A Summer Jewel

Friday, March 15, 2013

On the last day of summer I decided to sew a pair of bathers.  Maybe not the best timing but the idea had been rolling around in my mind for a while and we had a family holiday planned which included a day at a water park.  New bathers were needed.


I haven't owned a one piece in over 20 years.  I'm fairly proportionately tall (long arms, long legs and long body) which means that RTW bathers don't fit.  I'm either pulling them out of my backside or pulling them up to prevent unintended flashing.  Definitely not a good look and not very comfortable either.  RTW tankinis are no better, they always ride up exposing my stomach.

I decided to use a combination of Kwik Sew 3609 (bust detailing and straps) and Kwik Sew 3779 (lining pieces only).


I made a quick muslin of the body to check the length and then I cut into the good stuff.  I cut a medium adding 1.25 inches through the waist.  I used a matte nylon lycra for the outer fabric and fully lined the body with a lighter weight nylon lycra - both fabrics were lucky finds at Spotlight.  There seemed to differing advice over the type of elastic to use, my only choices were knitted or rubber, I used the rubber.  These were sewn entirely on my sewing machine using either a narrow zig-zag or three step zig-zag.  KS 3779 has a centre back seam which I didn't want so I had to create my own back pattern piece.  I also took my Mum's advice and stitched a piece of woven ribbon into the straps so that they didn't keep on getting longer and longer as they got wet.

I find it difficult to visualise fit if I can't see a picture, be gentle with me!



These were fantastic at Wet'n'Wild, everything stayed where it should, there were no wardrobe malfunctions and I was comfortable.  Three major wins.  That being said there are things I would change.  To me, these are cut incredibly low on the leg, next time I'd probably raise them at least an inch.  This might sound a little strange, but I think they're a little large. Generally bathers have negative ease and these don't have a lot, you can see some excess fabric in the back.  Finally, the back lining got a little baggy when it was wet.  I think that during my late night sewing session I cut the lining fabric with the greatest stretch going vertically instead of horizontally, but all the same I think that I'd cut the lining fabric slightly narrower next time around (more experienced swim wear sewers please chime in with your advice!)  

If, like me, you've never you've never sewn swimwear before I'd recommend starting with a Kwik Sew pattern, the instructions are fantastic.  These were so easy to sew that I've already started dreaming up more ideas.  Then again there are a couple of projects that need completing before they become UFOs and then there's autumn/winter sewing to plan for...

17 comments:

katherine h said...

These turned out great! I love the colour and the style. Swimwear sewing will become addictive...just wait and see!

Scarf said...

They look great - flattering and a nice colour. I imagine you may have got some use from them over the last couple of weeks too despite its supposedly being autumn!

Marie said...

They look fantastic. I love both the pattern and colour you chose.

little betty said...

Great work and great colour. I intended to make swimmers this year for myself and Adele. I have all the supplies, but never got around to it. I really should follow your lead and just do it!

Diann said...

I think you did a fantastic job on your bathers! Well done! And the colour suits you perfectly. I'm not sure I'd ever have the courage to make a pair for myself, even though I have a lot of difficulty getting bathers to fit me. I am a little pear on short legs!

Coco said...

And looking good! Love the color, I think you are so brave to venture into the world of sewing bathers! I've clung to my last RTW purchase for some 10 years now...

Ms. McCall said...

Ohhh these are so lovely. I love the bust ruching, and what a great idea to put a ribbon in the strap - I'm going to have to steal that idea.

Rosi said...

These look great. I particularly like the bust detailing and might look into this pattern next summer. I used to make all my swimwear but have gotten lazy in recent years. I usually buy jets brand (expensive!!!!!) so I really should get back into it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sharon said...

Great swimmer and they look fantastic on you.

PurpleMum said...

Look fantastic Sis, well done. Brings back memories, all those hand made bathers we had over the years...

poppykettle said...

Love them! Sewing bathers is something I'd just love to try - so it's so lovely to see yours be something you like! I have the same drama as you - a long body in comparison to the industry standard one-piece's are usually cut for. Love the colour and the styling at the bust. Looking good!

Bernice said...

Robyn these are fabulous. Perfect in fact. I love the colour and style so much. I think you've done an awesome job of blending the two patterns. I'm definitely going to try sewing a pair of these for myself.

fabric epiphanies said...

You have made a lovely job of these swimming togs and even modeled them for the cause. Good job!

Carolyn said...

You made a brilliant pair of new bathers! I love the colour too.

Adrienne said...

Gorgeous!!!

Kristy said...

Your swimmers look amazing, and what a great tip to include the ribbon in the straps (thanks go to your mum). The fabric was a good find at Spotty too - the only suitable fabric I've seen there have been overly bright and horrible colours

Zoe said...

Holy shit-balls Robyn! This is the nicest swimming costume EVER!!! Gorgeous colour, fantastic style and an awesome fit on you! I'm hella jealous right now xx