot. Tie around one more time and make sure it’s secure. Leave a small allowance in case your yarn unravels.
I actually used a keychain ring in the end product but I used a ring binder in the photo so that you can see it better.
2. Wrap your yarn around the ring. Make sure you wrap it tight and secure. Tie a knot twice after you’re done. Again, leave a small allowance in case your knot unravels.
You will end up with something like this. Keep this aside.
3. Measure the length above and below your chest area. Write the measurements down on your paper. Next, grab your T-shirt. Lay it down flat. Get your ruler and refer to the measurements you took earlier. Mark your shirt and cut out two same sized rectangles. Don’t throw away the shirt yet!
4. Turn the rectangles over and cut away the ends (where the seams are)
You will now end up with four rectangles. Set these aside.
5. Take the remains of the T-shirt and cut away three strips of fabric. This will form the braided neck strap. I know there’s nothing much left, but don’t throw away the shirt yet!
Again, cut away the seams, but this time on one end only. The other end just cut away as much of the seam as possible without separating the two pieces of fabric. You will now end up with three long pieces.
6. Place the measuring tape around your neck and end it where you want the neck strap to meet the bikini. Add 2 inches to this and write it down. Now, take a paperclip, hairclip, a clipboard or anything that can hold the three long pieces of fabric. Fold them in half lengthwise (right side up) so that when you braid, only the right side will be seen. Start braiding until you’ve reached your desired length. After you’ve finished, stitch both ends. Set this aside.
7. Take the remains of the shirt and turn it over. Place your pads on top and make a little square. Cut the squares out and set them aside. These would serve as your pad pockets (so you can remove the pads anytime you wish)
8. Now comes the tricky part. Take the yarn wrapped ring (from Step 2) Take two of the four rectangles (from Step 4) Make sure the right side is facing you. Take one of the rectangles and scrunch one end up. Then insert this scrunched up part inside the ring, pull it from the other side and fasten it with a pin. Do the same on the other side.
9. This is what it’s supposed to look like from behind. Next, take your needle and thread and start sewing around the ring. Be careful not to sew the fabric onto the ring so you can still move it around. Do the same on the other side then remove the pins. Cut away the excess fabric (be careful not to cut your stitches though!)
10. Now take one of the squares from Step 7. Make sure the right side of the bikini is facing you. We will start on one side. Place one of the squares on top. Pattern the square on the bikini and cut away the excess (but leave at least half an inch allowance) Make sure the wrong end of the square is facing up. Stitch around the horizontal sides. Do not stitch the vertical sides. This is where you will insert the pads.
11. Turn it over by placing your hand inside one of the vertical holes and pull. Place the pad inside and check the fit. Remove the pad then do the same on the other side.
12. Take the remaining two rectangles from Step 4. Cut three strips each. Braid them the same way as you did in Step 6. This will be the braided back straps.
13. Take one end of the bikini, measure one inch from the end of the pad pockets and cut the rest away. From the fabric you cut, take one rectangular strip. Set this aside. Take one of your finished braided back straps from Step 12 and place it in the middle. Fold over the edges of the 1 inch space from the pad pockets (sandwiching the braided back strap inside) and sew it in place.
14. Now take the rectangular strip you just cut and wrap it around the braided back strap under the 1 inch space from the pad pockets. Make sure you sew this part really well. You do not want the strap suddenly getting detached now, would you?
Do the same on the other side. And we’re done! Try on your finished bikini and congratulate yourself for a job well done. And oh, don’t forget to clean up afterwards! :D
What the back braids look like
I had fun making this project and I hope you had fun as well! Please do show me yours by tweeting to @charleneajose or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to see what you made! :D
I hope you will all have a great summer. Thank you so much for reading and have a good night!