I made a swimsuit! The final sewing frontier has been reached. Here are my many mods, my thoughts on sewing swimwear and my review of the Cottesloe Swimsuit pattern by Megan Nielsen.
Pattern: Cottesloe by Megan Nielsen
Fabric: Scuba Jersey Knit in Camelia Embers, 1 yard
Size Made: 10
Modifications: excluded elastic in the arm and leg holes, drafted down 2" on hip for more coverage
I have to admit, I was intimidated by sewing swimwear. Thankfully, my friend Sara is always here to help out when I'm taking on a new and scary sewing project - thank you, Sara!! Sara had made many swimsuits and had many tips for me that I'll pass along to you (tomorrow in our tips and tricks of swimwear post).
Folks: I basically made two swimsuits. Here's what happened. My first take, I made a size 6 top and a size 10 bottom (based on my measurements). Both were too tight. This Scuba Jersey has much less stretch than a traditional swimwear jersey so size up! (And learn from my mistake!) Lucky for me, Sara had made a size 10 top in this pattern, so I tried it on and decided to make a size 10 top. I didn't like the way the elastic on the armholes squeezed my body, and this scuba is very sturdy with good recovery. So for my second top, I opted to omit the elastic from the arm holes. That's right. I just folded the edges over 3/8" and sewed them using the Tricot Zig Zag stitch. I still used the elastic on the neck opening and the bottom band. It totally worked!
So then... I decided to try and take the elastic out of my size 10 bottoms to see if they would then fit better and not be so snug on my thighs. I would not recommend this at home. I had to unpick two lines of zig zag stitching on each leg hole which took as long as it took to make the entire ensemble. I then finished the leg holes as I had the arms. It worked in making them a bit less tight. Overall, I think the bottoms would look and feel better if I sized up. I really didn't feel like re-making them so I've just been getting used to wearing them as is. It's alright!
I made one other big modification that was a real risk and worked out: I wanted the bottoms to have more coverage - i normally wear boyshort-style bottoms in my swimwear. To add coverage, I drafted down the outer hip line a full 2" down my leg. I did this on both the front and back pattern pieces. Then I had to re-draw the leg line. I have no experience drafting patterns. I just totally winged it, trying to mimic the basic curves of the original lines. I would say it worked! I'm happy with the amount of coverage. This modification could also have affected the fit.
I feel like my first one (and a half) swimsuit was mostly successful! Mostly, I'm proud of myself for taking on the challenge and I learned a lot. The biggest takeaway is that it really wasn't as hard as I thought. For all these words, I made everything in one afternoon, so overall, it was a quick sew.
(Check back tomorrow for some of our tips and tricks of sewing swimwear!)