Completed: The Soma Swimsuit, V1

4 Jun

As promised, I’ve written up a couple of posts about the new Soma Swimsuit from Papercut Patterns. I was a tester for this pattern, so I’ve actually had this finished and completed for quite some time now! While I initially agreed to test just the cross-over bikini variation, I ultimately ended up sewing BOTH bikinis because they are just so damn fun to make! In this post, though, I’ll be going over the first version – the black cross-over bikini.

Soma Swimsuit - v1

A note on pattern testing – it’s come to my attention that there has been a bit of discussion and debate about what exactly goes on for pattern testing, and what us testers get out of it. Some people have speculated that we are paid off to promote the designs, which could NOT be farther from the truth! Seriously, I WISH I was getting paid to to this – but I’m totally not. Pretty much all I get out of testing is a copy of the beta pattern, hopefully a copy of the finished pattern once it’s gone to print (not all companies offer this for testers but I think it’s a really nice gesture, personally), and a chance to see the pattern before anyone else. That’s it! Sometimes companies will give me fabric for testing – which I will always disclose if that’s the case – but for the most part, I am on the hook for providing my own fabric and notions. It is not required – or even requested – for me to post about the finished patterns, I just do it because I like what I make and I want to share it! I know some of the debate was about the same bloggers doing the testing, and while I can’t speak for the pattern designers, I will say that I have worked with the same designers for multiple testings, and it’s my assumption that they like to stick with the same people because they know they will get relatively consistent results, especially when it comes to sizing (it’s easier to tell if your size whatever has something wrong with the grade if you have that same person testing the same size for you consistently, if that makes sense).

I personally test my patterns the same way I sew a normal pattern – make a muslin if needed, do any alterations for fit that are necessary, and change the construction steps if I think it makes more sense to do so (and sometimes that ends up in the finished pattern – such as the lining method for the Flora dress, some of that was my feedback πŸ™‚ ). I provide very detailed and honest feedback (VERY! Like to the point of maybe even being annoying πŸ˜› haha), and I always meet the relatively short deadline. I would like to assume that’s why companies continue to reach out to me for testing, however, I’m recently aware that there are probably also people who use my feedback strictly for promotional purposes. If I offer good feedback and I don’t see translate to the finished pattern, that’s my sign that they probably don’t actually want my feedback and I just don’t work for with company anymore. Further, I don’t always blog my finished test makes (sometimes I only have time to do a fit muslin and tear the instructions a new asshole), so if anyone is contacting me in hopes of getting a sales boost from a finished project, they may be in for a rude awakening hahah πŸ™‚

I’m so sorry if anyone got the wrong idea when it comes to pattern testing; the unglamorous truth is that we have a quick turnaround to check out the fit and instructions of the pattern and provide as much feedback as we can before the release. That’s it! Obviously I’d love to earn money doing this (ahh, who woulnd’t??), but the pattern barter is fine with me for now. I like helping my friends and giving them feedback so they can put out an even better product. Any other questions about testing from a tester’s perspective? Holler at me in the comments!

Ok, now that that’s off my chest – swimsuit time!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Like I mentioned earlier, this is the Soma Swimsuit from Papercut Patterns, version 1. I’m afraid I went the boring route for this one – I had black swimsuit fabric & lining on hand (destashed from a friend’s supply, so I’m not sure where it originally came from) with the intention of making a black bikini, and I liked Katie’s version in the promo photos soo much that I decided to blatantly copy it because I have no shame.

Soma Swimsuit - v1

This swimsuit includes a lining, regular elastic, fold over elastic, and little bra notions (hooks, rings, and bra strapping). While I did have the fabric and lining on hand, I had to venture out to the fabric store to buy everything else. I was able to find almost everything I needed at Joann; however, be aware that they have a VERY limited selection of colors in these notions. Basically, they only have black and white – and their fold over elastic is expensive as shit, btw. I recently discovered Peakbloom as a wonderful source for FOE- seriously, look at all the prints and coloursssss omg – but I have yet to actually purchase anything from them. If you’re stuck in a FOE desert and need something other than black or white, definitely give them a look!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

The only thing I could not find at Joann was bra strapping. I actually didn’t even realize that’s a thing that exists! It’s not exactly the same thing as elastic – it’s sturdier, it doesn’t stretch as much, and it just looks more polished. After making this swimsuit, I did eventually find it at Joann’s (it’s in the section where you buy trim by the yard), but it only comes in white. For my bathing suit, I took a more creative approach and bought a bunch of $1 elastic headbands from Walmart (the kind that feel like they’re made from bra strapping, hahaha) and cut those apart to use. They probably aren’t ideal – they are starting to fray where I cut them and it looks kind of bad – but it’s a good option in a pinch.

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Another notion I used that is not listed in the instructions is bra cups! I don’t know about y’all, but I absolutely abhor the idea of nipping at the beach, so a little extra coverage was a must. While the insertion of bra cups is not included in the instructions for the swimsuit, it was pretty easy to figure out. After sewing the darts, I placed the lining over the bra cups in the correct position and smooshed the cups down flat. I sewed around the entire cup with a zigzag stitch to secure it, and then assembled the bikini top as instructed. That’s it! It was really easy and YAY NO NIPPING!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Oh, and in case you were curious – my bra cups are cut from old swimwear. I pick up tops at the thrift store when they’re on sale for $1, and I cut the cups out. It’s cheaper than buying new cups (which I’ve found can run as high as $8 a pair, ouch), it recycles the old cups, *and* I’m 100% sure they are swimwear appropriate since I literally cut them out of swimwear.

Soma Swimsuit - v1

This was my second attempt at sewing fold over elastic (my first attempt is now buried in the trash, ha)(first attempt was not this swimsuit, btw, it was a few months ago) and I think I did a pretty ok job, all things considered! I was originally trying to sew the elastic in one fell swoop – which seems to be the way most people instruct you to attach it. The instructions for this suit instead have you sew it on in two gos – once with the elastic flat, and once with it folded over itself (on top of the first stitching). It takes a tiny bit longer since you are essentially sewing the same seam spot, but it actually goes faster since you don’t have to worry about your fabric sneaking out of the elastic. Which is AWESOME. Consider me a FOE convert – this stuff is fun!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

The swimsuit bottoms just have plain ol’ elastic encased in the legs (just like the Bombshell swimsuit). I used black because that’s what I had on hand. I love the high cut of the back leg – cheeky! πŸ™‚

Soma Swimsuit - v1

The instructions on this pattern are really great, by the way! From attaching the elastic (both plain and FOE), to dealing with the bra straps, everything is very clearly written out and has helpful illustrations. I especially like how the lining is attached to the fabric – the bottoms have some pretty clever attaching so there are no exposed seams. Everything is attached flat, similar to underlining, which means you don’t deal with a lot of fabric shift.

For sizing, I chose the XXS, which is my normal size for Papercut Patterns. I didn’t have to make any alterations for fit – this is exactly how the pattern is drafted, both the top and the bottom. For fit reference, I generally wear a 28DD in bra and a S in underwear.

Here are some close-ups of the construction:

Soma Swimsuit - v1

I know these don’t look lined, but I promise they are. My lining is black, so it matches the outside fabric πŸ˜‰

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Almost this entire bikini was sewn on my sewing machine, btw. I did use my serger to construct the main seams of the bottoms, as well as for finishing all the edges when attaching the lining to the shell, but that’s just bc it’s faster! All the finishing was done with a zigzag stitch. You can ABSOLUTELY make this on a standard sewing machine – I (mostly)did!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Soma Swimsuit, v2

Soma Swimsuit - v1

I’ve had a few people ask me about the support on this bathing suit, and I’m afraid I can’t really give you a good answer as I don’t personally need a lot of support for my lil’ boobs. I’d venture to guess that it probably gives about the same as a string bikini – it’ll keep the girls in place, but you prefer a lot of lift this probably isn’t the pattern for you. As far as adjusting the cups for a bigger size, again, no idea! This size fit me straight out of the envelope.

Now, if you want to talk about whether or not this guy is suitable (lolz) for actual swimming – I can vouch for that! While I did take these photos way before I actually got in the ocean (in retrospect, probably should have waited… I’m not quite as pale anymore! SORRY FOR MY WHITENESS Y’ALL), I wore this suit twice while in Florida, both times in the ocean. I’m not a crazy swimmer or anything – more of a jump in the waves and bob around on a float kinda girl – but I had no issues with the suit falling open or anything like that. It’s comfortable *and* cute! What more could you ask for?

Soma Swimsuit - v1

I guess that’s it for now! Big thumbs up to Papercut for offering up such a great pattern – I’m so excited to see everyone’s versions that come out of this!

A couple things before I sign off here –

– Please give a warm welcome to my newest sponsor, Indie Stitches! Caitlan has a gorgeous little shop full of some of the best handpicked indie patterns – and she’s currently offering 10% off all purchases through June! Use the code LLADYBIRD to claim yo’ discount!
– As a side note, whenever my sponsors offer a discount to my readers, you can find it by hovering over the badge in my sidebar. If there is a discount offered, it will show in a white box if you hover your mouse over it. Just an fyi πŸ™‚
– Lookeeeee me, I got my first ~magazine spread~! My favorite machine needle company, Schmetz, has a free online magazine Inspired to Sew and I’M IN THE JUNE ISSUE. A whole two-page spread, woohoo!! You can download the free issue featuring moi here. Let me know what you think!
– Also, I’m apparently in a recent issue of All You magazine as well. Nothing super exciting – it’s just a photo and quote about my experience with Healthcare Bluebook (that shit is awesome, btw. Saved my ass when I was stressing over a kidney stone+no insurance last year!). If any of y’all see my mug in there, pleaseeeee let me know! I’m dying to know what part of my conversation they quoted haha πŸ™‚

Ok, that’s all! Stay tuned later this week for version 2 of the Soma Swimsuit! :DDD

72 Responses to “Completed: The Soma Swimsuit, V1”

  1. senjiva June 4, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    Your suit came out very nicely! I’d love to make my own swimsuit, owing to fit issues, sometime soon. Second, is a good resource for notions/bra cups at a seriously discounted price. Have you tried Daytona Trims for elastics?

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:10 am #

      I love Wawak, but nothing is cheaper than a $1 bra cup haha πŸ™‚ I haven’t tried Daytona Trims – do they do online orders?

      • senjiva June 5, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

        Well of course you can’t get a bra cup for $1 new! πŸ™‚ Sometimes I buy really cheap bras at the closeout store when I need one for a client, stat, and cut the cups out. It usually costs about $2.50. I have no idea if Daytona orders online. I have only visited in person.

  2. sallie June 4, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    WooHoo!!! I’ve literally been waiting with bated breath for the swimsuit posts!! After seeing your sneak peeks of these suits I pretty much bought some swim fabric on the spot with the intention of copying you! This is such a cool, modern looking design – I really love it! And it’s pretty much perfect in black. You look AHmazing in this btw!! So jealous!!

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:11 am #

      YOU are gonna look amazing in your suit! Ahhh I can’t wait to see it!!

  3. Karina June 4, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    It looks gorgeous, classic black bikini for the win! I really like all versions of this pattern and I think the wrap bikini top would look awesome with the Bombshell bathing suit for the bottom piece πŸ™‚ Great article about you too! I would be glowing the whole month of June if I had an article about me and sewing lols so glow away!

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:12 am #

      Thank you! I feel dorky (in a good way) when I talk about the article – “Oh yeah, my favorite needle company has a magazine and I’M IN IT” haha except it’s actually pretty awesome πŸ™‚

  4. Johanna Imhoff June 4, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    Thank you for blogging about this pattern! I’ve been hoping that you would since I saw its release. Your suit came out great and I agree that black is the perfect color for it. I’ve never made a swimsuit before, but because I’m still trying to understand fit for myself, a two-piece seems less intimidating to me than a one-piece. I bought the pattern when it was released and can’t wait to try it out.

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:15 am #

      I think you’ll be fine πŸ™‚ Knits are much more forgiving to fit – especially spandex swimsuit fabric – so it’s not as difficult as making, say, a fitted dress. Although I guess if you mess up the fit, you run the risk of looking indecent at the beach haha! At least swimsuits don’t use a lot of fabric, so they’re cheap to make πŸ™‚

  5. Chasing Happiness (@slauditory) June 4, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    What a lovely article they wrote in the Schmetz mag! This swimsuit is awesome as well. Your older posts about sewing with knits really inspired me to be fearless when trying new sewing things, and since reading those posts, I’ve sewed numerous items out of ponte and jersey.

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:13 am #

      That’s so awesome! Glad I could give ya courage to tackle the almighty knits πŸ˜€

  6. tialys June 4, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    Great bikini – the finish looks really professional.
    A good tip for using the cups from ‘pre-loved’ swimwear.
    I’d never really given too much thought to what testers get for their testing but I don’t think anybody could complain you were anything less than honest in your evaluations! I think a pattern (beta and printed) is the very least you should get but thanks for your detailed explanation anyway.

  7. Heather Lou June 4, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Look at that tight little bod. I’ve been stress eating lately and um, in your 30’s it fucking SHOWS like, immediately. Anyway, jealousy of your ripped abs aside, I really love this pattern! So cute and on trend. My question is how FOE will hold up in chlorine. I know when I was doing research for my suit it was recommended to only use specific blends (like rubber or cotton blends) and polyester elastic really breaks down over time. Let me know how it ages! If FOE works, it will be good to know for future patterns.

    • Jennifer R June 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

      My impression on this suit, the FOE is just functioning as a light binding and not an elastic so it’s unlikely to be under much stress or comprimise the suit if it were to breakdown. I’ve made quite a few suits which get abused by kids and my impression is the fabrics breakdown so much faster than the elastics it’s all kind of a moot point. I completely quit using swimwear elastics of any kind and haven’t noticed a difference. Partly because I prefer knit elastics to braided and swimwear elastics always seem to be braided. I did have one of my own suits where the elastic broke down after about five years (honestly I seldom get in the pool) and in that case it was official swim elastic. I do sometimes use the clear lastin type elastics with good results except I like the clean edge folding over heavier elastics. The one thing I’d like to try but haven’t ordered is solid rubber elastic with no fabric cover. (Sorry to butt in, just curious about opinions here.)

      • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:17 am #

        Nope, don’t apologize! I love it when people share their opinions and knowledge here, and this is a subject I know very little about so it’s super fascinating to me πŸ™‚

    • Lesley June 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      I wondered about that too. I was looking on and saw that they have different FOE with different fiber content, one kind is polyester/rubber and one is 85% Nylon 15% Spandex, which is pretty similar to swimwear fabric, so I wonder if that would hold up better.

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:17 am #

      lol girl, my abs are less ripped and more sucked in, but hey, the photos look good πŸ˜‰ HAHAH

      I don’t know how FOE will hold up in chlorine, but I will say that I used non-swimwear elastic for my Bombshell (as it was all I had on hand) and it’s still fine this year. I reckon the fabric will probably go to shit before the elastic does; and even if the elastic dies, it wouldn’t be that hard to replace.

  8. June June 4, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Nice suit! The 2-step FOE is the way to go. I made a zillion cloth diapers for my kids, and it’s very easy to wander away from the fabric edge that you’re trying to cover when you do a 1-step application. Faster to do it in a 2-step manner than a 1-step and then rip and redo, right? Also, I used a 3-stitch zigzag with FOE, it makes a secure and wider stitch.

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:18 am #

      I tried the 3 stitch zigzag and my machine did NOT like it one bit. Regular zigzag works fine for me, though πŸ™‚

  9. LuisaS June 4, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Another beautifully sewn project. Thanks for approaching the pattern testing with honesty and objectivity, and thanks for the tip about Healthcare Bluebook!

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:19 am #

      You are welcome! Hopefully it helps you too – I know I saved an ASS TON of money when I was shopping around for doctors to deal with my kidney stone (didn’t realize they all charge different amounts, doh).

  10. gingermakes June 4, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    This is so cute on you! I cut mine out a few weeks ago, but forgot to get FOE (just got the bra strapping), whoops! You’re motivating me to finish it… even though I won’t be at the beach in the foreseeable future…

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:20 am #

      Ahhh, you should finish it! I bet your version is awesome… I’m imagining it in some kind of amazing neon animal print, yes? Or dogs? πŸ™‚

      • gingermakes June 5, 2014 at 9:05 am #

        Neon palm trees, hahahahahahaha!

        • LLADYBIRD June 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

          omg I didn’t think it was possible for me to love you any more than I already do, BUT YOU DONE CHALLENGED THAT!!

  11. Jam June 4, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Really great job on the swimsuit! I never put too much thought into what pattern testers get out of testing patterns. I have assumed that testers would get a free pattern and that was about it. I personally like when a variety of bloggers test out the same patterns as you get to see the different ways people express themselves.

    Really great article in the magazine. I recently started using Schmetz needles and they are amazing! I was working on my first silk project a few months ago and it was driving me insane with the constant skipped stitches! I randomly grabbed a pack of Schmetz needles to try out and now I am in love. Perfect stitches!

  12. Anne June 4, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    I’m glad you set the record straight about being a pattern tester. People get so suspicious and worked up about whether a blogger is getting paid to promote, what they get out of pattern testing, etc. I get scrutiny because 95% of my makes are from one (independent) pattern company. They never stop to think it is because the fit is predictable and I like the styles!

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:22 am #

      I’ve come across people assuming some of the weirdest stuff about me (that I’m paid to promote stuff is the big one, tho) and it’s just like… you know, maybe I just want to make stuff and share it and that’s all there is to this blog. No secret agenda, just a very public craft diary haha. That’s ridiculous that people would think you’d paid off because you use the same company! Don’t most people do that when they find a good fit with a certain company??

  13. Miss Demeanour June 4, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Now this is what we call in the trade a Brazilian cossie. This is the kind that you put your heels on and jewellery with for rocking around the pool in Marbella. Nice bloody work and here, here on your piece of mind on pattern testing. I feel exactly the same an will always be willing to lend a hand especially when that means new threads! πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:23 am #

      Ohhh yes, I wanted to put on heels and jewelry for these photos but I felt RIDICULOUS. Maybe it would be easier if I had a pool to prance around πŸ™‚ Must find a pool asap

  14. kitty cat stevens June 4, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    i’m so impressed! i love this post so much. i don’t know where any of that pattern testing speculation is coming from since i’m not super deep in sewing blogs (just yours, haha) but i guess maybe people who don’t know you IRL don’t understand how dedicated you are to helping out and teaching people. i’ve always admired you for how you live and breathe your passion and are also constantly willing to help people just because you like seeing more hand sewn items in the world!

    anyway, i love you and every time you share an outfit i imagine you out and about for the day while people go “i love that dress” and you’re all “thanks, I made it!” and then sling them a business/blog card!

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:24 am #

      omg, I love you and this is the sweetest comment ever β™₯ YOU DA BEST

  15. Miss Celie June 4, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    Thanks for blogging this pattern. I need all the lift and pull I can get so I don’t think it’s for me. That said, I think it could work really well as a yoga top. And, I also wanted to say thanks for actually modeling it. We are so odd in the sewing community about swimwear and underwear. It’s good to see how much coverage, etc. You mentioned your bra size. But, I seem to remember you making FBAs in the past. Do you not need them anymore since you lost weight?

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:27 am #

      Yeah, I understand not wanting to have photos of yourself in the equivalent of skivvies floating around the internet, but it’s very frustrating when you can’t see the way things fit on an actual body πŸ™‚ My suit laying on the table looks MUCH different than how it looks on my body!

      I haven’t had to do a FBA in a while now. Since losing weight, my chest went from 36″ to about 32″ (I know, weep 😦 ) and I fit much better in straight sizes now. Also, that 32″ chest means I have more like a 30″ upper bust, which is usually much smaller than the finished measurements of the smallest size in most patterns… so doing a FBA would be tricky, since I’d basically be taking a pattern and making it too big at that point.

  16. Suzie June 4, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    I already have fabric and pattern lying on my cutting table! Thanks for the post, I canΒ΄t wait to start mine! I love the fact that it looks unique and not something that every second girl on the beach will be wearing. But honestly, I would be terrified with the back closure you used, it looks like it could pop open any minute πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:28 am #

      Haha that’s a regular swimsuit closure πŸ™‚ (also, it’s what I had on hand lol). It worked fine for jumping around in the waves; no popping open here!

  17. Jennifer R June 4, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Wow, it looks amazing on you, I’ll have to try the thrift store for bra cups thing but my problem seems to be more cups just never seem quite right for me. I’ve made all three of these suits to various degrees of completion. I really love the pattern but this seems to be the style that’s least likely to work for me. I did use regular swim lycra for the the trim. In places where FOE was called for I bound with strips of swimwear. In places where bra strapping is required I wrapped elastic in lycra. Just wrapping the elastic also makes a firmer stretch which is a good substitute. That and the fact that length is adjust in the final step makes the sub work fine. My only complaint is on mine the little cut out at front collapses and ripples a little. Something about the geometry being slightly off for my body I guess. It doesn’t look bad just not the same. I haven’t actually tacked those straps in place quite yet so I may try once more to smooth things out. Anyway, the suit is perfect on you, beautiful work, can’t wait for the next post.

    • Jennifer R June 4, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

      One other question, it looks like the darts are well placed on you, I was finding them a little to the sides. Pretty sure I matched notches correctly but thinking I need to increase the overlap if I do it again. Absolutely no way to trial fit along the way as it really until all the bands are in place that I have any idea how it will all work. Wrap styles are always a nightmare on me anyway and I ended up tacking the center front on this.

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:29 am #

      I believe if the triangle collapses, that means the strapping is too short. Try adjusting the length of the shoulder straps to see if that fixes the problem. I know what you mean about not being able to try it on before it’s done, though – I basically could only check the fit by holding up the cups and making sure they covered my boobs haha πŸ™‚

      • Jennifer R June 5, 2014 at 7:39 am #

        Thanks, I did fiddle with it this way and that and just could get it to hold. On my second I added clear elastic to the top of the triangle seam and didn’t see a change there. On the bikini, I think it may go along with the crossover needing to be closer. Perhaps if the strap was hitting my should at a different place it would work. When I spread it out flat of course I can get it all to work geometrically but can’t simulate the strap understress. I did leave this as the last point to tack down on the suit and played around with it but no luck. The other constraint is I donn’t want the joint resting on my collar bone. (I think yours is a smidge bellow but it’s obscured by hair in most pics.)

  18. stephanie@mabelmakes June 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    You look fab in the swimsuit! I love a simple black bikini. So classic and it’s really flattering on you. So cute! I’m heading away to Portugal at the end of the month but with so much on I don’t think I’ll get around to making this before. Next year!

  19. Helen June 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    This looks great and you look amazing. Well done on being brave enough to model it.

  20. Trice June 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    You are completely rocking these swimsuit, you make me wish I had smaller fun bags to rock this bikini top.

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:30 am #

      Trice, you would looking amaaaaazing in this! You gotta do it!

  21. Margo B June 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Great suit!! You look awesome in it! I also get bra cups from thrifted suits, also and clasps I may need. Waaaay cheaper!

  22. Cennetta June 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Awesome bikini. You rock the suit.

  23. womanmdsguide June 4, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    I like your ideas about bra strapping and recycling bra cups. I’ve found that I can recycle clear elastic from those annoying hanging loops in RTW and it also works great.

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:31 am #

      Oooh, that’s SUCH a good idea on the clear elastic! Thanks for the tip πŸ˜€

  24. beaglescout524 June 4, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    I’ll second Sew Sassy for underwear/bra notions. Great selection of hard to find notions, including nylon covered metal that you can dye to match. Their lingerie FOE is so much nicer (and less expensive) than the Dritz stuff they have at JoAnn’s. If there are any nursing mamas in da house, they have the clasps for drop cup nursing bras too.

    • LLADYBIRD June 5, 2014 at 6:32 am #

      I didn’t realize they sold swimwear notions- good to know! I’ll definitely check them out next time I need to stock up πŸ™‚

  25. goodbyevalentino June 5, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    Looking good, Lauren! Excellent job on the swimsuit especially if it held up in the ocean πŸ™‚ Very cute.

  26. Lisette June 5, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    I wish I thought this bikini would look good on me – I would make it in a second! And man you are so creative using headbands! You totally win at creatively sourcing materials.

  27. Marissa June 5, 2014 at 11:08 am #


  28. rory June 5, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    Just adorable on you. And I love that you’re holding your car key in several of the photos. “Question my integrity again and I’ll key your car.”

    • LLADYBIRD June 6, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      HAHA! That’s actually my camera remote πŸ™‚ I know, it’s ridiculous big (and I obviously make no attempt to conceal it) – that’s what you get for buying an older camera, I guess πŸ˜€

  29. Nikki H. June 6, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    I am in love with all versions of this swimsuit and I am so glad to have some real advice for it. The tip about thrift store bra cups is brilliant. Totally stealing that.
    One question about pattern testing… How do you get a company to START using you to test? Do you just send them an email with pictures of stuff you’ve made? It seems like most of them already have their favorite pool that they pull from but I’d love to be able to try a new pattern and give feedback!

    • LLADYBIRD June 6, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      I always applied for testing positions when I saw an open call for them πŸ™‚ It was a long time before I was asked to test a pattern – my first test was a Sewaholic pattern. After a few testings, people started to take notice and now primarily I am approached by the designer, so I don’t need to reach out as much.

      My advice would be to check the websites of your favorite pattern companies and see if they have a procedure for testing – if there’s an open call, if they have a form you can fill out, whatever. If you can’t find any information, I would absolutely send them an email and let them know you are interested if it’s an available option, and send them some size stats (you might be a size they need a tester for!), typical modifications you make on a pattern, and photos or a link to your blog so they know you can sew and take clear pictures (which is essential when testing fit).

      I think most companies now just tend to use the same people over and over because they know they are reliable – I’ve worked for people who’ve had testers flake and/or not meet deadlines, and it can be VERY stressful if that’s someone you’re depending on to make sure your product is up-to-par before it’s released into the world! However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a foot in the door! I think after this big discussion that blew up everyone’s blogs, the testing procedure is going to be a lot more transparent, and companies will probably want to reach out to a wider audience. Which would be awesome!

      Off the top of my head, I know Sewaholic has an email list for testers who want to sign up, and Heather Lou of Closet Case Files is also looking to expand to more testers as well. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a company and send them an email if you’re interested in being a tester! Worst case scenario is that they have too many to choose from and you don’t make that particular round of testing πŸ™‚

      • Nikki H. June 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

        Awesome! Thanks for the advice, I’ll definitely check those out.

  30. Andrea June 9, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    I love the design of the new Papercut suits. Very modern and way more interesting than anything you’d find in the stores. Thanks for the thorough reviews, as always. And ALSO thanks for linking to that the fold-over elastic source Peakbloom. I’ve been desperately trying to make my own underwear, so I bought a 10 yard pack of FOE at Joann’s for $14… but at Peakbloom you can get 10 yards for like $2.50. Crazy. Ordering now.

  31. Lesley June 10, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    So, I’m hoping for a little advice, I have the top all made except for sewing the straps in place and no matter how I adjust it the back fabric in between the straps pulls outward away from my back. Did you have any problems with that, or have ideas on how to fix it? Thanks! Yours looks awesome by the way and is the sole reason I decided to make one!

    • LLADYBIRD June 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

      Hmm, it sounds like your top might be too big across your back. Have you tried pinching out the excess and pinning it and seeing if that helps? I know at this point, if that’s the problem, you’ll end up with an ugly seam straight down the middle of the back but it would be better than having a top that doesn’t fit at all, right?

  32. Ashley June 18, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    I am sourcing the notions and already have my fabric to make the one piece version of this pattern. I’m confused about the FOE. Pattern calls for 2cm width, which would be close to 3/4″. All I can find is 5/8″. Do you remember what width of FOE you used? I’m not sure it matters much, just wanting to make sure.

    • LLADYBIRD June 19, 2014 at 7:25 am #

      How bad is it that I didn’t even notice there were FOE width requirements!? Ha! I just used the 5/8″ FOE (that’s all my store had too!) and as you can see it turned out fine πŸ™‚ If you’re really concerned about the seam allowances being too wide for the elastic, you can always trim a little off the fabric before you sew it on πŸ™‚

      • Ashley June 19, 2014 at 9:29 am #

        Nope that’s all I needed to hear. Thanks Lauren!


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