Get ready. This may be a long one.
The Ottawa Garment Guild (I’m on the exec) hosted a swim suit sew-in and of course I had to participate. The sew-in, however, was smack dab in the middle of my craziest time (report cards, dance recital, trying to plan a trip, my daughter falling head-first into the sand, with her eyes open, and needing to see a doctor. You know, life stuff.) so I didn’t have time to do much research or planning. I basically downloaded the Sophie Swimsuit from Closet Case Patterns and crossed prep off my list.
As the sew-in date approached, I started panicking and haphazardly collecting supplies. I ran to the local fabric store to grab swim fabric and came home with a weird, thick, shiny navy that I’m not sure is even swim fabric. I haven’t been swimming yet, so I’m not at all sure how this will fare in the water.
I also did a super last-minute order from the Bra Maker’s Supply , but just quickly read off the materials list without actually understanding what I needed. Thus, I ended up missing or buying the completely wrong item. More on this later.
The day of the sew-in, I struggled. I had forgotten to buy lining so I had to cut out pieces with some last-minute lining a friend picked up for me. I had foam bra cups instead of bra cup foam. I made two right cups. Then my new, left cup, was significantly bigger than the original right. So I stopped and made the Popsicle Kimono, because the more I looked at the teensy cups for my teensy boobs, I realized that this style was just not. going. to. work.
And it’s a good thing, too, because after listening to the Love to Sew Podcast , I realized I hadn’t even bothered to check if my fabric had 4-way stretch. Which it didn’t. If I had made a one-piece as I had planned, I wouldn’t have been able to move in it! So I left the swimsuit tucked away for a while so I could decided what I would do with it.
I finished all of my vacation sewing early, so I decided I would give it another go. I opted to chop off the one-piece into some basic high-waist bottoms and find a completely different pattern for the top. Eventually, I landed on the Swim Style Indigo Ruche top with the criss-cross tye back.
This top is fairly straight forward to make as it’s basically a halter top, so it didn’t take me too long to whip up. I made two big changes that I think make this top significantly more wearable for me. The first change I made was to make the band around the bottom much wider (about three inches) to a) give more coverage, and b) hold it in place a bit better. The second change was that I made my own push-up bra cups.
I have purchased four sets of cups in my frantic BMS order because I knew I would probably want to make a second bathing suit if this one went well (or didn’t) and I wasn’t too sure of my size. Both sets were too big (Surprise! Not.), but I was able to cut down the smaller and use the bigger to make little push-up inserts like you often see in RTW bras. I wear almost exclusively push-up bras because I have really small, pointy boobs. The extra padding helps me fill out an A-cup and helps me look slightly more proportional. I knew this would help me feel better wearing this bathing suit.
It was actually really easy. I basically cut out two long ovals about the size of the inserts you see in bras. I then cut out a smaller oval (about the size of my thumb) to sandwich in between the two and add some roundness. I zig-zagged around the edges of my foam-oval sandwich and attached it to the inside of my cups with a few stitches at each end. You want to place the insert so that one end is at the bottom middle and extends to the outside, rising to about 1/3 of the way up.
I haven’t been to a beach or pool yet this year, but when I do, I will definitely snap some pics to share!