Skip to main content

Made By A Fabricista: A Pin-Up Style Bathing Suit

It's only days into Spring and I'm ready for my beach vacation, guys!  I've had this two-piece swimsuit pattern combo on my mind for well over a year.  I'm a curvy gal, so I thought I'd play it up with this retro pin-up style two-piece with a bold tropical floral print.  This is a nylon/spandex swimwear fabric with a four-way stretch.  I've lined it with a solid black swimwear knit.  There is a growing list of really nice fabrics here on Fabric Mart perfect for bathing suits... and it's perfect for other activewear-- I've made numerous running leggings with fabric labeled for swimwear.




For my top I used Simplicity 1374, View B.  I cut and sewed a straight size 16 with zero alterations... besides the addition of cups (more on those in a moment).  It's a great little pattern that took me just over two hours to sew up.  I picked up my swimwear elastic and cups from the local big box fabric store.  I used 3/8" wide elastic for the edges-- if you happen to sew up this pattern, the back of the envelope says to use 1/4", it should read 3/8" since the seam allowances are 3/8".  I stay away from regular elastics because they will deteriorate quicker in salt water and chlorine.  But I must confess I will likely not actually swim in this bathing suit, it's a sitting on the beach under an umbrella one... so I whipped out some regular 1" wide elastic for the underbust because I didn't buy any swimwear stuff this size. Aww geeeez!


These are the rock hard cups 
I used, they aren't THAT bad


This bikini top provides medium support between the wide underbust elastic and with the cups I've added.  Read: I'm not jogging along the beach with this on, just sitting and sipping on an umbrella'd beverage. Bra cups give me more modesty as well.  For the cups, I simply slid them between the main and lining fabrics before sewing the two parts together. I would normally zig zag sew them in place on the lining but these particular cups are freakishly firm and a sewing machine wouldn't approve sewing through them.  You can see how I sewed in bra cups on another bathing suit right here a couple years back... those cups were soft and flexible making them easy to sew in.




Here are photos of both the inside and outside of my bikini top.  I tried to make the cup easy to see. It's not uncommon to have cups not sewn in ready-to-wear bathing suits because they are often removable.  Mine are permanently inside there, I'd absolutely lose them if I could take them out.



I wanted a tad more support for the top so I took the neck straps and sewed them in a criss-cross style.  This helps hold the whole thing in position a little better, plus it just looks cute!  Now let's talk about those high-waisted bikini bottoms.  I prefer a bit more modesty on my lower half so the Closet Case Files Bombshell Bathing Suit is exactly what I need.  I've made the full length swimsuit from that pattern two times already, so my pattern was cut and ready to rock for this ensemble.  My waist is halfway between a 12 and 14 and my lower hip, rear, thigh region a 16.  I lengthened it by 1 1/2" overall (the main fabric is lengthened by about 2 1/2" because it's ruched, the lining is 1 1/2" only.)  


I sew a lot with 4-way stretch knits for activewear and sewing bras & lingerie.  Whenever I need to baste I will use a medium to small zig zag stitch (above-left pic).  Patterns often don't mention this and show a straight basting stitch.  When I go to put on a close fitting garment like this, I will here popping stitches and the seams will be restricted with a straight basting stitch... zig zag basting solves that problem for me.  The above -right pic shows both the inside and outside of my 3/8" elastic stitch on the finished edges.  Notice on the inside (with the black lining showing) there are 3 lines of zig zags-- one is the basting, one is the initial zig zag stitch attaching the elastic and the last one is the final zig zag stitch.  All you see is the one line of stitches on the correct side of the finished garment.

This is a great technique if you only have a regular sewing machine or don't feel like breaking out the serger.  Otherwise I will often use my serger to attach the elastic followed by a either a zig zag stitch or a twin needle to finish.  I like to disengage my serger blade, dropping it down in the lowest position, while attaching the elastic--- this will prevent the elastic from getting cut if I get too close.

If you're new to sewing knits or four-way stretch stuff like this, I cannot stress how wonderful a walking foot is when using a regular sewing machine.  It's on my machine almost all the time, along with my ball point or stretch needles.  It evens out the pressure placed on the fabric as it runs under through the machine, preventing nasty puckering and stretching.    


Anyone else sewing up a bathing suit this season?!  I want a sporty one with a rash guard and swim shorts for splashing in the blow-up kiddie pool in the yard with my son... and will likely get one made up in the coming weeks.  Just need some warm days and sunshine now.

Happy Sewing!!
~Kathy
Kathy Sews

Comments

  1. This is adorable. Great job, Kathy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really like the workmanship with this swimsuit Kathy!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You look great in the suit! I love the high waist on this pattern-- not too much midriff showing. Modest yet stylish! Perfect for a fun day at the beach.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Kathy. Great job on the suit!
    I have the pattern too. How did you keep the fabric from puckering when you sewed the elastic the second time in between the cups on the outside of the top? I hope that makes sense to you.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! All comments are reviewed before posting to help us eliminate spam. Your comment will be posted within 24 hours.

Popular Posts You Might Like

Made by a Fabricista: Summer DIY Print Mixing

Hello Gems! It's still summer and it's a hot one! I'm not a shorts and t-shirts type of gal, as you all may know by now. That is, unless the occasion calls for it of course! I'm more of a casual chic, flirty two piece, with a little bohemian vibe on top type of gal! So you can find me beating the heat in these last days of summer in this cool and comfy backless tiered flounce sundress. Oh, and let's not forget the puff sleeves!  This whole vibe sums up the summer! And nothing says it better than zebra and tribal print! I coordinated the rayon rugged Tribal print crinkle challis with this rayon zebra print challis. These two prints look absolutely amazing together. They are both very drapey fluid fabrics that fair well as summer garments. They are breathable and feel so light and cool against the skin. Challis fabrics make great flounce and it's not too light weight that you have to line it. I absolutely adore both of these prints. Zebra print is one of those pr

Made by a Fabricista: Fast Sews and Cool Summer Fabrics

Happy Friday everyone! Today I'm sharing a few things made with my favorite summer fabrics - cotton, linen and rayon - and as an added bonus these are all super quick sews. Each of these projects took me no more than 2-3 hours to sew. My house gets too hot to sew some summer days, so projects I can whip up quickly are great for that limited amount of time that I have.  The first two items I made up as a set, but of course they can also be worn as separates. The top is the I Am Patterns Gaia tank made with a stunningly gorgeous cotton challis. Call me naive but I had no idea cotton challis was even an option! I'd only ever seen challis in rayon. This cotton though is simply a dream to work with, and if you run across it I highly suggest snagging some. The top is a simple V-neck with a facing but what makes it special are the gathers at the shoulder, made by simply adding a bit of ribbon or fabric in a tube. The combination of this pattern with this light cotton fabric is the per

Made by a Fabricista: Summer Ain’t Over Yet

All of my fellow Fabricistas have been looking toward starting their fall wardrobes. But this year, I’m riding my summer vibes right until their official end in mid-September, because I’m doing something a little different: going on a beach vacation after Labor Day! Now is as good a time as any to tackle my first swimsuit, and I have to say, it was a great experience. And of course, I’d need a cover-up too. Fabric Mart had everything I needed to try my hand at a swim suit. I knew I wanted a bright, colorful patterned suit that was more likely to hide any construction flaws, so I picked this really fun nylon/lycra and it just screamed summer fun. Since I wasn’t sure which lining would work best, I ended up picking up the plain black swimsuit fabric to line with, since I read that you can line with swim fabric. It ended up being thicker than I imagined, but for me, I felt like this worked great because the recovery of the two fabrics together is excellent. The fabric is great quality. I