Swimmers swimsuit V1

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I’m on a mission of sorts. I’m determined to perfect a couple of swimsuit designs, both for myself and my daughters.

Swimming is slowly becoming a big part of our lives, so it makes perfect sense that my sewing table would reflect this. We’re at the pool most days. I’m like a yoyo, driving the kids to the pool in the afternoon, and then back again on my own as often as I can. After nearly a year of talking about it, I’ve finally joined the Masters and I LOVE it. Swimming in a squad is nothing like swimming on your own (I’ve been kidding myself for months). During each session my hypoxic lungs and burning arms body remind me just how out of swim-condition I am, but also, just how good it is for me.

I’m currently working on three styles of swimsuits. One is a kid-style. I don’t like seeing kids in swimsuits that are too skimpy through the bottom and sides (like my suit design in this post!), but I also don’t like the racerback to be too wide. Whilst I would still recommend Jalie 3134 for kid swimsuits (and at this point, I can’t actually think of a better sewing pattern out there for the specific purpose of squad swimming), it just wasn’t the perfect swimsuit pattern for this very picky swim-mum. I’ll still sew Jalie 3134 again, but I’ll probably reserve it for when I have smaller fabric scraps to use up. There’s some great panelling on that pattern.

In terms of the issues, I found the crotch of Jalie 3134 pattern a little too wide and the fit around the bum and lower back less than ideal. If you look at the woman’s back view picture on the pattern cover, you can see the gathering/wrinkles I’m talking about. It’s really no big deal, but I know a better fit is possible. I also don’t like the side seams on this pattern. I feel like you can get a better fit through the lower back/sides with a slanted side/hip seam that is positioned more towards the back of the suit, as opposed to a straight side seam connecting the front and back. A straight side seam also adds bulk to the underarm zone, which can cause pretty horrific chaffing if you don’t nail it during construction. But even then, you really don’t want an underarm seam in bathers if you are doing serious swimming. Again, I’m nitpicking here, but I’ve had a lot of hands-on, personal experience with swimsuits over the years.

The other two designs are just for myself. I’ve photographed the skimpier style for this post. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out but it’s still a little short in the body. I just need to add a little extra length/width to the upper bust area and then I think I can file this pattern away as done. I have another suit design on the cutting table that will provide a bit more coverage through the sides and back, with a back that looks more like the kid version.

Like the Jalie design I discussed earlier, my first two swimsuits (here and here) also had a straight side seam. Why? Because it’s easy to draft. Removing that straight side seam hurt my brain a lot, but it worked. Compare the seams in the photos below. The top (green cherry) suit is Jalie 3134. It has all the fun seaming. The bottom (buzzy bee) suit is my design. My accidental pattern-matching makes the seam a little hard to see in the buzzy bee suit, but you can see it better here.

I tried it out first on Miss nearly-Nine’s suit. Then I used the same principles to create similar designs for me.

I’m getting closer with the kid-suit. I messed up the neckline in this first draft, so I had to cut off the top binding and add pleats just to make it wearable (there’s no way I was going to waste a swimsuit with Summer on the way!). The fit through the back is pretty spot on though.

My next version also worked out really well. It was actually intended for my biggest girl, but we realised that Miss Seven needed it more. And since she’s chomping at the bit to join her big sister in the swim team, we all thought the buzzy bees should belong to her. Miss Seven is almost as tall as her big sister, but just a smidgin narrower through the waist and hips. I wasn’t able to catch her to photograph the swimsuit dry, but it was rigorously tested in the water yesterday. In fact, I was lucky to catch this one for a photo, full stop.




10 thoughts on “Swimmers swimsuit V1

  1. I am really interested in your swimsuit project. I am a springboard diver and participate in Masters diving. I haven’t been able to make the Jalie pattern work for diving because the insets become restrictive. Your skimpy suit would strip of on the first dive. The style you made for the yellow bees suit looks just right. Do I sound like Goldilocks?

    I would be very interested in trying you pattern if you will share/sell.

    1. Haha! You sound a lot like me! I thought of the Jalie pattern as fine for my kids, but for adults, it’s a little meh, and not much in fashion ;-). I’m also not sure my skimpy suit will work well for a lot of swimming. I’ll give it a go in Summer when we’re swimming outside, and then solve the skimpy factor by covering it with a rash vest if I need to. I also agree, my kid’s version looks pretty good for an adult. I’ve just cut my first attempt but it may take more than one go to get it right. As fare as turning this into a pattern…I’m just focussing on the one size at present. And then, it’s likely that I’d work on the kid version first, simply because I have a lot of kids here to test different sizes on (and a very real need to grade it out to different sizes).

  2. I love your new suits! My son is also a swimmer and I made his training suits after also being frustrated with the fit not to mention the cost! Don’t even get me started on the racing ones! Making a pair of carbon jammers is I suspect impossible. I wish I had blogs for inspiration when my daughter was young because she was soo fussy with her suits a good TNT pattern would have been invaluable.

    1. Suits really are expensive aren’t they! I think they always have been, even 20-30 years ago when I was swimming. My mum used to take me to a discount store to buy Speedos in bulk – endurance fabric wasn’t as pleasant/wearable back then so I used to go through suits every few months, and then wear two pairs layered together until they died completely. I was fussy too. Different brands seemed to have coarser fabric/seams, or look homemade, and end up rubbing the skin off you as you trained. There seems to be more brands available now, but I’m not always a fan of the garish prints. Yes, the racing suits are incredible now too, and so expensive. I wouldn’t even go there… there’s too much research involved in the ridge positioning, and textiles. I’m happy to aim for awesome practice suits. It will save me a fortune!

  3. I am curious of what type of thread you use. Is there any stretch to it or is it just a regular polyester thread? Thanks!

    1. I just use regular poly thread these days but always use a stretch stitch setting, and usually reinforce with the overlocker, even if the seam allowance is hidden under lining. I’ve never had any problems with the threads snapping or wearing out before the suits.

  4. Wow! You are Getting really good at fitting! Those are all fabulous, and I’m tempted to give it a try. I love to swim laps, but have a heck of a time finding a RTW suit that fits. Perhaps you’re showing me the way?

    1. Thanks Linda! You should definitely give it a go. The way I see it is the first suit you sew won’t be worse than any standard sized RTW suit, and then you can adjust to your perfect fit over the next few.

  5. I really love both of these the kids pattern is spot on and exactly what I have been looking for for ages. My girls are also requesting a knee suit for competition, but I just haven’t found the right pattern and not brave enough to experiment with spandex since it is so expensive.

    1. Thanks Maree! Yes, those competitive suits are SO expensive. I don’t think I’ll ever attempt them because I can’t ever see myself getting access to the technical fabric they use or the design details that make them functional. I’ll stick to practice suits!

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