Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A Tale of Two Swimsuits

I always wanted a pink swimsuit. When I saw Pattern Review's Activewear Contest, I said, that’s it, it’s time to make a swimsuit. I had NEVER made a swimsuit before, and had zero idea of how difficult it could be. But the optimistic me thought that there are so many online resources nowadays and I could learn, so I took the plunge.

Finding the pattern, learning the skills, choosing fabric and supplies...
I started with last year’s PR contest winner treefrog’s Swimsuit. I really like the design of that swimsuit. I tracked down the seller (also the designer) of that pattern on Esty. I locked my eyes on this swimsuit pattern because: 1) the underwired cups and lapel/turn-back are so eye catching 2) the design is quite unique and modern without straight side seams. So I ordered the patterns all the way from the Netherlands.  

As I was determined to make this swimsuit, while waiting for the pattern, I started reading blogs about bra making.  I got a little bit of an idea what the components of my bra were, but I was still so confused how to install the channelling and sewing the cups.

Two weeks later, I received the pattern in my letter box. I was excited to open the pattern but soon disappointed and stressed after I found out the sewing instructions were like the Burda Style Magazine type – concise, only words and NO ILLUSTRATIONS. I read the instructions many times and I just couldn’t understand and visualise all the steps and the materials.  I GOT STUCK.

The breakthrough is when I posted a question on Melbourne Spoolettes’ FB page (closed group) asking other group members where to source the materials and tips for making swimsuits. One of the ladies recommended the Closet case’s Sophie swimsuit pattern and their online workshop.
I enrolled in the course and it comes with a free pattern. I was surprised. This is the best money I spent on an online sewing course ever! It’s so well presented and extremely informational for a beginner like me.

By then I had met with Georgina at (also recommended by the ladies on FB) She helped me with buying the supplies I need. She explained to me what power net, bra foam and swimwear lining are in great details with the actual product. Combined with the online workshop, I can imagine putting together my swimsuit.

The Remnant Warehouse has a great range of chlorine-resistant swimwear lycra. Most of the printed ones come from Jets Swimwear, a premium Australian swimwear brand. I ordered the

Making it… Muslin #1 Sophie Swimsuit
Initially I only planned to just watch the videos for the bits that I needed for my swimsuit project. I ended up watching the whole course and made a sample of the Sophie Swimsuit. Heather, the presenter, is such a well-spoken and hands-on teacher. She really inspired me to give it a go with her Sophie Swimsuit.
Sophie Swimsuit.... First swimsuit I ever made.

This is the first swimsuit I made. It’s not too bad. There are a few things I can improve on if I make the pattern again (I think I will). But, for now, I learnt some important tips:
1.     Use a walking foot for Lycra. I didn’t know until I watched Heather’s video. It makes a huge difference.
2.     Use straight stitch to sew the cups and use a serger to sew the other seams.
3.     Use clear elastic to stabilise the top edge of the cup (more details below).
4.     The long arrows on swimsuit patterns are actually stretch lines. You need to find the more stretchy direction of the fabric, which can be lengthwise, or crosswise depend on the fabric, and align the pattern pieces along the stretch line.

Finally making it… Muslin #2 my swimsuit
After practising sewing a swimsuit with Sophie (above), I still wanted to make a muslin of my swimsuit to check the fitting, and practise again.

Luckily I made this muslin, I found a couple of areas I need to improve such as the cups. As you can see in the photo below:

Finally Really Making it… the Real Swimsuit
Yay, I am finally cutting the fabulous fabric for my swimsuit.

Apart from the fitting changes mentioned above, I also make some changes on the construction:
1.     I added a power net to line the upper cup (see the photo below)
2.     I added a swimwear lining to the front body piece and the shoulder straps because the printed fabric is thinner than the plain one.

So it’s done

I would really like to wear it to the beach and take some photos, but I only finished it today and I need to post it up for PR’s activewear contest. However, I will put up some photos once I have a chance to go to the beach.

The past month is such a steep learning curve for me. I really enjoy the whole learning experience, although sometimes it’s a bit stressful with a deadline at the back of my mind. Like making my wedding gown from zero knowledge a few years ago, this is such fun learning a whole new skill and it’s really encouraging for me to take on any project in the future. I am looking forward to starting making my own bras.

Happy sewing.
Cloud is such a good companion


  1. Beautifully done! I've only made one swimsuit, also from Closet Case (the Bombshell) and their instructions were so helpful. Hope you have a chance to test it in the water soon!

    1. I am glad I found Closet Case and their workshop. I think I couldn't finish it before the contest ends if I hadn't watch their online course. It's tempting the sign up their another course for jeans making too...

  2. You have nailed this. Beautiful sewing, fabulous fit and a great story!

    1. I saw your Sophie Swimsuit on Bloglovin and it encouraged me to make one. At that time, I was watching the workshop and your blog post made me decide to make the pattern and maybe I would like it better. Well my Sophie looks too amateur compared to yours, but I'll try to make a better one next time.

  3. What a great fit you have with your swimsuit. It looks amazing on you. Well done!


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