This was not my first foray in sewing lycra. I attempted to sew some high waisted swim bottoms before my trip to Europe in May, but I was short on time and the first two muslins needed more work. I abandoned my sewing and picked up a swimsuit at Marshalls instead. I had work to do, friends to visit and needed to pack–I couldn’t stress over swimwear.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I returned home and had a chance to read some blogs. The bombshell was popping up everywhere, and I was stoked to find out Heather Lou did us all a favor and published her lovely swimsuit pattern!!
It was tough deciding which version to make first. While I went with version B, I still think about version A and what might have been. But ultimately, I really like the plunging neckline of B. But here’s where I ran into a little trouble: I think the waistline might be a smidge to high and/or loose for me because it was riding up and causing a little bit of gaping around my girls.
I didn’t want to unpick the elastic and layers of zigzag stitching, but that’s what I did. I completely took apart the front waistline and reassembled it, stretching the elastic tighter the second time around. It really helped, and the top is laying a little more flat and secure now.
Looking back on the pattern and measurements, I realize I probably should have graded to a smaller size for the upper waist–I’m definitely pear shaped. And if I shortened the bodice a half inch or so, the top of the waistline would sit a little lower. The bodice length doesn’t seem too far off though, until I tie the halter straps. The straps need to be quite snug in order to prevent gaping, and I think that is partly why the waistline is pulling upward. SO, I think I would start by narrowing the waistline on any future versions.
The only other area that did not fit satisfactorily was the back bottom. The outer fabric is kinda just hanging loose back there. The lining fits snuggly, but the outer fabric is cut wider than the lining, and the gathers are droopey. One reason I can offer for this is that the side seam is pulled toward the back where the front lining ends. I used a thicker navy lycra to line the back piece, and I think it’s stronger than the skirt panel where there isn’t lining in the front, resulting in the seam shifting towards the rear. It’s disappointing since the gathers over the bum are such a cute design! It wasn’t until after I finished the leg openings that I realized how much that hanging fabric bothered me. And I really didn’t want to rip all that elastic out and start again. So, I’ll just live with a little sagging in the bottom. Next time I think I’ll trim the outer fabric a little closer to the width of the lining–I don’t see the function in having the outer fabric significantly wider. It would be easy enough to add a lining piece to the bottom of the front skirt to help stretch the side seams evenly too. Working with lycra is like tug-of-war! I’m just a tad imbalanced, but I am stoked on my new swimsuit and plan to make more.
I’ve got a version C in mind. I hope I can get to it before summer ends. I’ve been distracted this week with sewing a blouse, and I’ve got two sun dresses planned out, amongst other things.
What are you working on as we approach the last leg of summer?