Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Bathing Beauty

Back in early May, I decided to copy my bathing suit that was falling apart.  I figured, it had only a couple pieces, how hard could it be?  I found on line tutorials, blogs by people who sewed bathing suits, and got some supplies/material.  I dissected my suit (uh, there were more than "a few" pieces) and promptly got stage fright.

A little while later, I was at Value Village and took a look at the sewing patterns.  And wouldn't you know, there's Simplicity 8553, from 1978, in Meg's size!  I thought that might be a good way to get going.  We picked out the fabric together and then I had a panic attack at home when I realized the fabric didn't stretch as much as the guide on the pattern.  And the pattern called for 2 way stretch fabric, but isn't swimsuit fabric 4 way stretch?  Added to that, Meg was one size in the chest, and a much bigger size in the waist.  Bigger than any of the sizes on the pattern!  And then, there was the issue of the length.  Just how much should it stretch to be the right length?  She's only 5, and is tall, but probably not as tall as the size 8/10 that I was using.
 I carefully followed all the steps, in the order given (although I didn't really pay attention to the lay out of the pieces, so I've ended up with a LOT of the bright pink left; it called for .8m but since I laid it out differently, I used maybe .4m).  If I was doing it again, I would change when I did the button holes for the ties to come through to after sewing the side seams and putting on the binding, to ensure it lines up better.  Or, make it like my suit and have the ties come through the binding.
 There is no elastic used in the pattern.  I thought that was great for a young girl who often complains of things too tight.  However, her hips are not as big as the pattern, so I added a small amount of elastic in the binding at the outer thighs.
I have only two seems a bit long, esp. the back.  The upper back is I think too tight, and it rolls downward, hiding the binding....and then it gets all droopy bum.  The neck tie at the front is stitched on the inside where the binding joins the suit, and that means the top edge of the binding rolls forward.  And the front droops too, I think pulled down at the sides by the back rolling down.

She loves it though and we've already bought fabric for another suit.  Or two.  However, there really wasn't a single skill I learned while making this suit that I then used to make my own suit.  LOL.


steel breeze said...

Winifred Aldrich does a great book on pattern drafting for women - pretty sure there's a swimsuit in the latest edition. Can't remember if there's one in the children's book. Then you can make something that fits perfectly! :)

Renae said...

Cute suit.
I think that the 2 way vs. 4 way is year related. Since it was an "older" pattern the 2 way is meant to be the same as 4 way. Does that even make sense? Basically the 4 way stretch used to be called 2 way. However, not sure why the pattern didn't need ANY elastic.