Swimsuit in Navy

I’ve joined the ranks of the bombshell wearing ladies of summer!  Here she is, my first me-made swimsuit in striped navy blue.

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?


  1. I love your version! This is the first one I’ve seen in view b. I hope you get your summer sewing finished. I have more to do, but we’ve got probably three months left of warm weather here. :)

    1. Thanks Tanya! Now that I think about it, I’m sure Texas will be warm for another 2-3 months as well… I’m used to thinking summer ends when school starts I guess ;) And Santa Cruz (my home town) was never all that warm, even at it’s warmest!

  2. I love it!!! The bottom back issue you’ve described sounds like a very vintage design that might be better with a different fabric that doesn’t stretch, either that or updated to stretch tightly around the bum like we are used to in swimwear the last 20 years

  3. Oh my gosh, the fit is so perfect, I definitely don’t see the problem with the back bottom at all. I don’t have this pattern yet, but you are making me change my mind!

  4. Ah! You, as well as all the other ladies who made the bombshell this summer, look great! Not many made the plunging neckline though and I’m glad you chose this silhouette. It definitely flatters you!

  5. You look amazing and so does your suit! Very professional looking. I also bought some navy fabric to make the other version but I haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. I’m going to run out of summer here pretty soon! Eek!

  6. Looking good!!! Isn’t this pattern just the greatest! I think I might give this version a go next time. I haven’t even tested mine out in the waters yet…. I’ve got a whole list of stuff I’m working on for end of summer but I highly doubt I accomplish it all.

  7. I find your swimsuit truly wonderful! It’s elegant and totally vintage, please do not be so hard on yourself … working with Lycra can be very stressful, but all is well here. Many kisses from Spain!

  8. It’s gorgeous!!! I’ve yet to see one of these being modelled that doesn’t look amazing… so maybe I’ll have to try this out when the southern hemisphere’s summer rolls around! I love the navy blue on you :)

  9. Someone may have already suggested the bottom hem after you’ve trimmed it to fit the lining more might be reinforced with the clear elastic?

  10. Just popping in to say that I had major sagging in the back of my bombshell. I ended up sewing the back pieces to the crotch with a huge seam allowance, and that took care of the excess fabric. It works now, but I definitely want to prevent that from happening at all on my next one.

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