Friday, June 3, 2016

Swimsuit for me

Money being what it is and shopping for bathing suits what it is...and even so not really seeing what I wanted on offer, I decided to make my own. Crazy, but it apparently worked.

I got Butterick 5795 from a large chain store for $1 or $1.67 on one of the big sales. The problem was that it has a skirt, but it doesn't have shorts to wear as the bottom and that's what I wanted. My old suit was sort of loose shorts with an attached brief. They were ok, but not awesome. What I really wanted was bike shorts with a skirt over. So I'll go through all the modifications and changes I made.


One thing nice about this pattern is that it does have cup sizes that you can pick from - but unfortunately, they're A-D and I'm a little larger.  The other thing is that by measurements around the top I needed a 20W and around the hips/butt I needed the 24W (both of these are sort of horrifying as I wear 16W off the shelf). I decided not to use the high bust and do a full bust adjustment because, to be quite honest, the instructions are way too complicated. I instead decided to use the 20W which was right for around my bust and then see if I needed to snug up above.

The other problem was with the infrastructure. I couldn't find the foam locally, only by ordering from a bra supply or similar. So then I would need to have ordered more or pay more in shipping than the cost of what I was ordering. I ended up going to Walmart and finding a bra with essentially the same size cups (one size larger in band and one size smaller in cup size - they don't carry my exact size). Actually it was a 3 pack for $9.97 or something.

So I traced the pattern on the cheap tissue paper you get to wrap presents with which is definitely not the best but was ok. I traced the shoulders out in 20W and the hips in 24 W and then connected the lines. I wasn't sure this would work at all so I found an old t-shirt in the rag bag and made a test one. It seemed ok. 

I used the stretch overlock stitch suggested by Deby on Sew So Easy which was so so so much better than just the zigzag. It was just as stretchy but without the gaps you get with zigzag.

I tried pinning the bra in as it came from the store, but the cups were too close together. I was really sort of wondering how I would keep the cups actually sitting in the right place. I ended up cutting them off completely and sewing them in the size D lining.

I originally finished it with just the 3/8" swimsuit elastic under the bra-lining but nothing stayed. So I ripped that out and sewed in a piece of 1" waistband elastic that I sure hope will hold up. It immediately fixed the initial problem. 

One other thing is that while this lining was fine for the inside of the cups, it was no where near stretchy enough for the remainder of the top or the bottom. It's ok, but not great.

My sewing on the inside is horrible, but it feels ok, and for the most part won't be seen.

I did learn when putting in the elastic around the arms and the neck that it would have been ok to shorten it a bit and also after I flipped it in, I should have sewed a little farther from the edge so it didn't want to flip back over.


This was supposed to be very simple and with just 3/8" swimsuit elastic around the waist, but meh. So I added a "yoga" waistband just made from a loop of fabric the same size as that area below my waist. It's not sewn on perfectly, but it's very comfortable and I can low ride the skirt if I like. 

I hemmed using a 4mm double needle, but I could not get the tension right at all. If I had to do it again, I would have just zigzagged.


I originally couldn't decide how to line these. Should I just put a brief inside? Not line? Line crotch? Line whole thing? I ended up doing the last, which I think is for the best as they sort of smooth now. 

These are using Deby's So Sew Easy calculator spreadsheet. It's awesome. The only thing I would like to improve in my future uses of this is to probably make the waistband smaller and higher. With these, they sort of pull down when I lean over. I originally cut them to the knee measurement and then decided after I tried them on how much to cut off. They're now about 3" above the knee.

The waistband is done with a three stitch zigzag as she suggests. The hem is a regular zigzag but my machine was not liking the stupid lining. So I actually sewed just the lining to the suit then trimmed the lining to the seam and then sewed just three layers for the visible hem. It worked.

It fits on me beautifully. I think I could make another much more easily - well except sewing in the cups was a real hassle. I'm sure actually making cups would have been quicker in the end. I'm glad I tried it.

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