Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This could be boring

I swim regularly and a couple of weeks ago I lost my swimsuit when I absent-mindedly left it at the pool.  Who would take a used, wet swimsuit, you might ask?  I'm asking too, because someone did.

So I have fabric, a pattern, and elastic, and I'm not letting myself set foot in a store to spend money to buy more of the same, assembled into a bitty little scrap of a garment.  No-sirreee!

Instead, I spent an inordinate amount of time  assembling a muslin swimsuit from my pattern, Jalie 3134.  It took so long because my fabric (from Speedo according to the selvedge, 100% polyester, will wear like iron) has less stretch in the length than Jalie wants, so I had to guesstimate the length.  I'm wary because I used the fabric once before, to make a bodysuit, and it was too short.

Inevitably I overcompensated, and this post is intended, in part, as a personal note so I will remember what I did, should I ever decide to make this pattern out of similar fabric again.

I traced size R on top, S on the bottom, and used size V length.  I discovered that the inset on the front hip has no shaping in it and since I'm not using any contrast fabric, I have stuck the two pieces together.

I made my muslin out of slightly stretchier 100% poly and the length was fine.  Comparing the traced pattern and the pattern for my bodysuit, I found they were the same length so I added an inch of length to all pieces and cut out my suit.  So now I'm taking about half this extra length out on the fly.  I slid the centre front piece down by that amount and cut off the top and upper side and I did the same with the lower back piece.  I plan to adjust the side front in sewing, by sliding it down and cutting off the extra length at the leg edge.  I think there is enough wiggle room because of the straps to adjust the final fit once the elastic is installed.

Two more adjustments were needed for fit.  I took a wedge of approximately .5" (1.5cm) out of the inner edge of the lower back piece.  You can see why in the photo at right (published in the interests of science but with some trepidation, I must say).  Ignore the interesting moebius strap effect please.  (I'm wearing my ancient suit underneath to compare the shape and placement of straps etc.)

And to improve coverage at the side/back leg, I'm adding extra width there.  You can see the reason why at left.  That model has no butt at all.

Pink palm trees.  Probably not to be finished...


  1. I am impressed with anyone who attempts a bathing suit! Carolyn has made a few good ones over at http://handmadebycarolyn.blogspot.co.uk.

  2. I love your bathing suit (to be!). Your skills are fantastic. I too recently lost a suit - at the Beverly Hills Hilton - left it wet and someone took it! What the heck?

    I get my suits at North Shore Swimwear (North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii and online) and if you call them they will (in addition to their stock) send a category of styles, and you can custom order no additional charge. I keep two on hand, two tankinis and bottoms, and matching bikini top (for sport use) - it criss-crosses in the back. I also have two one-pieces for sport swimming at the pool two blocks from my work (not from North Shore - the standard swim team suits).

    That said I have the component to make a suit but haven't yet - I am following yours closely. Seemingly I worry I don't have the execution skills.

  3. Nice job! Stretch knits can be so hard to work with, glad you can save your suit :) And I think you look amazing!

  4. Thanks for explaining how to do the muslin! My daughter measures 3 sizes too, so when I make hers I will have a better idea of what to do.