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Drafting a Baby Swimsuit
finding specific measurements
sugarduck
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sugarduck
Intermediate
FRANCE
Member since 2/7/10
Posts: 330
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Date: 4/12/12 7:37 AM

I'm planning to sew my daughter a swimsuit for this summer and am having a hard time figuring out the appropriate measurements needed in order to draft the pattern. What I'm looking for specifically are measurements for the leg openings, outseam, and front/back rise. I haven't seen any of this listed on pattern envelopes or elsewhere. My daughter will be around 9-10 months old when she'll wear the suit (she's 5 months now); she'll obviously be doing a lot of growing over the next 4-5 months, so I can't depend on her current measurements.

I have thought about maybe tracing around a baby bodysuit/onesie to get a basic idea of the shape and dimensions, but I'm wondering how much I would need to "shrink" the pattern to allow for the stretchier swimsuit material. In other words, if I'm making a swimsuit for a 9-month old, should I trace around a 9-month size onesie or maybe a 6-month size onesie?

Any tips or suggestions would be very much appreciated!

ryan's mom
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ryan's mom
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Date: 4/12/12 10:57 AM

This is what I would do. Try to obtain a swimsuit in the size you need from a second-hand store, Salvation Army, or Goodwill type of store. I can't imagine they'd be anything more than $5, maybe $2 or $3 if that. Or maybe a friend or family member can provide you with one for free.

Use duct tape and "trace" off the suit in it's unstretched stage. What do I mean by this? You'd have to see this post on how I traced off a newly-washed, RTW pair of my jeans to compare it to a Jalie Jeans pattern to check for fit. Scroll past down the jeans photos, and you'll see what I mean. (And don't look at the pics because I was 12 lbs. heavier back then...with no waist lol!)

I would do the same procedure to the basic bodice of a washed, gently-worn, RTW bathing suit on the front and back to form the basic block. Then peel off the duct tape, trace out the shape on tracing paper, and there's a basic pattern. You'd just have to make sure you don't stretch the material when applying the tape, but that shouldn't be too hard to do.

It's an idea. I've done this technique, but never on a swimsuit so I'm just throwing ideas out there for you. I've done it on stretch jeans though.

------
Big 4 Pattern size 12, RTW bottom: 6, RTW jacket 8, RTW top (no size fits me well!)
Measurements: 34 HB/36 FB (34C bra)/27.5/36 (and working hard to keep it that way.)
Machines: Sewing: Elna 760, vintage Kenmore Model 33 (1967), Janome Gem Gold 3. Sergers: Babylock Imagine and Babylock Enlighten. Embroidery Only: Janome 300E. Coverstitch: Janome CP1000. Straight Stitch: Janome 1600P.

If you think your sewing is better than everyone else's around here, get out of my way b****. I hate sewing snobs.

My blog: www.phatchickdesigns.blogspot.com

kittykate
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kittykate
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Ontario CANADA
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Date: 4/12/12 12:13 PM

Kwik Sew 3606 if you can find it. I think it's OOP.

sugarduck
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sugarduck
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FRANCE
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Date: 4/12/12 1:52 PM

I've seen a lot of references to that Kwik Sew pattern. It definitely looks like the go-to pattern for making baby and toddler swimsuits. I might try to hunt down a copy for future use.

I have a specific idea for the swimsuit I'd like to make, so I think it would be easier for me to just draft something from scratch this time around, rather than using a pre-existing pattern. I think I'll start by tracing around a nice-fitting onesie (using the same technique as mentioned for the stretch jeans) and just go from there.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

rivergum
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rivergum
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AUSTRALIA
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Date: 4/12/12 4:51 PM

For an amusing cultural perspective, European babies swim in the nude, sometimes until they are 3-4 or even older. I have seen 8 year olds without a stitch on at the public pool, albeit some years back now. I think it might be changing.

Australian babies cover up from head to toe against the sun.

------
Taking in is happier than letting out.

Sydney, Australia

sugarduck
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sugarduck
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FRANCE
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In reply to rivergum <<


Date: 4/13/12 2:36 AM

Isn't it interesting to see those little cultural differences? Here in France, babies and young children generally wear bloomer-style diaper covers or bikini bottoms, rather than full swimsuits. My niece and nephew grew up in Germany and it's true that they swam nude (in the ocean...not sure about the public pool) until maybe the end of primary school. So, even within Europe there are some differences.

We'll be spending a large portion of our summer holiday in the States, which is why I'm making my daughter a swimsuit.

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