May 27, 2012

Swimming in my Swimming Suit

 Kwik Sew 3779
(The internet and I just got a bit more cozy.)

Sorry for not being around much the past week, but I think I have a good excuse: SWIMSUITS! Yes, I've been sewing swim suits. As of now I have 3.5 done (I'm working on some bikini bottoms). I won't show those others for awhile but this is the first of the batch that I told myself I had to finish before starting on new suits.


I have a couple explanations I want to get out of the way - no, I did not intend to copy the pattern's envelope photo (Kwik Sew 3779). Originally I wanted to make the strapless style in purple until I bough a swim bra made for halter tops which necessitated Version B of the pattern. I never ended up using that bra, though, so... whatever.

Kwik Sew 3779

And then since I figured I already made a copy of the envelope sample I might as well go all the way and wear a statement necklace like the lady in the photo. Because when I go swimming I totally want to wear fancy jewelry (not!). Oh, well, I guess since I am no where near a body of water and instead am in my backyard getting bitten my mosquitoes I can wear a necklace if I feel like it.

Kwik Sew 3779
(Fun Fact: I'm proud to say that these pics were only minimally Photoshopped. Like for the birthmark on my hip... the internet and I don't need to be that close.)

Also, I cut the pattern pieces out about a year ago during my first foray into swim suit sewing. I finished one suit last year but never posted about it because the bra cups I bought were waaaaay too stiff and I never bothered to fix the suit. That being said, I've lost weight since last year and now the size M that I cut is waaaay too big and I look like I'm swimming in it (ha, I made a pun).

But I thought I'd still post this suit as a review of the pattern and supplies I used.

Kwik Sew 3779
(This is the only back shot you're going to get, so be happy about it.)

If you've never sewn a swim suit before they are quite easy and quick. If you've made a bra then swim suits will be a breeze. Even if you haven't made a bra they're still a breeze.

There aren't many commercial swim suit patterns. Kwik Sew has a handful and so does Jalie. Some bra pattern makers also have swimwear patterns. The big four don't have much of a selection but I like this new one from McCall's.

As for this suit I liked the ruching and the halter top had decent sized straps. The construction was fairly easy and if you pay attention to the illustrations and instructions you shouldn't have any problems.


I said that I never ended up using my halter-style swim bra because I bought these cups from Sew Sassy. After looking at a RTW swim suit I already own I realized it used the same cups. I believe you can also insert them in either direction (flat edge up or down). For this suit I just stuck each one in the halter triangles and sewed everything together like normal. After observing lots of bikini tops at Target (more like fondling them, if we're going to be honest) I found that often they had the same cups stuffed between the outer and lining fabrics and I thought if it was good enough for them it was good enough for me.

If you're wondering if the cups get bunched up or wiggle around all loose inside the suit, surprisingly they don't! They just sit there being nice and not moving around. The best part is I didn't have to stitch them in place like this style.

Also, the other view of this pattern calls for elastic under the bust for support. With the strap style you don't need that extra elastic but if I made this again I'd add it for extra stability and support.


Kwik Sew 3779
(See how much fabric I can pull away at the sides. The ruching ought to look more tight like this rather than lumpy and saggy. Ew.)

I started adding elastic to the neck and arm holes. That's when I knew the suit was going to be too big so I shortened the leg elastic by about an inch and a half. Now the leg holes fit much better than the top but even so, the torso is still too big which causes the ruching to look sloppy rather than taut. The only way I could fix that would be to take the whole thing apart again and sew up the sides and re-sew all the elastic... That prospect certainly doesn't excite me.

Oh, and when doing all the ruching make sure you are accurate. On side isn't as ruched at the bottom as the other... annoying.

Kwik Sew 3779
(Fun Fact: This is probably the only time you'll ever see me where flip-flops. Because I hate them. A lot.)

I doubt I'll be bringing this suit on my vacation this summer. Perhaps I'll give it away to a friend. I still like the style and might try another version sometime soon. Even if it wasn't a complete fitting success I do think it was a technical success and I'm applying what I learned in the suits I'm sewing now!

BTW, I'd love to see others' handmade swimsuits so if you've made one leave the link so I can check it out and be inspired!

27 comments:

  1. I can't drag my eyes away from that shade of purple. It is perfect. It is, like, the exact color I want my entire universe to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, thanks for all the review/info/whatnot on swimsuitage! I enjoyed the post generally, I am just entranced by PURPLE

      Delete
    2. haha, i love the purple, too. i forgot to mention i bought the fabric at Joann so if you live in the US it should be pretty easy to find the same purple.

      Delete
  2. Oh, goodness, well first of all, it needs to be said that you LOOK AMAZING and I can't believe you posted yourself online in a swimsuit but God, you look awesome. I have pondered making my own swimsuit but I'm still too much of a wimp. I'm working on underwear first, and then I will move on to swimwear. PS: I also hate flip flops. SO UNCOMFORTABLE. Why do people like such things?

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, thanks bunches, Leah. ;) And YES - flip flops are awful.

      Delete
  3. Wow! Awesome. I think it still looks great, even though it's a bit big. Definitely doesn't look homemade. :) you are mighty brave to show pictures in the suit, that's awesome! I'm too much of a chicken for that. :P I am starting to venture into swimsuit sewing... I have completed one and am in the middle of another. I agree that it's hard to find patterns. If you want to check out the swimsuit I made here's the link:
    beautifullyinspired.com/2012/04/back-in-action-maybe/ It was a little tough, but not too bad. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kara, I checked out your suit - awesome. ;)

      Delete
  4. This is so impressive!! It's a shame it came out big as it suits you so well. And it's all about the statement necklace to turn a light paddle into a weighted workout! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You look FANTASTIC in that suit! Perfect colour and so flattering too! I love all the unconventional things you sew - bras, swimsuits, underwear. You've inspired me to expand my horizons. I don't think a swimsuit will be in the works - but I do plan to sew my own bra.

    Nothy
    www.aftagley.blogspot.ca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I think you'll get more use out of a bra. I mean, how often do you go swimming vs wearing a bra? I think underwear is kind of like a gateway drug to swimwear, haha.

      Delete
  6. I'll add my compliments in here too - you look Fantastic!! The cut and the color are so flattering! I can't wait to see what other styles you're working on. I've never sewn a swimsuit and kept thinking that this summer I'd do it, but I couldn't choose a fabric and it kept getting pushed deeper and deeper into the depths of my to-sew list so I finally just caved and bought myself a new one from academy. Its not the prettiest, but it serves its purpose! Maybe next year I'll tackle swimwear, and in the meantime I'll be checking out your blog with my eagle eye to see what I can learn!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks sallie! I'm glad I finally finished this UFO even if it doesn't totally fit. It's a satisfying experience. Knowing you, though, whenever you do make a swimsuit it'll be super fashionable and awesome looking!

      Delete
  7. I'm amazed! It looks fantastic. Well done. I bought supplies for making a swimsuit last summer but never delved in to it. I may have to give it a go this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it! They're really fun to make.

      Delete
  8. I love this! It's gorgeous! Swimsuits seem quite scary to me-- I feel like it would be so hard to get the fit right! But I think you did a great job! Seriously, impressive work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I think because the fabric is so stretchy it's very forgiving in the fit department. It's probably harder to find a design that looks good on your body shape or a style that you like than it is to make one that fits, I bet.

      Delete
  9. You did a great job! I tried a vintage pattern last year and am ready to make something stretchy. That pattern definitely has an 80's vibe!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow!!! Great job!!! There's nothing more rewarding then being able to sew up your own swimsuit(I
    ve sewn 2 myself). I've always been "taken aback" by their high-in-store costs. Geesh, we're only talking about 1 yrd of fabric and some elastic. Again, great work:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I agree - RTW swim suits, at least the well-made ones, cost so much for such a tiny garment.

      Delete
  11. Great swimsuit! Great color!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh wow, you made a swimsuit! And posed in it!
    Too bad it turned out too big, it's very pretty and the colour looks great on you. Similar to your haircolour a while ago, no? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, you're right! Too bad I don't still have purple hair now, I could match.

      Delete
  13. Beautiful color and great swimsuit. Too bad it turned out too big, but congrats on the weight loss, you look fantastic :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your suit is beautiful, even if it's too big - nice job! I just finished my first one and found your blog while surfing around PR for ideas on the second one, which needs to have a halter top, due to lack of boobage. I was checking to see if this shirred pattern enhanced that area, and found your link to how to sew in bra cups - thanks for including that!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I wonder if you could just sew that center gathered seam a little deeper (rather than deal with the side seams)

    You'd have to be careful not to make it too deep or your side seams would move forward at the waist. Or maybe you could even take them in a little between the the underarm and the leg elastic.

    On the other hand, if the suit is lined separately...all bets are off.

    It really looks fine as-is, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, that might be an option. The lining is not gathered, however so that's problem.
      Thanks, the suit looks ok just standing but when I sit down the halter area falls forward and, um, well, exposes things. Ha, you get the idea. ;)

      Delete