I've gotten a lot of questions by email and comment, regarding support for the girls when making a swimsuit. As you can see from the first suit I made, I am dealing with two issues:
1. I really don't need a whole lot of support, sadly. Sniff, sniff. And,
2. I have a lot to learn about supporting what I do have.
So I've been researching both for myself and for anyone reading along with me, and I have a little bit of helpful information to report.
First, I did some retail reconnaissance over the past few days. Which means I spent a few hours browsing through Nordstrom and Everything But Water (a swimsuit store) to study the details of how expensive swimsuits are put together. Why expensive ones? I don't know, I was hoping to find some magic that made those suits worth $125 versus the ones I find at Target for $25.
I'm happy to report there are a few differences that are immediately evident.
First, bust support is critical.
You remember my first strapless tank? Well, lo and behold, not only did I probably need to stitch in bust cups and/or an underwire to defy gravity, but I also needed to add boning to the sides of the bust area for support. Boning! I forgot all about that when putting it together, and sadly Kwik-Sew didn't mention it at all. I will be going back and adding two strips of boning to the sides of my first tank to give the girls a little more oomph and keep the bust section from drooping.
Second, most of the expensive suits (Miraclesuit, Tommy Bahama, LaBlanca, etc.) had sewn-in bust support in the form of molded cups attached to the shelf-liner. So I am doing that with the current suit I'm making and I'll be sharing that technique in the first construction post, coming up.
I know a few people really need an underwire. In fact, most people can benefit from it so I think it's helpful to share this info. I found that many suits, even if they only had a shelf-liner for the bust, also had sewn-in underwires.
You can order the wires for an underwire at Sewsassy, as well as the channeling for the wires, which you'll need unless you like painful poking. A cheaper, greener way of avoiding all of that is to take an underwire bra you no longer wear and cut the banding and wire section off of it to sew onto a swimsuit liner.
I found my bra cup inserts at Hancock's, and since they're a Dritz notion I'm pretty sure you can find or order them almost anywhere. They ran kind of pricey at $11, though, so I recommend you stock up when you find a 40 or 50% off coupon.
Sewsassy also has a great selection of inexpensive swimsuit bra cups, so I am ordering a few of their different options so I can report back on how they look and feel.
I've also read quite a few people have used a Microtex needle (super sharp) when sewing nylon/lycra for swimsuits. I haven't tried that needle on this fabric although I do swear by them on finer cottons, so if you have experience using them then I say go for it.
Alrighty, I think that about covers the research I've done and hopefully my next post will be full of the putting together bits, yay!
Next installment: Making a Swimsuit - Constructing the Top