Tag Archives: swimsuit

Made Up: Stretch & Sew Bikini

8 Sep

You know, for someone who doesn’t go swimming very frequently (or sunbathing, for that matter, as evidenced by these photos. Eh, what can I say – as an ex-smoker, I’m trying to be careful with my skin these days!), I sure do make more than my share of bathing suits. They are really fun and satisfying to sew up, though! I try to quell that urge by making undergarments instead, but sometimes you just wanna make something that gets shown off!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - front

For our short trip to Cancun last week, I thought I would make another bathing suit to drag along – partially so I wouldn’t be stuck trying to wriggle into something damp on the second day (yeesh! I hate that!), and partially because, dammit, I wanted something new and sunshine-y to take on vacation! When Karen announced the Made-Up Initiative – which is currently funded at 248%, btw, because we are all awesome – I decided to set those plans into action and pledged to make the damn swimsuit.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - side

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - sideI reckon there’s something about announcing intentions that causes them to immediately go awry, but, yeah, this was totally the Swimsuit That Almost Didn’t Happen. True story, if I hadn’t already made a big stinkin’ pledge, I probably would have put this project to sleep early on. I really hate the idea of not seeing something through, though, so I soldiered on and stuck it out. Happily, the end result was this lil’ paisley dream! Yay!

My first attempt was with a completely different pattern, McCall’s 4330 – a string bikini straight outta the 1970s. The pattern called for wovens, but I thought I could adapt it with a stretch knit. It actually mostly worked, except, I tried on the top about halfway through and realized that I DO NOT LIKE the way I look in a string bikini! Eep! Too little coverage, well, everywhere. I know that’s the whole point of a string bikini, but I was not feeling it. I considered giving up at this point.

Instead, I dug around in my stash and found this copy of Stretch & Sew 1390, which is for a cute little halter-style bikini that is, again, straight outta the 1970s. I liked that it offered more coverage – both top and bottom – than the string bikini, and I liked that it was actually sized and drafted for swimsuit knits. I’d never sewn with a Stretch & Sew pattern, but I have definitely noticed the cult following that these patterns get, which is always a good sign in my opinion. I traced off my size (you have to do this with these patterns; the instructions are printed on the nested pieces. Sort of a pain, since it means the instructions are on a GIANT sheet of paper, but kind of nice in the sense that you are forced to keep all the sizes!), made a mock-up of the bikini top, and then prepared to cut in my actual swimsuit fabric – when I realized that I had nowhere near enough yardage to do this. I was using leftovers from a previous suit – bikinis are so tiny and they barely take any fabric, so this usually isn’t a problem. However, this suit has few seams & looong halter-tie straps, which means it *does* require more yardage, which I didn’t have. At this point, we were less than 2 weeks out from departure. Again, I considered giving up. Dun dun dun!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - front close up

Spoiler alert! I found an awesome paisley swimsuit fabric at The Fabric Fairy, immediately ordered it, and it was at my house within a week. Since I’d already worked out all my fitting adjustments before ordering the fabric, that meant I was able to get right into sewing once I received everything. The whole suit was made up in an evening session. Pretty awesome! And I actually like this fabric a lot more than anything I was trying to pull out of my stash, so double win for me!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - back

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - back close up

The pattern is well-drafted and very simple to assemble – there aren’t a whole lot of seams, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The bikini top is self-lined, with the outside shaping created by soft gathers, and the inside has a few darts. The straps tie behind the neck, halter-style, and the bottom is encased with wide elastic all the way around and closes with a swimsuit hook. The bottoms are just your standard bikini bottoms, lined in swimsuit lining and edges finished with elastic.

My original tracing and mock-up trusted the sizing of the pattern, which ended up with it being much too big. I ended up cutting the bikini in the size A cup and shortening the elastic for the midriff by about 3″ (I imagine most anyone would have to make this adjustment, as they just have you cut it to 27″ for all sizes and I’m sure there are plenty of people who are either bigger or smaller than that!). For the bottoms, I just kept cutting the size down until they finally fit me. They were really huge – which I prefer negative ease with my swimsuit bottoms (so they don’t look like a saggy diaper when wet!), and these were quite the opposite. I think I ended up going down about 3 sizes to get the fit that I wanted.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini top on dressform

I followed the instructions pretty closely as written, except that I topstitched the bottom band of the bikini top to avoid doing any handstitching, and I sewed the elastic in the bikini bottoms a little differently. Most of this was made on my sewing machine with a zigzag stitch, except finishing the edges of the bottoms before attaching the elastic – I serged those edges first, so they’d look clean on the inside. Oh! I also added really thin swimsuit cups to the bikini top, sandwiched between the outer fabric and the lining. They are super thin, so they don’t really add any padding – just eliminate any nipping that could potentially happen haha.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini top

Top of the swimsuit, flat. The elastic goes all the way around the ribcage, which makes for a very secure top (you just need to make sure that it’s the right circumference for your ribcage, since it closes with a hook and doesn’t tie).

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - self lining

Darts on the inside/self lining of the bikini top.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini bottoms

Bikini bottoms!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - side back

No matter how many swimsuits I make, I will admit that I always feel a tiny bit stressed when I wear them out for the first time! Will it hold up? Is something going to go surprise see-through on me? What if the fabric sucks and bleeds color all out into the water? Thankfully, this one didn’t give me any problems and I really enjoyed wearing it during my vacation! I think the paisley fabric is so pretty and it makes me happy to look at it ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad that I stuck this one through and ended up with a fun little swimsuit as a result!

Did you pledge for The Made-Up Initiative? How is your pledge coming along? The deadline is in 2 days!

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Completed: The Burdastyle Alison Swimsuit

21 May

Oh hells yes it’s time for another swimsuit. SWIMSUITS FOREVERRRRR.

Alison Swimsuit

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 –ย  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.

Alison Swimsuit

Alison Swimsuit

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 Swimsuit

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.

Alison Swimsuit

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.

Alison Swimsuit

Alison Swimsuit

Alison Swimsuit

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.

Alison Swimsuit

Alison Swimsuit

Alison Swimsuit

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.

Alison Swimsuit

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.

Completed: The Watson Bikini

11 May

I don’t know about where y’all are, but swimsuit season is BASICALLY upon us over here. Sure, they haven’t opened the pools – yet (that always happens on Memorial Day weekend, coincidentally right around my birthday as well. Pool parties every year for this kid!) – but it’s only a matter of time. Plus, I want to be ready when the water is warm – and not be scrambling to finish something the night before I hit the pool. Last-minute sewing is for people who work well under pressure. Which is not me.

Watson Bikini

So, anyway, I made a bikini! Yeah!!!

Watson Bikini

If this pattern looks familiar, it’s because I’ve made it before (not to mention it’s made some ROUNDS ’round the internet). It’s not a swimsuit pattern, per se – it’s actually a lingerie pattern. This here is the Watson Bra & Bikini pattern from Cloth Habit, modified into the swimsuit you see here. And yes, I realize that these pictures basically mean y’all are seeing me in lingerie. Whatever.

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

I have made this pattern before a couple of times (see one and two), so I knew I was good with the fit and I had strong feelings that this pattern would work equally well as swimwear with a few modifications. It was just a matter of finding a good swimwear lycra and figuring out how to stabilize that cradle in a way that wouldn’t deteriorate in chlorine and salt water.

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Since I’ve gone into detail about the making of this pattern before, I won’t talk too much about the sizing or construction outside of making it into swimwear. I sewed my regular size – the 30D – and the fit was good except a did have a bit of gaping right between the side of the cup and the underarm. I think it has more to do with my elastic application – it might not have been stretched enough – but it was on both sides so I dunno. It may have been due to the stretch of my fabric, but the rest of the top fits great and the 4 way stretch is similar to the millskin I used for my first Watson. Anyway, I fixed it by taking in a dart and topstitching it down (at this point, the swimsuit was complete so there was nooo way I was unpicking all that shit haha). Not the most elegant solution, but the print is super busy so you can’t really see it, plus it’s right at my armpit. If anyone is looking and notices that shit, we’ve got bigger problems on our hands.

Other than that, the fit was good! I add a little bit of extra to the bottoms – about 1/2″ extended out from the back for more butt coverage, and about 1/2″ extended at the top to make them slightly higher. They’re still a little cheeky, but I think it’s pretty cute ๐Ÿ™‚

Watson Bikini

Like I said, there were a couple of things that needed to be addressed in order to convert this into proper swimwear. For one, I knew it needed lining (maybe you wear unlined swimsuits, but I don’t!). I cut an extra of every piece out of swimsuit lining, and was able to origami it so that there aren’t any raw edges, except where the cups meet the band. Couldn’t figure that one out, so I just serged the seam. I also needed to change out aaaall that elastic to be swimsuit elastic- the picot and lace edges elastics that you use in lingerie are beautiful, but they aren’t made to hold up to salt water and chlorine (not to mention, they totally make that shit look like a bra). This was easy – I used braided swimsuit elastic and attached it opposite of how you attach lingerie elastic. Meaning, you sew the first swipe on the inside of the garment (I used my serger, but you can zigzag this), and then fold it one more time and zigzag topstitch. I did this everywhere except at the top of the cups, where I sewed it as you normally would for a bra (hadn’t thought that far ahead, whoops).

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

The strapping at the back band also totally stumped me for about a month. In the pattern, the top of the back band is finished with strapping that extends to go over your shoulders. It’s beautiful, but it’s not really good for swimwear (again, can’t stand up to the elements/chemicals, and – again, looks like lingerie). Of course, you can just finish the top edge with elastic the same way you finish all the other edges – but I liked the look of the strapping, plus, I have a feeling it’s sewn that way to help with the fit. After a bit of thought, I decided to do elastic covered straps and apply them the same way that the strapping is done on a regular bra. I used Ada Spragg’s tutorial on making elastic swimsuit straps (GIRL THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS SHIT), and they turned out pretty nice! I left off the adjustable sliders since the elastic was so thick, but I did keep the little O-rings at the top.

The only downside is that I wasn’t quite precise with my seam allowances, so one strap has a tendency to twist (I’m pretty sure that’s from the elastic inside trying to roll up). It’s annoying, but not enough to make me unpick and start over. We’ll see how I feel after I get back from the beach ๐Ÿ˜›

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Another thing that needed to be addressed was changing out the hook and eye for something that looks, you know, not like a bra. I used a swimsuit hook and eye – I know it doesn’t match, but it’s all I had on hand and anyway, you can’t really see it when it’s on – and just adjusted the back to fit the hook. I did this after the swimsuit was assembled, but before I attached the straps. There’s a tutorial on how to do this over at Cloth Habit, it’s for a bra, but same concept. For the opposite side, I just folded over the edge and sewed it down to make a tunnel for the hook to go through. Easy!

Watson Bikini

Finally, I had to figure out a way to stabilize the cradle while still making this thing hold up in water. For most lingerie patterns, this might not be a problem – but with this particular pattern, the cradle (the part of the band that attaches to the cups) needs to be stabilized so it does not stretch. The pattern has you use lightweight tricot, but I wasn’t sure if that would deteriorate over time. Instead, I cut two pieces of heavy powermesh running in opposite directions, and stacked them on top of each other with the swimsuit lycra on top and the lining on the bottom. Powermesh is water-friendly (well, so I’ve been told!) and it does a pretty good job of keeping everything stable.

Watson Bikini

The rest of the bikini was as straightforward as making lingerie. All pieces are cut from swimsuit lyrcra and swimsuit lining (other than the powermesh to stablize the cradle), and I included lots of zigzag topstitching to give it a sporty look.

In case you were wondering, my swimsuit lycra is from Spandex House in NYC. I bought it while I was in the Garment District in March. My lining is also from Spandex House, and the elastics I used are from Joann’s. I think the bra rings came off an old bra, and I don’t remember where the swimsuit hook is from. Other than using the serger to attach the elastic, I sewed everything on my sewing machine. Even with me stopping and researching and scratching my head, this shit only took a couple of hours to make. And just like that – I’m ready for the beach! Yay!

Oh, and how ’bout that AWESOME necklace I’m wearing?? I can’t take credit for choosing that – its from Rocksbox, which is a new online service where you rent 3 pieces of jewelry every month, chosen for you by a stylist. You can swap out the jewelry as much as you like during the month, and any pieces you buy are discounted. I’ve been trying it for about a month and it’s really fun – and definitely got me wearing jewelry that I otherwise neverrrr would have picked up. I was given a couple of months free by the company to try it out, but I’m seriously thinking of maintaining the account afterwards because I like this shit waaaay more than I thought I would! It’s only $19 a month, the shipping is free both ways, and I’ve received (and bought :I) some really cool pieces! So there’s that. Anyway, bringing this up now because you can use the code lladybirdxoxo and try your first month of Rocksbox for freeeeee. Who doesn’t like free, amirite? Also, SHINY.

Watson Bikini

Can’t wait to try this bad boy out in the water when we go to the beach in a couple of weeks! Also bonus for having a suit that no one else will be wearing (I used to buy aaaall my suits at Target. Do you know how many Target swimsuits run up and down Santa Rosa Beach? Do you know how many of those said swimsuits look better on the other person than they do on me? The shame.). I have tons more of this lycra – the minimum cut was 1 yard and you really only need like 1/4 yard to make a bikini – so I’m already trying to justify having a fleet of geometric swimsuits. We’ll see!

Completed: The Soma Swimsuit, V2

6 Jun

I’m back again with my second Soma Swimsuit!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Aaaaaand, omg you guys, this is my favorite of the two. Definitely my favorite out of all the swimsuits I’ve made, possibly my favorite swimsuit EVER. Seriously! I really really love it!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Cheeky butt and all ๐Ÿ˜‰

Soma Swimsuit - v2

For version 2, I decided to up the ante and try it in a cool striped fabric – I’ve had this striped swimsuit fabric since 2013; I bought it at Spandex House (or World?) in NYC, along with a nude lining. I’ve always wanted a navy and white striped bikini, and I could not have found a better pattern to make this fabric up in. Although, I still have more that I could potentially make more bikinis with – a yard of swimsuit fabric goes a LONG way. Forreal, I had to recut the bodice on this swimsuit after an error in construction, and I still have sooo much left over. Yay for swimsuits!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

There are tons of ways you could play with the stripes on these pattern pieces – I drew out a few croquis and sketched some stripe variations, which led me to decide that horizontal stripes with a vertical center looked the best (to me, anyway). I also think it would be cool to cut the triangle out of a solid fabric – possibly even the bottoms be solid as well – but I didn’t have any solid navy, so I went with full stripes.

Also, the stripes give my boobs x-ray eyes, which is kinda cool in and of itself.

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Soma Swimsuit - v2

I’m very pleased with how the stripes match up on the sides! To get a good match, I cut the bottoms on one layer (they’re supposed to be on the fold, which means you will need to retrace your pattern pieces so they are a full piece) and cut all the pieces for the cups before cutting the back band. After I assembled the entire front of the swimsuit, I then used the stripes as a guide for cutting the back band, to ensure that everything matched up.

Soma Swimsuit - v2

While my first Soma was sewn entirely by following the directions, I did intentionally veer a little off course with this one. The pattern has you use plain elastic to construct both the top and the bottom – it is folded over and topstitched down, so it is essentially hidden once you put the suit on. I had this cool decorative elastic that I’ve been hoarding since 2013 (bought it on the same trip, from Pacific Trimming), and I was DETERMINED to use it. Katie suggested that I sew the elastic to the right side with the decorative edge facing down (i.e., the straight edge is matched with the raw edge of the suit), and then flip everything to the inside so the decorative edge peeks out and topstitch down. That’s exactly what I did, and I think it worked out quite nicely if I do say so myself!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

I did this for both the top and the bottoms.

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Another thing I wanted to add to the swimsuit was bra cups – as I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of the beach nip. While this suit is lined, one layer just doesn’t cut it for me, so I experimented with my options. My first suit did attempt bra cups, but it ended up a fail. I’m sure there’s a way to get them in there, but you’d have to change the order of construction – this suit is sewn so the lining and swim fabric are attached at the center bust seam, which means you can’t exactly cram a bra cup in there. After some thought and lurking those torn-up swimsuits, I threw out the failed bodice and started over. Ultimately, I decided to just cut multiple layers of lining for the bra cups and use that as a sort of padding – I think there are a total of 4 layers of lining on the bra cups (3 for padding, one for the outer layer), plus the actual swimsuit fabric. By doing this, I was able to follow the instructions as written, I just had a little more bulk to deal with ๐Ÿ™‚ Trimming the bulk down and then topstitching made everything lie nice and smooth. And yes, in case you’re curious – the padding did pay off! Woohoo!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Again, for sizing, I went with the XXS. I’m actually surprised at how well this fits my ribcage – my underbust is 28″, so stuff tends to be waaaay too big right there. This swimsuit has a nice, snug fit, which helps keep it in place while you’re swimming. I did pull my elastic a bit more taut than instructed in the pattern – I don’t want any gaping on the beach, thankyouverymuch – but as far as adjusting the circumference of the longline, I didn’t have to do anything. Also, fyi, as per the last swimsuit – this was sewn almost entirely on my sewing machine. Wooho!!

Here are some close-ups!

Soma Swimsuit, v2

A couple things I will mention if you plan on making this with decorative elastic: for one, definitely trim those seam allowances before you attach it. The hidden elastic that the the instructions call for is fine for the 3/8″ seam allowance, but decorative elastic needs a much smaller seam allowance (I think this is 1/4″), which means you get overhang if you don’t trim. I figured this out after making the bottoms, which you can see the excess (I did catch it and remember to trim for the top, which you can see a couple pictures down). Not a big deal, but definitely worth mentioning.

Soma Swimsuit, v2

Also, see where the elastic is broken at the leg? It’s actually not broken – it connects in a full circle – but it sure looks like it. I should have cut the elastic to include a full repeat of the decorative part, and then overlapped by at least one scallop just to ensure that there are no broken parts. Oh well! Learn from my mistakes, guys.

Soma Swimsuit, v2

Like the first suit, this one also calls for bra strapping for the straps. Since I didn’t have any on hand (this was before I discovered the white at Joann, which still would not have worked for this particular project), I improvised by using plain elastic and topstitching my decorative elastic right on top. I used two rows of straight stitching since they don’t need to stretch that much.

Soma Swimsuit, v2

I did change one small order of construction when doing the bodice – the way the pattern is written has an exposed edge at the center triangle. I figured out how to burrito roll the fabric (similar to how one attaches a yoke to a button-down, with all seams hidden) so all my seams are enclosed. It was a little finicky but it certainly paid off! I haven’t seen the updated instructions on this pattern yet, so I’m not sure if it’s been changed to reflect that technique (it was part of my feedback when I tested the pattern, but the process can be a little tricky to explain so I’m not sure if Katie included it or not, in an effort to keep the construction very simple), but just know that it *can* be done if you don’t want exposed seams in your suit!

Also, oops, probably should have caught the raw edge at the top of the triangle when I was topstitching down OH WELL.

Soma Swimsuit, v2

As far as support goes – again, I can’t really vouch for it personally, but I will say that this version of the suit has a lot more options if you need a little boost. You could experiment with adding swimwear cups (I feel like even just sewing the bodice cups separately and slipping a swimsuit cup between the fabric and lining would probably work… don’t try to attach it to the lining, though, that’s where I went wrong!) to the bra, boning to the side seams, and potentially even underwire. As it stands for just a fabric+lining+elastic top, though, it’s supportive enough.

Again, these photos were taken before the swimsuit ever saw water, but I managed to wear it twice on my vacation, and it performs just as well as the black one. It may even be a little more secure, since you’re less likely to have a bathing suit malfunction due to the design.

I definitely plan on making this version again – I have plans for this bustier top with the high-waisted bottoms, in some cute lemon/flower swimsuit fabric. I almost made it up during the testing – but then realized I should probably take this striped one out for a spin so I can address any fit adjustments if needed. The suit does not need fit adjustments, btw, but on the next one I will pull the elastic a little tighter around the top edge of the top. It’s not quite as tight as it’s like it.

Also, I think this would make a really cut bralette. Ooh!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

So, who’s convinced they should take the plunge into sewing swimwear? Seriously, guys – it’s really fun, it’s fast (and gratifying!), and once you realize just how little it costs to make a swimsuit, you’ll be side-eyeing the $80 ones at the mall for the rest of summer. Don’t think you have it in you to make a bathing suit? Ladies. If you can sew a tshirt, you can sew a swimsuit. Promise.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I provide very detailed and honest feedback (VERY! Like to the point of maybe even being annoying ๐Ÿ˜› 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚
– 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Me-Made-May ’14: Week 5 Round-Up

30 May

Ahhhh, you guys! Me Made May (and thus, the daily photographs) is almost over! Can I get a FUCK YEAH!?

This is going to be a longer than usual round-up, because I went on vacation and obviously I had to change outfits a couple times each day. That’s what you do on vacation, right? ps, sorry in advance.

5/24
5/24, Saturday
Dress: Lady Skater
Shoes: Keds

First day of our vacation! Here we are en route to Santa Rosa Beach, at a food truck somewhere in Alabama. I knew we’d spend the day in the car, so I opted for a comfy knit dress. I’ve always thought this dress was very fall-like, due to the colors, but the fabric is definitely summer-appropriate as well ๐Ÿ™‚

5/25 pt. 1
5/25, Sunday I
Pajamas: Lakeside pajamas

I’ve been wearing various other me-mades throughout the month that haven’t made it into photos (workout wear, pajamas, leggings, underwear, etc), so here’s some proof! I brought two pairs of Lakeside pajamas to wear while on vacation – the ones you see here, plus a new set I made a couple days before (I used this cute strawberry print cotton lawn to make them, if you were wondering!)- and wore them all week. In addition to being awesome pajamas, they also make a great swimsuit cover-up! Although, to be fair, I started out wearing the set and ended up in only the shorts(+ bikini top, obvs) by the end of the week.

Speaking of bathing suits…

5/25, pt. 2
5/25, Sunday II
Swimsuit: Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit (no blog post on this… yet! But here’s the link to the pattern :))
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Hell yes I came with a handmade swimsuit! THREE, in fact! This is the first – the result of my pattern testing for Papercut Patterns a couple of months ago ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t had a chance to write up a proper blog post, but here’s a sneak preview ๐Ÿ™‚

5/25, pt. 3 (sorry! Last one for today)
5/25, Sunday III
Top: Refashioned from a men’s Hawaiian shirt
Shorts: Rite of Spring shorts
Shoes: Keds

After spending all afternoon at the beach (no, really, I laid up on a float and bobbed around in the ocean for hours and it was glorious), I reluctantly put on clothes and walked around the shops with Landon. I didn’t buy stuff, but I did buy liquor. Priorities, y’all.

Also, that shirt. This is the third vacation I’ve dragged it to (and no shit, I literally wore that same outfit last May HAHAAHAHA whatever, it’s good, I’m not apologizing for shit), so it’s basically my official vacation shirt at this point. Unfortunately, it’s also way too big now. My alterations were pretty shoddy (it was a very last-minute job), and I’m thinking I may just need to send it to the nice Goodwill Bin in the sky at this point.

5/26, pt. 1- my other @papercutpatterns Soma bikini + a photo bombing niece  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/26, Monday I
Swimsuit: Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Exact same get-up as the day before, but check out how different it turned out! This is version 2 of the Soma Swimsuit, and the second one I tested (yeah, I tested both. I wasn’t asked to, but after making the first one I kind of went crazy. I almost made 3, tbh). I used this version to play with stripes and decorative elastic, and I LOVE how it turned out. Seriously, my favorite swimsuit ever! Again, expect a blog post on these bad boys soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh yeah, and that bratty kid in the background is my niece ๐Ÿ™‚ I told her she could photobomb my picture and she sure did me proud.

5/26, pt. 2- dress: Sewaholic Lonsdale; shoes: Fergalicious.  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/26, Monday II
Dress: Sewaholic Lonsdale
Shoes: Fergalicious

I wore this for a dinner out with my parents+Landon’s parents (the first time they met! It went very well :)), and unfortunately forgot to take a photo until right before bed. Oh well! Also, I love this dress and I should totally make it again.

5/27, pt. 1- swimsuit: closet case files bombshell  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/27, Tuesday I
Swimsuit: Closet Case Files Bombshell
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Last bathing suit! This is one I made last year, and I still love it ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially good for those days when I realized I’ve just been drinking beer and eating key lime pie all weekend and oh god it’s time for the beach. Hahahaha!!

5/27 forgot to upload this yesterday! Drinking wine in Seaside, FL :) top: thrifted; skirt: Tilly's Miette (tie-less); shoes: Fergalicious #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/27, Tuesday II
Shirt: Thrifted
Skirt: Tilly’s Miette
Shoes: Fergalicious

Post beach, Landon and I spent the afternoon in Seaside, checking out the cute houses, the shops, and drinking free wine (the best part!). Again, with the top – that’s another unofficial vacation top (that I bought… 3 years ago, at the Goodwill on Santa Rosa Beach, ha!) that’s about to get the Goodwill shaft. It’s just too big ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

5/28 channeling my inner mermaid before heading back to Tennessee โ˜€๏ธ top: Megan Nielsen cropped briar; skirt: Megan Nielsen cascade.  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/28, Wednesday
Top: Cropped Briar
Skirt: Cascade

Last day on the beach! I thought it would be fun to take the photos of my Cascade by the cascading waves (you can’t even tell in this picture but they were AMAZING that day!). The wind was blowing like crazy, and I think it makes for a really cool picture ๐Ÿ™‚ This picture also vaguely reminds me of <a href="this picture from the Little Prince, which makes me happy ๐Ÿ™‚

5/29 dress: deer & doe Belladone; shoes: Sam Edelman; necklace: Fabu #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/29, Thursday
Dress: Belladone
Shoes: Sam Edelman
Necklace: Fabu

Back to Nashville! It was at this point that I realized we were almost at the end of May – and I haven’t worn some of my favorite stuff! So out comes the Belladone ๐Ÿ™‚ I tried to style this a little differently than usual – I generally wear it with brown or yellow, but I do like the red ๐Ÿ™‚

5/30
5/30, Friday (today!)
Dress: Simplicity 1803
Belt: Thrifted
Necklace: Chatterblossom
Shoes: Born

My other favorite dress – and our star pattern for the OAL. I love this pattern and I’m glad I finally have a reason to buckle down and make another! Which reminds me – the sewalong starts on Monday! Eep! ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of which – those of you who are participating, do you feel like you need a post that covers fabric selection? I was planning on skipping straight ahead to cutting and marking, since I figured most everyone’s already chosen their fabric (and thus makes a post on fabric selection a moot point) – not to mention a lot of y’all are sewing different patterns (which means different fabric requirements) – but you tell me!

Sooo I guess that’s almost it for Me Made May! We do have one more day of the month (and you bet I’ll be wearing me-mades and begrudgingly taking a photo, ha), but I’m not going to include it in this round-up because it doesn’t fit with my ~schedule~. Sorry! If you want to view the rest of the weeks, here they are:
Me-Made May: Week 1
Me-Made-May: Week 2
Me-Made-May: Week 3
Me-Made-May: Week 4
I also have a Flickr Album of all my MMM photos, if that’s more your jam.
If you’re sick of looking at me, that’s ok too – I’m sick of looking at myself at this point :B

I am glad I participated this year, because I definitely learned a lot about what’s lurking in my closet – namely, that there is WAY more than I think there is! Seriously, so many pieces didn’t even make it out this month, and that’s kind of sad considering I only repeated one skirt and a couple of tshirts. I’ve had some size fluctuations over the past couple of years, which means a lot of my summer wear doesn’t fit anymore (and while I altered some of it – such as the Simplicity dress I’m wearing today – a whole bunch of it got sold/donated instead). After that giant purge, I was under the impression that I didn’t have a lot left to wear in warm weather – which is clearly not the case! With that being said, despite my overabundance of clothing, there are still tons of pieces that my wardrobe is lacking. I’ve got plans to make more separates, including shorts (gah, I can’t believe I didn’t wear shorts once this month, wtf?) and tshirts, as well as workout wear, loungewear, and more bathing suits! Serious question… how many bathing suits is too many? They are REALLY fun to make, ok.

How did your Me-Made-May turn out (if you participated)? Did you learn anything life-changing about your closet? Are you SO sick of taking photos? ๐Ÿ™‚

Ohh, I almost forgot – I promised y’all outtakes! Let’s revel in the unflattery together:

MMM'14- Outtakes
Most of my photos end up looking like this haha. I dunno why, but I always close my eyes when the picture is being taken (not to mention… whatever my mouth is doing. I guess I was in the middle of talking haha. OK FINE I BASICALLY NEVER SHUT UP)

MMM'14- Outtakes
If anyone happens to see where I left my arm, I’d appreciate your help.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Original photobomb did it better

MMM'14- Outtakes
Look at the fear in Amelia’s eyes hahahahahaha

MMM'14- Outtakes
I just think this is cute. Amelia doesn’t care much for being held (despite my consistent grabby hands at her), but she loooves having her butt scratched.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Hey, that’s almost a good picture! Until you zoom in a bit…

MMM'14- Outtakes
That, my friends, is the face of a cat who’s completely given up on life.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Ok, this is my favorite outtake and the one that made me laugh the hardest. This is a really unflattering picture of both of us – I’m pulling some kind of weird face (again, seriously, probably in the middle of talking) and Amelia just looks PISSED.

MMM'14- Outtakes
If that doesn’t look like the devil incarnate, I don’t know what does.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Bombshell Swimsuit: a Review and a Giveaway!

10 Jun

Remember this little teaser during the last week of Me Made May?

5/27

The pattern has been released so I can announce it now… allow me to introduce the Bombshell Swimsuit, from Heather Lou at Closet Case Files!

And now, I’m going to post pictures of myself in a bathing suit, on the internet. Eep.
(Also, can we talk about how Landon laughed at me when he saw me tromping out the backdoor in this swimsuit with these shoes? Excuse me, but if I’m going to stand half-naked for pictures on the internet, I’m at least going to make sure my legs look AWESOME, ok??)

Bombshell Swimsuit

When Heather Lou contacted me about testing this swimsuit pattern, I hadn’t even finished reading the email before my yes response was being sent right back to her (ok ok… let’s be honest here, it was more like OIASDL;GAJSD;LFAJSDF OMG FUCK YES !!!!!). I’ve never made a swimsuit, although this year I was ready to try. I had bought some fun swimsuit fabric and lining while in New York, and had a 70s bikini pattern that I planned to make up. But have you SEEN this sexiness?! Bikini went on the backburner, Bombshell hit my cutting table.

Bombshell Swimsuit

I won’t lie, there was a minute there when I hesitated, and then got scared. Like I said, I’ve never made a swimsuit before, let alone any sort of lingerie. As much as I looove working with knits and stretchy fabrics, sewing on elastic with that a zigzag stitch is totally uncharted territory for me. Not to mention I didn’t have enough fabric to muslin this, so it was really a testament of trusting the pattern sizing, and crossing my fingers in hopes I got it right the first time.

Bombshell Swimsuit

Spoiler: I did! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is PRETTY CUTE, amirite?! Let’s see, I sewed the size 8 – I fit exactly into the 34-26.5-36 measurements – and the fit is SPOT-ON. I did not many any changes to the sizing of this pattern whatsoever. Dreamy, right? I used a gingham swimsuit lycra for the suit, and a proper nude swimsuit lining for the inside. I put bra cups in the front to avoid any nippage. The only thing I did not do was use proper swimsuit elastic. Ahhh, I’m so sorry! Truth, I was pushing really hard to finish this before I went on vacation, and I didn’t have a chance to run to the fabric store for swimsuit elastic (if you are sitting here thinking, “wtf are you on, Lauren, elastic is elastic is elastic” let me tell you that swim elastic is different because it won’t break down over time like standard polyester elastic). I did have some cotton elastic that *said* it was good for swimwear, but we’ll see if that actually stands the test of time. If not, I can always replace the elastic later. Ain’t no thang!

Bombshell Swimsuit

I LOVE THE WAY THIS SUIT LOOKS ON ME, THOUGH. Look at how flattering it is – and fully covered! Like I said before, I was very hesitant to actually wear this in the water, for fear that it would… I dunno, disintegrate and float away into the ocean, maybe? Shouldn’t have worried, though, as this baby stuck to me like a comfy second skin and didn’t budge at all while I was thrashing around in the waves. And I felt SO SWANK sitting on my beach chair, reading a book and sipping a cocktail.

Bombshell Swimsuit

As far as the actual construction… I really should not have worried! The instructions can look a bit intimidating at first glance (Me: “OH SHIT what is all this elastic stretch percentage talk here I can’t math this HELP”), but each step made perfect sense as I approached it. Making this swimsuit was very intuitive – for someone who’s never made swimwear before – and there are lots of pictures and words in the instructions to guide you along and hold your hand. If you still need help, there is now a Sewalong to really clear things up!

Bombshell Swimsuit
Bombshell Swimsuit
(I don’t know why these pictures turned the color all crazy. Sorry.)

Bombshell Swimsuit

So… a little tip about those bra cups. I actually tried to buy them while I was in NY, but I got SUPER overwhelmed by all the options available (Sonja and Oona can attest to the fact that I was lurking in the back of each store, putting cups over my boobs and trying to decide was size to get! HAHAHA). I ended up going home with none. Fast forward to this swimsuit, and part of my freakout was that I didn’t have any bra cups to put in – and no time to order online, let alone go to the fabric store. So how did I end up with cups, you might ask? I went to the thrift store, grabbed a bikini top from the 99ยข section, and cut the cups out! They fit just fine and I know they’re good for swimwear because, duh, they came out of a bikini ๐Ÿ™‚

Now here’s the best part – Heather Lou has graciously offered up a freebie pattern to give away to one of y’all! YAY!!! BOMBSHELLS FOR EVERYONE!! Don’t let yourself get scared away from the concept of sewing swimwear – it’s really fun and YOU CAN DO IT.

For a chance to win a PDF copy of the Bombshell Swimsuit, leave a comment here on this post and let me know what fabric you’d use to make it! If you have a specific fabric in mind, or just a color or pattern that you’d love to see it made up in, do share! I’m nosy and I need to know! This giveaway is open worldwide – as long as you have email and can receive PDF attachments, you can win this pattern. I will close the comments next Monday AM, 6/17, so get yer entries in while you can!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Bombshell Swimsuit

If you want to go ahead and buy the pattern, you can do so here ($10 only, hells yes). Thanks to Heather Lou, for letting me test this amazing pattern and also for providing a giveaway copy!

Good luck, y’all!