Jun 12, 2014

Free Pattern: Little Swimmer Bathing Cap

What are the pool rules where you live? Do you (or your kids) have to wear a swimcap in the water? My daughter recently started swimming lessons at a nearby private pool (located in an apartment building in the Northwest Bronx) and everyone who enters the water must be wearing a swimcap.

It's kind of a pain though it makes sense; do you want to swim around with your neighbors' stray hairs? (Or see the pool shuttered when they have to clean the filter — again?).

But the spandex cap we bought her was too big, and the rubbery ones pulled at her hair. So what does a lady with some extra spandex and little pattern paper do? I drafted my own. And because it is so simple, I am sharing it here for free.  After the jump:

I've written here before about the folly of sewing for small children, who often are not as appreciative of your efforts as you might hope.

But this swimsuit and bathing cap set I made last week truly did wow my nearly six-year-old. This face says, "Nailed it."

For one, she looks adorable. But two, the cap fits her head snugly without pinching and pulling. It's made from the same spandex I used for the suit, with a piece of swimsuit elastic for the band. And three, it sews up so quickly.

Wait till she sees the Wonder Woman suit I have planned for her birthday present:

First, the pattern. You can download it here: The size should fit most kids. You will adjust the length of elastic to fit your kid's head):

Next, a quick tutorial. You can sew this cap on a regular home sewing machine using a zigzag stitch as you would to sew any stretch fabric. Or you can use a serger for the seams and a twin needle to finish (that's what I did).


-couple scraps of spandex swimsuit fabric
-about 24 inches swimsuit elastic

The pattern has just two pieces: the side and the middle. You will cut two side pieces and a single middle (on the fold). You can see it doesn't take much fabric:

The first step after cutting is to pin the side pieces to the middle along the long edges.

Stitch seams using a serger or the zig zag stitch on your regular sewing machine.

Next, measure the child's head and cut your elastic to fit, giving yourself an extra inch for overlapping and sewing shut (use the zig-zag stitch again):

Pin your elastic to the edge of the cap, stretching to fit as you go. Make sure to pin to the wrong side of the fabric:

Stitch it down, taking care to stretch to fit. This time definitely use a zig-zag stitch:

Fold the bottom edge over one more time and zig-zag or use a twin needle to top stitch it down.

Hurray, you're done! Do some air punches to celebrate!

This was my first crack at converting a self-drafted pattern to Illustrator. Learning a new computer program on your own time (and with no help!) is no walk in the park (or swim in the pool). So do me a favor and post me a pic if you make a Little Swimmer Bathing Cap. @ me at sewyorkcity on Instagram or Twitter. I would love to see it!


  1. You have to wear a cap because lice can survive in chlorine-water

  2. Oh my gosh, that is so adorable. I bought my daughter a swim suit the other day (her first!) and they were selling a matching swim cap that I almost bought. Not that she really needs one since she's just going to float around. But it was cute.

    The comment above about lice, though-- yuck.

    1. That comment makes me want to wear a swim cap ALL THE TIME.

  3. She is so pumped!! WIN for you and her! Nicely done.

  4. Oooh, pinning! Our local Y requires swim caps and my daughter hates the rubbery ones we got at the store.

    1. I think we go to the same Y for piano... :)

  5. She looks ADORABLE! And as someone who had a summer job at a water park and had to clean out pool filters, I wish everyone was required to swim in hazmat suits!

  6. hi thank you for your pattern. I'm A french mum. and i sew with lot of joy this cap.

  7. Wow thank you for the inspiration. My baby can't fit any commercial caps so I sourced some fabrics and tried this and it turned out great!

  8. Thank you!! I need to make a Captain America outfit for a teenage boy and I will blow up this pattern to make that unique CA helmet.

  9. Made one and love it for my 6 year old. Thank you for the tutorial and pattern!



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