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Message Board > Fitting Woes > Swimwear angst ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Swimwear angst
Trouble with gaping
BrendaJoyce
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BrendaJoyce  Friend of PR
Intermediate
TX USA
Member since 2/11/12
Posts: 57
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Date: 5/31/12 5:41 AM

I love reading all the topics here and I have a question. I'm new to sewing swimwear and I'm having trouble with fitting the bottoms of bikinis. Under the rearend, where the elastic should be snug, it's always gaping! If my daughter will let me, (which is doubtful) I'll get a pic, but what the heck am I doing wrong? I'm sewing with spandex and swimwear elastic, using McCalls 5400. I attach elastic with a zig zag stitch, then to enclose it, I'm using a stretch 3 step zig zag, stretching elastic slightly when applying. I need to figure out how to post pics.

ryan's mom
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ryan's mom
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Date: 5/31/12 6:25 AM

One thing I can tell you is that I never use the recommended lengths of elastic that the pattern sheets gives the user. I follow (approximately) a length of elastic that is 78% the length of the opening when using a conventional sewing machine. Talk about an exact number, right?

However, I've found that 75% is too snug, and 80% is not tight enough. Experiment with your elastic length and find what works. I quarter the elastic, quarter the leg opening, and stitch it on. It's a nice, snug fit all the way around, however, this method is not used and may not work for all people. Fleshy people may not like a snug elastic all the way around the leg. Others make a short ratio of elastic to fabric in the back only and 1:1 on the front. I learned the latter during the swimsuit contest. Personally, 1:1 on the front would not work for me.

A 3-step zigzag is nice to use, but a *#(@*& to seamrip lol. Use a standard zigzag until you are sure about your elastic ratio. Seamripping a 3-step zigzag on swimwear fabric is like trying to unpick a knit stitch from fleece. Don't even want to go there!

I've also had to alter swimwear and panty patterns. Not any McCalls, but definitely Kwik Sew. KS runs large on me given the size I'm supposed to use.

------
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/Embroidery Combo Machine: Janome MC15000. Sewing Machines: Elna 740, vintage Kenmore Model 33 (1967), Janome Gem Gold 3. Sergers: Babylock Imagine and Babylock Enlighten. Embroidery Only: Janome 300E

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

tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/31/12 9:55 AM

Another vote for ignoring the measurements on the pattern. Not sure if I use 79%, but certainly less than the # given. I am one who does a 1/1 ratio on the front and much snugger on the back, especially under the "cheek."

------
http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

SheBear0320
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SheBear0320  Friend of PR
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In reply to BrendaJoyce <<


Date: 5/31/12 10:03 AM

When sewing swimwear my standard is to use a 1:1 ratio on the front leg opening and about 75-80% on the back leg opening (smaller sizes get the 80%; larger sizes get the 75%). I pin the front leg first from side seam to crotch seam and then distribute the elastic in the back. I attach with a serger (or a zigzag will work fine). I use either a regular zigzag or a 3 step zigzag depending on the fabric and fit factors.

Of course there are always exceptions to this rule.

Before applying the elastic, make sure you have a good fit of the bikini bottom especially in the lower butt area -- I find that many of the Big 4 + Kwik Sew patterns have a huge amount of fabric in that area and that I usually have to reshape those patterns along the leg opening close to the crotch seam. The other area that is quite often a problem with the Big 4 + Kwik Sew patterns is the width of the crotch piece -- it is almost always way too wide.

And I agree with ryans mom -- don't use the 3 step zigzag until you're sure you won't have to rip it out to adjust the fit.



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

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
27.5 yards sewn (as of 04/17/14)
20.125 yards purchased (as of 04/17/14)

diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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OR USA
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Date: 5/31/12 12:36 PM

Wrap the elastic around the leg to where it feels snug yet comfortable and add the seam allowance. Sew it in a circle and apply to leg, stretching it slightly in the front and all the way out in the back. This non measuring way won't work as well if the person has skinny legs and the leg holes are huge. I use a regular zigzag.

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

BrendaJoyce
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BrendaJoyce  Friend of PR
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TX USA
Member since 2/11/12
Posts: 57
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Date: 5/31/12 12:52 PM

I am so glad I asked for help, your suggestions sound right on the money. I'm trying to expand my sewing capabilities by making different things, swimwear being the latest. I'm going to try lingerie next, when I get this elastic thing mastered.

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