Ava Playsuit Written Directions


  • - Ava Playsuit PDF Sewing Pattern
  • - 1.5 yards activewear or swimwear fabric
  • 50-75% stretch. 50% stretch will be more compressive, 75% will feel more “second skin” and soft

  • - 1/4" elastic
  • Regular braided elastic is fine, but if you have rubber elastic on hand and don't want to buy something extra then that's fine too
  • - Matching thread
  • A top stitch will be used on this style, so make sure your thread will blend in by matching it to your fabric.
  • - Cutting tool like scissors or rotary cutter
  • - Sewing machine capable of a straight stitch and zig zag stitch
  • - Loop turner or safety pin

For optional shelf bra:

  • - ¼ yard stretch power mesh
  • - ½ yard ½” to 1” picot elastic
  • Or any plush elastic that’s comfortable against the skin


Printing & Assembling the Pattern

Before printing, open up the US Letter or A4 version of the pattern to review the initial instruction pages. Note that if you're using A0 you will need to access the US Letter or A4 version to see these pages. Review the information in each section carefully. Then, when you're ready to print you will visit the "How to Print" section. As mentioned, this pattern is layered so that you can select just one size at a time. Please see this article on how to use that function. You are encouraged to use the layering feature to make cutting much easier!

Once you've printed, keep the pages in the order they printed. Visit the "Pattern Assembly" section of the file to view a map of how each page should be laid out. Then, place your pages down in order according to the map. You should start to see the pattern pieces come together. Once you know your pages are laid in the correct order, trim the page borders and begin taping your pages together to form your pattern pieces.

Pattern Pieces

  1. Top Front

  2. Top Back

  3. Bottom Front

  4. Bottom Back (Left and Right will be cut mirrored)

  5. Gusset *The gusset is the same for all sizes. There are 3 gusset piecs, choose your gusset based on your inseam length.

  6. Shelf Bra (optional)

Choose Your Inseam Length

For pieces that make up the bottom part (Pieces 3-4) you will choose your inseam length from 2”, 4”, 6” or 8”. Cut the pattern along the marked lengthline to choose the length. ⅝” seam allowance for the hem is taken into account for each length line marking.

You will also pick which gusset to use based on your inseam length. There's a 2" gusset, 4" gusset, and one gusset for both 6" & 8" inseams.

Optional: Shelf Bra

If you'd like to add in a shelf bra, the directions will be slightly different. As you go through these directions, follow closely too see the notes for the shelf bra addition.


Here is the cut list for each pattern piece:

Piece 1 Top Front - Cut 2 in main fabric (*If you're making a shelf bra, only cut 1!)

Piece 2 Top Back - Cut 2 in main fabric

Piece 3 Bottom Front - Cut 1 in main fabric

Piece 4 Bottom Back - Cut 2 mirrored in main fabric to account for both left and right pieces

Piece 5 Gusset - Cut 1 in main fabric

Piece 6 (optional shelf bra) - Cut 1 in power mesh and cut 1 in main fabric*

*If using picot elastic that's wider than 1/2", consider adding extra seam allowance into your shelf bra. Currently there is 1/4"

Straps (not included) - Cut 2 straps according to the measurements provided in the "Straps and Bands" section of the pattern


Seam allowance is included and the amount of allowance varies in different places. As you follow these instructions we will mention the amount of allowance you need to account for while sewing.

Prepping the Shelf Bra

Step 1

Complete these steps only if you're making a shelf bra. Otherwise, skip these next few steps to the "Main Construction" section.

Take out your 2 shelf bra pieces- one should be in power mesh and 1 in your main fabric. Get out your picot elastic or band elastic of your choice.

First we're going to use a basting stitch and tack together the entire shelf bra. This is going to make it much more manageable in the next few steps. So place the power mesh onto the wrong side of the main fabric.

We want the right side of the main fabric against the skin, so this power mesh goes onto the wrong side and will be hidden when we attach in the shelf bra later.

Then using a basting stitch (which is a long straight stitch meant to be temporary), sew down the border of the bra, as shown. There is 1/4" seam allowance here so be sure to sew inside of that.

Step 2

Now we'll attach our picot elastic to the bottom of the shelf bra. Please see the "Elastic" section of the pattern for a recommendation on what length to cut your picot elastic. Once the elastic is sized, place it onto the shelf bra's right side, covering up the raw edge at the bottom.

Since the elastic is shorter than the length of the bottom line, you will need to stretch the elastic while you sew. You can start by pinning down the elastic onto either end to keep it in place. Using any stretch stitch (zig zag, lightening, cover stitch, twin needle, etc...) and 1/4" seam allowance, sew the picot elastic onto the shelf bra. As you sew, hold the elastic at each end so it is stretched and equals the length of the seam.

When you finish sewing and the elastic relaxes, the shelf bra will scrunch smaller than it was originally cut.

Step 3

Since we left 1/4" seam allowance, there will be some extra fabric under the picot elastic. Take some scissors and carefully trim off this excess.

The shelf bra is now complete, and going forward it will not be shown in the illustrations. The remaining intructions will have a second layer for the front top but your shelf bra will be used in place of this.

Main Construction

Step 1

First we're going to focus on the top section. You should have 4 pieces that comprise the top- 2 for the front and 2 for the back. If you're making a shelf bra you'll have 1 piece for the front, plus your completed shelf bra.

Match fronts with fronts and backs with backs, right sides together. Shelf bra: Match your shelf bra onto your front piece, right sides together.

Sew and attach elastic to the neckline and armholes on the front and back pieces. There is 1/4" seam allowance along these seams.

Use a 3 or 4-thread overlock stitch on a serger if available to you, otherwise you can use any stretch stitch, like a zig zag.

If you'd like, you can start off by doing a basting stitch (a long straight stitch with no backstitching) to tack these seams together before you sew your final stitch. This essentially replaces pinning, and it really helps to make sure everything is lined up.

Then you will use either an overlock stitch or a zig zag stitch, attaching elastic at the same time. If available, use an elastic foot. Do not stretch the elastic, you want it go sew on evenly (unless you prefer it to be scrunched).

If you don't have an elastic foot it may be easier to break this process into two steps- first sew the seam with your overlock or zig zag stitch, then come back over the seam a second time, this time sewing on the elastic.

For more information on how to sew elastic, click here. That video series will answer your most common elastic questions, and it includes demonstrations on how to sew it!

Step 2

Next we're going to make our shoulder straps. Fold each of your straps in half lengthwise with right sides togther. Sew and attach elastic to the raw edges. Just like in the last step, you will use an overlock or zig zag stitch and you do not want to stretch the elastic. There is 1/4" seam allowance.

Once the elastic is attached, take a loop turner or safety pin and bring your shoulder straps all the way to the right side.

Step 3

Take out your front piece for the top. With it still inside out, insert each shoulder strap into each of the strap openings at the top. Using a straight stitch, sew down the straps into place using 1/4" seam allowance. Then trim off the excess allowance afterwards.

Step 4

Now we'll attach the other end of the straps into the back. So first bring your front piece all the way to the right side. Keep your back piece inside out. Then, being careful to check that right sides are together, insert the other end of the shoulder straps into each strap opening on the back piece. Again, sew the straps down using 1/4" seam allowance and trim the excess afterwards.

Step 5

The next step is attaching the side seams on the top. First, make sure the front piece is to the right side. We're going to sew a basting stitch to keep the sides in place before we go to attach them. So use a basting stitch and sew down the sides, across the 2 layers of fabric. If you made a shelf bra, you only need to baste down as far as the bra extends, it's unnecessary to baste all the way down.

Then, take the back piece and flip it inside out. Since the straps are attached, this will start to bring in that front piece. Stuff the front piece up inside the back piece, then align the side seams.

At this step your front piece and the straps should be completely sandwiched inside the back piece. Since the waistline is unsewn you'll still be able to access the front piece, but for now we're just going to focus on the side seams.

Using an overlock stitch or zig zag, sew down the sides to attach them together. There is 1/4" seam allowance here.

Once this is sewn you can flip your piece all the way to the right side and it should look pretty complete! Everything should be sewn with concealed seams except for the waistline, which is still raw.

Step 6

Now we'll focus on assembling the shorts. You should have 4 pieces for this- 2 mirrored backs, 1 front, and 1 gusset.

First, match the backs with right sides together and sew along the center back seam to attach them. Use an overlock or zig zag and 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 7

Next, we'll attach the gusset to the front piece. Begin by taking a look at the notches on the gusset and on the front piece where it will be attached. Keep in mind that for the 2" and 4" gussets, they will extend the length of the shorts and match up at the leg holes. However, for the 6" and 8" versions the gusset will taper off before reaching the leg hole. The extra notch on the inseam of the front piece for the 6" and 8" pieces is for that purpose. You'll use the center notch as well as the end of the 6-8" gusset as a notch.

You'll first lay out the front piece with right side up. Place the gusset onto the front piece so right sides are together. Match one long edge of the gusset onto the front piece. Use the provided notches and match the notches on the gusset to the notches on the front piece.

Keep in mind we're only sewing one side of the gusset onto this front piece. The other long side should be untouched at this point.

Using an overlock stitch or zig zag stitch, sew the gusset onto the front piece using 1/4" seam allowance.

Once finished, your front piece and gusset should be attached and look like one of the images below.

Step 8

Now we can attach the front and back at the other side of the gusset. Place your back piece down with right side up. Then, place down your front piece with gusset attached to it. You'll want to line up the gusset with the inseam of the back piece, just like in the previous step. Again, use the provided notches. Sew the gusset onto the back piece using an overlock or zig zag stitch and 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 9

Next we can attach the front and back at the side seams. Make sure your front and back are matched with right sides together. Then line up each of the side seams. Use an overlock or zig zag stitch to sew down each side seam. There is 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 10

Our next objective is to attach the top and bottom, which will make our playsuit one piece! Before we start, take out your top piece so it's right side out. Using a basting stitch, baste around the waistline, across 2 layers of fabric. Since this has 2 layers of fabric it will be easier to manage in this next step if it's basted together.

Now keep your top piece so it is right side out. Take your bottom piece so it is inside out. Insert the top piece into the bottom piece, making sure that right sides are together and that your fronts and backs are facing the right way.

Remember that the front piece on the bottom is the one without the center seam, so make sure your top front is against the bottom front.

Using an overlock or zig zag stitch, sew across all 3 layers of fabric along this waist seam. Tuck your seam allowances from the side seam so they're on the back panel.

Afterwards, finish off your serger chain with any method you prefer. One option is top stitching the serger chain onto the seam allowance, then trimming the excess.

Step 11

The final step is hemming the bottom of the leg lines. You can do this with whatever method works for you, but here is one idea.

Using an overlock stitch, finish off the raw edges of the leg holes. If you're not using a serger, you can either do a zig zag stitch or just leave it raw.

Then, flip the hem up onto the wrong side and use a stretch stitch to top stitch the hem down. There is 5/8" seam allowance.

That completes the Ava Playsuit!