Swimsuit sewing update

Swimsuit sewing is ongoing here. I basically just sew the same suits over and over again, so it hasn’t occured to me to blog about the new suits. However, I will share a couple of new pictures and my ongoing analysis of the suits and fabric.

Summer Swim League for my girls (all three of them this year!) is nearly ready to wrap up. Miss Nine has a few more bigger swim meets over the next fortnight before her season winds up, and I have national titles in Early August. After that, we’ll take a break from laps and spend the remaining weeks of Summer playing and splashing at the Kansas City pools. Our swimsuits have a LOT more Summer to get through yet!

I’m still perfecting the design of my own swimsuit. It takes a while because swimsuit fabrics can vary slightly in the way they stretch.  Also, I like to line my practice suits for longevity and the lining affects the fit too. I’ve purchased the same lining twice from the same vendor over the past year, and each time it’s been slightly different in terms of stretch and feel. I’m now making very minor adjustments to my pattern so that it will still work well across all these slight variances.

I’ve sewn more than a few suits since my last swimwear post. I tweaked the design on my last suit for a more secure back and a little more coverage, as you see in the photo below.

This has been my favourite suit so far. I thought it was perfect at the time, and it possibly was. I forget to take into account that my chest has grown a bit over the past few months, which may also be affecting swimsuit fit.

The fabric was from Tessuti Fabrics and I used black lining from The Fabric Fairy. I line ALL my suits with black as it means I never have to worry about the pale coloured fabrics fading. I thought I was being clever, but I recently purchased a RTW bikini from Jolyn (a label that all the cool and serious squad swimmers wear here in the Midwest). Jolyn lines all their coloured suits with dark grey too.

But back to my suit. I literally wore this suit to death, and it lasted very well. The green in the fabric faded from the chlorine before the fabric wore out. The lining held the suit together for a bit longer until I eventually had to retire it. The saggy butt look was not very attractive in the end.

Foolishly, I then started sewing another suit using the same pattern, but in a beautiful, (but completely inappropriate) fabric. The blue is fused lycra, so essentially two layers of swimsuit fabric fused together. It meant I could skip the lining, but the fabric also had less stretch than regular swimsuit fabric. The fit in this suit looks ok, but it’s like swimming in scuba gear (without stretch!). It’s amazing fabric for a bikini or recreational suit, but no good for practice at all. I wore it once.

I made a similar suit for Miss Nine using Jalie 3134. She rarely wears it, and I won’t make her as I know it isn’t very pleasant to swim in. The pattern design is good. I made a few tweaks to fit her better, but the fabric is unsuitable. Turns out, these are the only photos I have of her actually wearing it. Miss Seven is wearing one of my favourite little handmade suits, made to my own design.

Next up for me was a silver foil print version. It’s ok, but I feel like I need to increase the bust coverage a bit. I also made this version a little more high cut in the leg, but with the same back coverage (I just moved everything up a little higher). I love the higher cut leg. It definitely feels better in the water, and is more comfortable with leg motion. The back also fits a little closer over my bottom/lower back in this design.

I’m currently working on another suit for me, with a few pattern tweaks around the bust area.

Meanwhile, this leopard print suit nearly needs to be retired but I don’t have the heart to take it off her. The buzzy bee one  is also on its last legs (from love!). I actually made a second copy of the buzzy bees for another swim buddy. But I do LOVE the animal print fabric, and it held up beautifully in the chlorine and sun. I wish I had enough for myself, but I’m not sure I do.

My most recent make was a return to Jalie 3135 for Miss Five, using fabrics from The Fabric Fairy. She’s super cute in it. The design worked beautifully for here. I find the crotch in this pattern a little wide in the larger sizes, but the fit on my little one is not bad. Here are my three little mermaids in their favourite suits!

 

Little leotards and bike shorts: Kwik Sew 2724

Having seen what leotard options were on offer at our local gymnasium, (and gasping in horror at the price and glare) I quickly steered the girls away, promising them a me-made version very soon. Personally, I think t-shirts and shorts are perfectly adequate gym wear for four and six year olds, but when everyone else is in shiny pink leopard print spandex, I felt a bit miserable sending the girls along in their grey cotton tights.

Luckily, I had a great remnant of floral swimsuit lycra in my stash. It was a remnant I purchased from Tessuti last summer. I paired it with a little big splash of metallic spandex from Mood and chose the simplest leotard/swimsuit pattern I could find, Kwik Sew 2724.

I’ve sewn a couple of Kwik Sew swimsuit patterns up now (here and here). Both times I found the body length of the design to be incredibly short. Knowing this, I started out with a size 7 and lengthened it in the body by 1″ before I started. The end result is a leotard that is quite clearly too big for my tall Miss Six. She’s not too fussed though. The width is ok and it seems comfortable enough on her without gaping immodestly. It just has a lot of unsightly wrinkles, particularly at the back. I probably should have just sewn a straight size 7, but I’m wondering if I should have also made a sway back adjustment and narrowed the bum width a little.

I also bungled the neckline a little. For some reason, I thought the back was the front when I was attaching the elastic, so the slightly warped starting point of attachment is smack bang in the centre front of the neckline. Really, I should have hidden that point under the shoulder seam anyway. I’m also not sure I love the look of that zig zag stitching, or maybe it is the metallic spandex that shows up every glaring mess you make.

I made the bike pants up in a straight size 6 with no adjustments. I ignored the elastic waist guide because it is easier and more precise to simply measure the child you want to fit! These bike pants are actually awesome. They fit her PERFECTLY and took a whole 15min to cut AND sew up. I might make them in some longer versions in winter.