Article image

by Kelly O’Mara

January 11, 2020

Use a swimsuit repair patch to fix a torn suit

You’ve just torn your swimsuit, now what?

Hopefully, the tear didn’t happen in an unfortunate spot just at the moment you dived into the pool—like it did for one Olympic medalist. If your suit catches and tears outside the pool or if it tears in a spot that isn’t on a seam, then you might be able to fix it with a homemade swimsuit repair.

How to Do Swimsuit Repair

Lycra and spandex material is nearly impossible to sew without causing more tearing and fraying. There are a few other options, but you also might find repairing the swimsuit is simply more work than just replacing it. It gets even more complicated if you want to wear a repaired suit in competition. The rules require that swimsuits conform to FINA specifications, so a repair cannot alter the fundamental construction of the suit. Sewing a new seam or adding a zipper or other type of fastener would not be permitted in competition. That’s why another option is just to use the torn suit for workouts. But should you decide to try and repair it, here are a few options.

  • Sew a swimsuit repair patch—Because swimsuit fabric can be hard to sew directly, one option is to put a patch over the tear and then darn the patch to the suit. (Darning just means sewing back and forth along the edges.) If you have an old swimsuit, then cutting a piece from the old suit can provide a swimsuit repair patch to cover up the tear in your new suit. If you put the patch on the inside and darn it, then cut off the excess fabric, you’ll also have a better chance of it staying flexible and swimmable. Because the FINA specifications include restrictions on material type, thickness, and permeability, only small repairs would generally be permitted on competition suits, and the meet referee should approve any repairs. The patch must be textile material, so that excludes things like neoprene, polyurethane, or a rubberized material. If the repair is over a larger area (say, the size of a coin), it would generally not be permitted for use in competition.
  • Try a glue or adhesive—Some swimmers have luck with superglue or other repair adhesives holding together their torn suits—but it depends on the tear and the material.
  • Check the warranty—If you’ve torn a technical competition suit, then contacting the company might be your best option to see if they do repairs themselves or if your tear is covered by the warranty. The highest end technical race suits are made of compression and water-repelling materials, so it might be hard to fix yourself. Remember, to decrease the risk of snagging and tearing, don’t sit on the deck or benches in your tech racing suits.

Long story short: If your swimsuit tears outside the pool and creates a small rip, then you might be able to do a quick suit repair with a patch or some adhesive. But if it tears because the fabric is wearing out and getting old, then it might just be time for a new swimsuit!


  • Products and Reviews


  • Swimsuits