Itsy bitsy Heiress Bikini and rashie

 

Sharon, from Swimstyle Patterns, contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I’d like to try one of her patterns. I was under no obligation to blog about it, but I’m very impressed, so I want to share my experience.

I’d already discovered this Australian indie pattern maker a few months earlier via Instagram so I knew what patterns she had to offer. There were two main reasons why I hadn’t already purchased any patterns off her myself. It was mid-Winter here! Also, I don’t wear bikini’s very often. I’m not opposed to a good bikini. They just don’t suit my lifestyle (which involves real swimming, rather than sunbathing). And on the odd occasion that I might be lazing around a pool, I’m always in hiding from the sun, covered up from head to waist with a long sleeve rash vest, thus rendering a bikini pointless anyway.

There are lots of swimsuit patterns out there, including vintage, indie, and modern. I’ve sewn more than a few of each. However, it’s still hard to find style lines and sophisticated construction techniques that replicate RTW. I work in a high end clothing boutique once a week (and do the odd modelling job for them as you may have guessed from my IG feed!). On Saturdays, I spend my time studying, styling, and fitting designer clothes, mainly on customers (but sometimes on myself too ;-)). One such item I was admiring recently was a very cute bikini by Milly. I especially loved the seamless design and the simple, yet flattering shape of the separates. The Heiress bikini has a very similar seamless design, so I was quite keen to try it out.

I cut a size 10 for the bikini, which corresponds very closely to my measurements. The top portion is drafted for a B-cup. I’m an A-cup on a good day, but I wanted to trial the pattern first before I attempted any modifications.

The fabric I used is not your traditional swimsuit fabric. It’s actually a double layer of swimsuit fabric, bonded together. This makes it extra thick (a little scuba-like), extra flattering, but with a little less stretch. I think it makes the bikini top extra supportive, but perhaps the reduced stretch also makes the bottoms a little skimpier.

The bottoms are actually a perfect fit (albeit in a very cheeky style!). The seamless design makes for such a pretty finish. The top would be perfectly suited to a B-cup. I think (given the stretch of swimsuit fabric and style of cut) it would probably look great on a C-cup too. It’s a little “empty” on me and since I don’t need or want padding in my swimsuits, I’ll probably give it away.

I’m keeping the bottoms though. I have another top underway that I’ll pair with the rashie below (also by Swimstyle Patterns). Ideally, I would have made this up in the long sleeve version (sun safety all the way here!) but I just didn’t have quite enough fabric. I sized down in this pattern, and then adjusted the side seams further as I made it. Swimsuit fabric is stretchy and I like my rash vests to fit like a second skin. That way, you almost forget you are wearing one. I could probably still bring the seams in a smidgen around the waist and arms. I’m amazed at how many loose-fitting, oversized skinsuits and rash vests I see people wearing in real life, especially poor kids. They must feel so unpleasant and heavy when wet!

The other great thing about this bikini pattern, is that there is a free pattern hack for anyone wanting a bit of extra butt coverage. There are also more strap options for the top. I chose the halter version, but there is also an adjustable strap version, and a really neat cross back hack available.

 

NEW // Splash Swimsuit 07 // PDF Sewing Pattern

Firstly, thank you for all the lovely comments on my last blog post and apologies for not responding in person. It’s been a crazy, but wonderful month here with my parents visiting from Australia. I’ve spent a lot of time sightseeing Kansas and very little time on the computer (or sewing) for that matter.

However, I would like to present you with a little something that I prepared earlier. Introducing the much anticipated Splash Swimsuit! It comes in two options; as a one-piece and a high waisted bikini. You’ve already seen a few of my versions on this blog. I’ve posted others on Instagram.

Both views are fully lined. Top and bottom sizes can be mixed and matched. The design is comfortable, practical, and I’ve had lots of good reports back as to how they stand up to the surf test. Check out some of my gorgeous tester versions here.

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For more details, be sure to check out the pattern here.

And if you want a little RTW inspiration, I stumbled upon this Free People design  last week. It will only set you back a mere $234.

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Swimsuit making // my kind of bikini

This bikini is just a modified version of the one-piece swimsuit pattern that I’ve been working on recently. You may have already seen several versions of the pants (here, here, here, and here). There have been many more. If you are Australian, you are familiar with Bonds underwear. I can’t get my fix over here so I had to make my own. The design of the pants is based on a much loved style that I’ve been wearing for years. I began making underwear for myself in a similar (but hipster) style last year and I’ve been tweaking them a little with each make. I don’t have it in me to share my knickers on the internet, but somehow I can prance around in a bikini…go figure.

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The bikini top took me a few goes to get right. That’s what happens when you look for a complicated solution to a simple problem. Thankfully it worked out in the end. This is my perfect style of bikini. The top isn’t too skimpy. It’s fully lined, and yet it still has that carefree element that I love in a bikini top.

High waist swimsuit bottoms might be on trend right now, but I also love the extra coverage. I feel happiest with the waistband finishing a little above my belly-button. Since having babies, I feel a bit nude with too much of my belly exposed. If I had more courage, I’d wear skimpy bottoms and show the world my baby-made tiger stripes. I should. And maybe I will when I’m sick of the high waist trend. The world should know that bodies are never the same after babies, and it’s ok, and that they are still very beautiful.

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I’m not going to keep this bikini. I already have more swimsuits than I can possibly wear. This one is getting packaged up with a few other things for my sister-in-law when my parents head home after their much anticipated visit. My brother is involved with the surf life-saving community in Queensland and his family has a much more beach-going, pool-loving lifestyle than what I lead. I had him do some detective size-sleuthing and I think they should fit well, and be put to good use.

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If you are interested in testing this pattern for me (in either the one-piece or bikini version), please head over to follow my Facebook page. I still have a little bit of work to do here, but will hopefully post the sign up form for testers this week.