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Swimwear?
Looking for advice/encouragement!
castout

castout
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TX USA
Member since 11/17/08
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Date: 3/21/09 12:14 PM

I have always had a hard time finding "the right" swimsuit that fits well, so I would like to try to make one. I don't know why, but it just seems intimidating to me. Does anyone have any tips/advice to offer before I get started? Also, what patterns are good? I would like something with good support up top and not too skimpy (either 1 or 2 piece).
Thanks!

Pinkytoo
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In reply to castout


Date: 3/21/09 12:25 PM

Don't be intimidated, it's actually pretty easy! Check out any Kwik Sew swimsuit pattern, they have excellent instructions. Also use a good quality swimwear fabric and you're halfway there.

My favorite for "up top" support is Kwik Sew 3238. I've made the tankini top as a halter top for summer because you can put bra cups in it (at my age I need all the rigging I can to keep 'em north).

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Sewing is my therapy!

JTink
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In reply to castout


Date: 3/21/09 1:03 PM

I haven't made or worn a bathing suit in about 5 years. I use to make all of mine. I have very old McCall patterns that I used. None of them had any real support(didn't need any back in the day). I've made bikini and tank(one piece) suits. I've put little skirts on them too. I use to mix and match one of my one piece patterns with the skirt off of a two piece pattern. I never liked wearing straps(didn't want those strap marks all year). So the best way to get what I wanted was to make them. Bathing suits are very easy to make. My suggestion is to look for a pattern(yes, kiwk sew has some nice ones)that has simple lines. The less seams and fussy stuff you have to mess with, the better. We have a river cottage and when the kids were small, we would stay pretty much all week during the summer. I made enough bathing suits(and matching sarongs) that I never wore the same one twice in a two week period! Happy sewing

sewbehind
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sewbehind
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Date: 3/21/09 1:30 PM

I have made quite a few swimsuits. I have the KwikSew booklet on it, as well as the separate patterns. I needed three muslins to get the fit just right. So, buy some cheap stuff and refine the fit without expecting anything usable. IF it does, fine, but if not, just work on getting the fit right.
Line the front, add bra cups if needed, put more stretch ratio to the elastic where you need it. (for example, I have a flat, low butt, and I use more there. I cannot tell you how nice it is not to adjust my swimsuit after being in the water. Also test your swimsuit in the bathtub to make sure it is wearable. I wanted to make sure that nothing that I didn't want to show...did. I wish I could post a review. It seems it is beyond my capabilities at the moment. Good luck. It isn't all that hard. Once you get a good swimsuit bottom or bottom of a one piece suit, you have a perfect panty pattern as well.
Helen

castout

castout
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Date: 3/21/09 2:38 PM

I started looking at fabric online - boy there are a lot of things I don't know about the fabric. There are lots of different kinds of spandex/lycra...is there one specific kind I should look for or will any of them work? Also, what is the best thing to use for the lining?
I'm getting excited. I imagine I will need at least a couple of muslins. I like the KS 3238 pattern that was posted - thanks!! I think I'll start with that one!

Thanks everyone for the replies!!

SheBear0320
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In reply to castout


Date: 3/21/09 3:47 PM

There was a swimsuit sew-along last summer where a lot of good tips were provided. You'll probably find a lot of answers and suggestions there.

Swimsuit Sew-Along

Kwik Sew patterns are the ones I recommend for swimsuits as well as their Actionwear book -- great tips and some basic patterns.

You want to make sure you use a good quality fabric for your swimsuit so that it will stand up when wet. Use swimsuit lining and swimsuit elastic especially if you are going to wear the suit in salt water or a chlorinated pool.

Make sure your fabrics have the required amount of stretch for the pattern -- usually 75% for swimsuits. The fabric needs to stretch both crosswise and lengthwise -- be careful because some stores call this 2 way stretch and some call it 4 way stretch. If in doubt and ordering on-line call and ask about the stretch or ask for samples.

Make sure the lining has the same amount of stretch if you are going to line the entire suit or front of the suit. When doing full linings I cut the lining a little smaller than the pattern to avoid the "bagging" effect when the suit is wet.

Sewing on lycra can be a bit tricky if you haven't worked with it before but like anything else you will get better with practice.

------
Sheila
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
46.0 yards sewn (as of 07/07/14)
79.875 yards purchased (as of 07/07/14)

diane s
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In reply to castout


Date: 3/21/09 4:14 PM

Quote: castout
I started looking at fabric online - boy there are a lot of things I don't know about the fabric. There are lots of different kinds of spandex/lycra...is there one specific kind I should look for or will any of them work? Also, what is the best thing to use for the lining?

Thanks everyone for the replies!!

Make sure your lycra fabric has good stretch in both directions. Some swimsuit fabric only has stretch in 1 direction. Same is true for the lining. Often the only lining is this awful 1 way stretch nylon, avoid it.
Also a full front and or back lining can make the suit fit smaller.
A blend with a higher lycra count will hold everything in better.
Besides. Kwik Sew patterns, I also like Stretch and Sew and Jalie for swimwear.
I prefer the poly swimwear elastic over the cotton swim elastic, because no matter how hard you stretch it, the width doesn't narrow.
The Singer sewing library book titled 'Sewing Activewear'
has alot of info about swimsuits. Used copies are easy to find, I found one the other day for a friend at the Goodwill for $1.99.
btw there's a great online store for lycra in Texas called
www.fabricdepotco.com, not sure if they have a storefront
-- Edited on 3/21/09 4:17 PM --

------
My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 10, and I've been sewing ever since.

mandeedee

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In reply to castout


Date: 3/22/09 0:45 AM

Sewing a bathing suit is easy....bra cups....not so easy but not impossible either.

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I sew....I rip....I create.

Mrs.Moos
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In reply to castout


Date: 3/22/09 2:01 AM

I have got some good pieces of swimwear fabric from Ebay. You can search: swimsuit fabric, lycra fabric etc...
And make sure you visit FabricDepotCo.com. They have probably everything you need for swimsuits--bra cups for swimsuits, underwires, hooks, lining--even that thin foam stuff that they use as inserts in bikini tops to avoid "show-thru".
I got some of that for DD's swimsuits. It is my goal this year to make a string style top from one of my KwikSew patterns for her and actually sew the foam to the lining so it doesn't twist all up in a ball when you wash the suit. I bought the 1/16" inch stuff.
Of course a serger is helpful and a coverstitch DEVINE for swimwear. Also some wooly nylon thread and don't forget to get SWIMWEAR elastic. It is that natural colored stuff. FabricDepot has that too but I have bought it at Joann's with a 40% off coupon too. Kwiksew patterns are the best IMHO --like a mini lesson. Also, go to the stores and examine how the ready made suits are constructed. Notice how some use zig-zag for the elastic, some coverstitch. I have also noticed the comeback of the WOVEN fabric swimsuit--cut on the bias. I made many string bikins for myself like those--back in the 70s!
I would get some "test fabric" that you kinda like. Swimsuits don't take much fabric and lining. You can test out several styles/sizes that way. Good luck on this. It is rewarding once you get it down.
A swimsuit for MYSELF is on my to-sew list. We got a spa last summer and I have used it exactly ONCE--in nylon shorts and old swimsuit top--in the DARK. It was pretty scary. I got in our pool ONCE last summer too--up to my knees when I got hot doing yard work.And I was wearing a tank top and shorts--no swimsuit.
This summer it will be different. I may have cellulite but it will be TAN cellulite. I have already started with the Jergens Glow self tanning FIRMING lotion. My legs should look like two large carrots by Easter!

------
Babylock Spirit, Brother ULT 2002D, Janome 6500P, Janome 1600P-DB, Babylock Eclipse SX, Juki MO654DE, Janome Coverpro 1000CPX, Singer 15-91

PhyllisC
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In reply to castout


Date: 3/22/09 8:22 AM

I've always found I've had to be pretty careful I had genuine swimsuit fabric when I've made them. Most knits are never labeled so a burn test is important to be sure you have a fabric that is truly intended for swimsuits (a Nylon/Lycra blend as opposed to Polyester knit/lycra blend.)

Also if you see any fabrics with a foil or holographic design printed on it avoid it because that fabric is for dance or gymnastics; pool chemicals and/ or salt water will strip those designs right off after just a few wearings. Likewise any swimsuit made from knit fabric with cotton fibers in it will fade almost instantly for the same reasons.

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Sewing = Fashion
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Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

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