Today marks the end of our month-long FTC Swim Suit Sew Along! We have had so many of you drop into the store and shop online for supplies that we cannot wait to see all of the adventurous finished projects. Don't forget that you have until the end of today to share your projects on Instagram using the hashtag #FTCSwimSuitSAL to be entered into our finished project and work in progress giveaways.
For this sew along, Marta and Christina were excited to dive right in. Both had made suits in the past but were up for a new adventure. So how did it go?
Pattern: Muna and Broad Banksia Bralette, self drafted bottoms (from my favorite Arq undies)
Fabric used: Earl Ribbed Stripe Ponte di Roma, Black AND 4way Stretch Seersucker in Sea Turtle from Nafeel
Size made: (Banksia Bralette) Size D + D cup Full Bust
Modifications: Added 2" added to rise of my bottoms for that extra high waist, squared + scooped the neckline of the Banksia and omitted the support slings (more on that later)
Pattern: Cashmerette Ipswich Two Piece Swimsuit
Fabric Used: Performance Knit in Rhodophyta and lined in Stretch Lining Fabric in Black
Modifications: Modified the back into one piece and left out cup support
"Even though this wasn't my first dip into sewing my own swimwear, it was still a bit of a wild ride," said Marta. "I'll admit. I made this suit two times with very different fit results."
Christina ran into an issue as well. "I found it most challenging once I stopped following the pattern instructions and 'going rogue' as I tend to do," said Christina. "I didn't want the bra cup structure built in because I don't really need it, so I just made the top back one solid piece. Then, after finishing the edges, attaching the straps proved difficult."
Both Marta and Christina chose the swim suit patterns they went with because of their classic design and simplistic style.
"My first suit took shape nicely," said Marta. "I chose a classic black rib from our selection of swim fabrics at the shop and set to work on my modifications. To account for the fact that this fabric only has 2 way stretch, not 4 way as is recommended for swimwear, I lengthened the top by 2" and the straps by 2" as well as raising the rise on my bottoms by 2". I figured that this would do the trick. Friends, it did not do the trick! The suit does fit me, but the instead of being extra high rise, the bottoms are more of a classic mid-rise, and because the straps on the top do not stretch, I have to pull the top so far forward in order to cover my bust that the back rides all the way up, even with the added 2 inches! This is hardly ideal. Looking back, adding only 2" to the straps is laughable."
Marta was in good spirits about her first make though. She felt ready to take on the project again and knew it allowed her to also understand why so many makers are intimidated by swim suit projects.
"Please use this story of failure as inspiration. Learn from my mistakes, and go forth into sewing your own swimwear confidently. The worst that can happen is that your suit doesn't fit. Luckily you won't need much fabric to try again. I will remake this classic black suit, with the two way stretch fabric, and it will be a favorite for years to come, I'm sure. When I do remake it, you can be sure that I will be adding length to my straps, I think I want them to tie at the shoulders, so I'm going to add approximately 12"-18" (to allow for tie adjustments), and height to the rise of my bottoms, 8"-10". You can always make something shorter/smaller, but rarely can you make things bigger/taller. A lesson I learn over and over again."
Christina agreed. "I chose the Cashmerette Ipswich because I liked the simplicity of the silhouette but with the interesting seam lines. This suit was designed to be color-blocked, which I did not do, but I think it's a great design feature. Now that I am done I think if I were to go back again, I would have finished the top and attached the straps differently. Since I have extra fabric, I will probably take the top apart and finish it properly."
Marta knew from the beginning she wanted to make two swim suits so the fact that her first suit wasn't perfect only pushed her to try again!
"My other suit, the one pictured here, is made from a thick, 4 way stretch "seersucker" that I purchased last summer with the intention of making this exact suit. I never got around to it last year so I was ready to try it this year. I cut this one out at the same time as my black one to do some batch sewing and I'm so glad that I did!"
Since this fabric is quite a bit more stretchy, Marta was worried it might not have as much bust support as her previous make. She added support slings from the Banksia pattern. "I think that the support slings are a brilliant idea, and I'm eager to try them out again on a different project since this one didn't really work out," said Marta. "I used our Power Mesh (in Apricot) for the pieces of the sling and since the stretchability of that is less than that of the body of the stretch seersucker the result was that the slings caused a lot of gaping and bunching in the front of the neckline of my swim top. So I removed them! This fixed the problem, and while this top is not the most supportive top ever, it is also completely fine for my purposes - hanging out by the pool, taking a gentle dip and paddle around, floating on my back, etc. I feel supported, contained, and cute in this top even without the slings, or cups, for that matter."
Overall both Marta and Christina was very excited to have completed a swim suit project and feel pumped to make more. "The benefits to making your own suit are that you can get the exact fit that you want, said Christina. "Even though there are some issues with the way I finished the top, I'm really happy with the fit and it's really comfortable!"
Christina adds that she learned that you definitely want use a stretch needle for swim suit projects. She had difficulty with her machine when she tried to use a universal needle but experienced nothing but smooth sailing after she swapped it out for a stretch needle.
"I love this suit," said Marta. "I feel good in it, and I have plans to make more. Gone are the days of having one swimsuit that I don't even really like! I love to swim too much for that to be my reality."