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Archive for June, 2013

[read Part 1]
Here are my instructions for making rash vests. There’s nothing too complicated about them.


What you need

snorkelling in a rash vest in hawaii

  • A piece of lycra fabric (two-way stretch fabric with 75% stretch)
  • A pattern (see Part 1 for details)
  • An overlocker (mine’s a 4-thread machine)
  • Two reels of woolly nylon thread and two of normal polyester thread

I’ve added this photo to show how brilliant a rash vest is when you’re snorkelling in tropical waters. Actually I’ve really only used it to add some colour to the page; the rest of the photos are all very duotone.

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I really don’t enjoy getting into outdoor swimming pools on cold mornings – winter or summer. So I wear tight-fitting, long-sleeved lycra rash vests over my bathers, at least until I’ve warmed up. 

I started making my own about 13 years ago. One or two a year, plus quite a few for friends … maybe 25–30 so far. Therefore, speaking as the expert I obviously am, let me tell you a thing or two about sewing rash vests. 


This part is a bit of an overview. In Part 2 I walk through the steps for making a rash vest.

The aim

The rash vest needs to fit really firmly through the wrists, arms and the bodice so it doesn’t create a lot of drag in the water while you’re doing laps. It doesn’t matter so much if it’s not tight around hips because it’ll ride up a bit no matter what.
my current rash vest collection
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