Okay! I sewed swimsuits!
The girls picked out this fabric and I think it's super cute. Kind of a French circus thing. We just saw Kooza and I think they were very inspired by the costumes. I could write a ton about sewing these, but for the sake of brevity I will just say, try sewing swimsuits. It's really fun (for the most part) and, like sewing underwear and lingerie, the material conforms to your body, so fitting isn't really an issue. The issue is really sewing with the fabric and your machine, which is really not bad at all if you have the right tools.
These have not been in the pool yet, so I will let you know if wet conditions cause any problems. Also, the smaller girls were super easy to fit, the eldest doesn't like tight clothes at all, in any form. I tried to make to hers roomy, but it is a swimsuit, you know? I think she will probably wear the top and shorts set more than her one-piece suit, but who knows.
Sewing these, there were moments of happiness, swearing, boredom, wondering why I am doing this—and ultimately, total pride. Seeing them run around in these makes it worth it already. I was almost crying at the cuteness.
Tips and some info:
- I used a stretch needle. This is mandatory, I say. It makes sewing these so easy and if you don't you will be tearing your hair out and possibly smoking and swearing and getting drunk.
- You don't need a serger, for the side seams you can use a straight stitch and the other areas I used elastic—which you can put on with a big zig-zag. I did use my serger for my side seams, however and it was lovely.
- Here' s a great method of sewing on the elastic. You sew it twice, similar to binding, only even easier. I put elastic on the arm, neck and leg openings, except for on Liddy's suit (last photo) Sadie's pants and Delia's skirt hem—there I just used a zig-zag.
- I lined these suits with nude swimsuit lining and am really happy I did. I guess you don't have to, but it gives the suit more body and heft and just feels like a better garment to me.
- I used no patterns, just traced the girls' favorite fitting ballet leotards for a guide, added extra for the elastic (I used swim elastic, 3/8") and about 1/4" extra on the side seams. For Sadie's shorts, I traced a pair of leggings.
- I ran out of fabric and I am bummed, because I want a matching suit now. To make all these suits I got (I think) about 1 1/2 yards of the stripe, a 1/2 yard of the white and coral pink solids, and 1 1/2 yards of the lining. I wasted some messing it up and used pretty much all of it.
- My first attempt at Sadie's suit the bottom wasn't cut big enough, so I cut it off and made another in the solid pink and stitched it back on. That way I didn't waste the top. So, don't scrap the whole suit if one area is too tight or too big.
- I got all the fabric here locally at RCT, including the special swim elastic and needles. They are awesome.