Oh hells yes it’s time for another swimsuit. SWIMSUITS FOREVERRRRR.
I actually finished this a couple weeks ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it. Whoops! This is swimsuit #2 of my summer swim gear (if you missed #1, you can see it here). Not that my old swimsuits needed to be replaced (I have three in addition to what I’ve made this year – one two three – yep, all my swimsuits are handmade at this point. Livin’ the dream!), but they’re REALLY fun to make! Can’t stop, won’t stop.
In fact, I have a third one already cut. No idea when I’ll get to that one, but its my American Flag Bikini Fit for a Beer Commerical, soooo hopefully sooner than later, ha. That is the suit that will be necessary for lazy days floating down the river.
So anyway, let’s talk about the swimsuit at hand. This particular goody is the Alison swimsuit from Burdastyle. This is I think maybe the second Burdastyle pattern I’ve ever sewn (the first was a Bombshell dress – which I don’t know if that *really* counts, because I followed an online course to make it so I wasn’t at the mercy of the instructions). I know they’re kind of a rite of passage for a lot of us sewers who thrive on the internet, but I’ve never been a huge fan of PDFs (hate taping them, hate storing them, bleeech) and I’ve heard horror stories about the ones that come out of Burdastyle. Most of the patterns don’t include seam allowances, and pretty much everybody complains about the instructions, or lack thereof. I’ve done pretty well with getting the looks I want from patterns that don’t have these issues, so skipping the BS (lol that abbreviation) hasn’t been a huge issue. Until I saw this swimsuit, anyway, and realized that I was gonna have to woman up and make shit happen.
Alison is a cute little retro-inspired one piece swimsuit, with a halter neck, gathered bust section, and a healthy bit of butt coverage. While this would be a REALLY cute style for pretty much all sizes and shapes, it unfortunately only comes in sizes S, M & L. I would guess it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to grade up another size or two – the few pieces in the pattern are all pretty simple – but I’d definitely make a mock-up first if you decide to go that route. I’m actually between sizes according to the size chart, so I just traced a line right between the Small and Medium and used that as my ~custom Lauren size~. Worked out pretty well, I think!
While I did not make any fit alterations to this pattern – there are a LOT of reviews that the body of the suit is really really short. I’m pretty petite and everything fits quite well, both length and width wise, which is good because I didn’t see those reviews until after I’d cut out the suit. Also, if you’re thinking about making this pattern – the seam allowances ARE included! Praise the Lord!
The instructions, on the other hand. Woof.
In all honesty, this almost ended up being The Swimsuit That Never Was, because the instructions are pretty confusing and hard to decipher! When I first downloaded the pattern, I noticed that there were a couple pages of instructions as well as some photos. I thought that was pretty awesome and I felt confident that this pattern would not live up to the Burdastyle tales of caution (especially since, like I said, it was fancy enough to have the seam allowances included). THIS WAS ALL A LIE. The instructions don’t make a lick of sense, at least not from what I could tell, and there aren’t any notches or markings to help you assemble the pieces together (which can sometimes save a shitty set of instructions). I spent a lot of time pin-basting pieces together, re-opening the PDF instructions and zooming in on pictures, reading the complaint comments on the Burdastyle site (had I read those first, I probably wouldn’t have even attempted this shit, tbh) and feeling sorry for myself for wasting a perfectly good piece of black swimsuit lycra.
Fortunately, a bit of googling around led me to this blog post with instruction clarification, as well as a list of the steps needed to actually put together the damn swimsuit. Of course, as of this writing (you know, a whole 2 weeks later), it appears that the post has been taken down so unfortunately that’s not really gonna help anyone. And being as how I made of this suit flying by the seat of my pants, I don’t really remember the specific steps needed to actually finish the damn thing. SORRY, I’M LIKE THE MOST UNHELPFUL BLOGGER EVER GAH. To be fair, the only really confusing part for me was the gathered bodice – because of the lack of pattern markings, I couldn’t figure out which way to fold it or where to sew my gathering stitches. Once I figured that out (it gets folded in half vertically, fyi – so it perfectly fits in the front suit scoop without being stretched), the rest of the suit was pretty easy to figure out. If you’ve sewn a swimsuit before and understand how to insert the elastic and all that, then you can probably figure this one out.
The black swimsuit lycra I used is old from my stash. I also lined the entire suit, except for the gathered bodice (which is self-lined by folding back one big piece of lycra after gathering). I was able to squish some swimsuit-friendly cups in the bodice before closing it up – this was as easy as trying the suit on before sewing the lining closed, positioning the cups, and then zigzagging them into place. The original pattern back strap is supposed to tie closed, but I don’t like having big lumps on my back sooo I just cut it as one piece and connected to both sides of the back. I wish I’d had the foresight to position the strap so that it doesn’t cross over the back binding and instead goes under it, but, eh, hindsight is 20/20 and at least I know for next time. The halter closes with a swimsuit hook, rather than tying because, again, don’t like having big lumps on my back.
Here are some flat/inside shots. I would have loved to have a hook that wasn’t bright white, but white was what I had in my stash so I made do with (not that you can even really see it when I’m wearing it, anyway). The lining I’m especially proud of – I was able to origami the whole thing so that the only exposed seams are the side seams up by the bust. Everything else is encased within the lining, yay! The leg holes are finished with swimsuit elastic and topstitched with a zigzag stitch.
ANYWAY, all construction issues aside – the pattern itself is pretty all right, and I’m happy with how it eventually turned out! I’ve always wanted a black retro-style bathing suit, so I can lay on the beach with my fancy adult beverage and floppy sun hat and feel like a Classy Lady, and I feel like this suit really fits that image to a T (me in the suit, now that’s another discussion for another day, ha!). I can’t wait to try my suits out at the beach this weekend. This suit feels pretty secure and like it won’t have any wardrobe malfunctions, but I always get a little nervous the first time I wear a handmade swimsuit out. You never know what’s going to decide to disintegrate once it hits the water and leave you nakey on the beach. Not that that’s EVER happened to me (or anyone I know, for that matter), but I have a healthy fear nonetheless haha.
In other news – it’s my birthday today! Yay!! I’m celebrating the dirty 30 this year, and I’m pretty happy to finally be able to say good-bye to my 20s. My early 20s were a total shitshow, my mid-20s were basically me rebelling against myself, and my late 20s have been spent cleaning up the mess I left in my own wake. I feel pretty good about this new decade and I’ll be celebrating it good and proper with my BFF when we’re in Peru next month! (have I been talking about Peru too much? Whatever, dudes, I’ve been planning this trip for a year! Sorry, not sorry! ahhahaahaha!).
Hope y’all have a lovely weekend! I’m beach-bound as of tomorrow morning, and I cannot WAIT.