Saturday, July 1, 2017

Made by a Fabricista: Family Swimwear

We are so glad to have a friend who lives nearby and welcomes us to use her gorgeous pool!  Aren't we lucky!

Summer means swimming, water fun and sun for my family and I love it!  But one thing I am very conscious of is our sun exposure and minimizing sunburn.  For several years now I've made rash guards for my daughters and this year I chose to use the Jalie Valerie pattern to make coordinating Mother-Daughter rash guards and Jalie Nico for my husband. 
 
I am wearing my "fancy lady hat" which has been soaked completely from all the splashing!

I used three different swimwear fabrics for the Jalie Valerie rash guards. The floral being from an order I placed last year and the purple and coral are currently available at Fabric Mart.  Both are listed under "Swimwear."  The plum and coral are slightly thinner than the floral fabric and would be great for a swimsuit with gathers.  They were also slinkier and a little more difficult to cut with dressmaking shears so I used my 28mm rotary cutter for most cutting.  


The Jalie Valerie has great side panels that add interest to the pattern.  I previously made rash guards last summer using McCall's 7417 and while I really like that pattern, it's fun to mix it up a bit.  The Valerie is great in that it has a huge range of sizes and I was able to grade the pattern for my daughter fairly easily.  I would caution that for the size that I made for my daughter I really had to grade it out for a straight up and down figure adding a good deal of width at the waist, young bodies just don't have the curvier shape that the pattern is drafted for.  


I had quite a lot of fabric remaining after making our rash guards so I pulled out the Closet Case Patterns Sophie pattern and got to work!  I used the Sophie to make the top of the suit and the bottoms from McCall's 7417 for this combination.  



I am so proud of how this swim top turned out.  I have never sewn foam cups, underwires, or bras before so I was so pumped when I tried this on and it looked great. 
 

For the bottoms I lined the entire piece and added an extra layer of power mesh to the front center panel for tummy control.  One thing I have learned after having two children and nursing both, I appreciate a little extra power mesh here and a little foam cup there!  
 

Although I've made simple swimwear in the past, this was the first time that I braved wooly nylon thread and I am so glad I did.  It wasn't nearly as traumatic or difficult as I imagined and I will used it in the loopers of my serger for all swimwear from now on.  
 

I also added piping to the front of my swim bottoms to help the two pieces coordinate a bit more and it wasn't difficult. The picture above shows my in-progress shot.  Since the swimwear fabric wasn't overly thick I had no trouble with sewing multiple layers together. I was careful to baste everything before finalizing my stitches on the serger. 

If you've never sewn swimwear and are hesitant I really recommend just diving into the whole process.  Last summer I had the best sewing high from sewing my own swimwear and haven't looked back since.  

Rash guards are a great way to dip your toe into sewing swimwear since the construction is very quick and easy.  If you have experience with knits you are well on your way to sewing rash guards. 


Now to my husband's rash guard.  This guy is such a good sport, I know that posing for a blog post probably wasn't his favorite thing to do, but he never complained and really appreciated the rash guard.  I modified the Jalie Nico a bit to get this fit, I simply basted it together, had my husband try it on inside out and pinned up the sides to get a more snug fit since generally, rash guards are tighter fitting than tees. 
Please excuse the traces of sunscreen on the back of the shirt!

As a side note, I made up a muslin in some other knits from Fabric Mart and he loved that shirt as well.  The fabric used for his rash guard is an awesome fabric from Tracksmith.  The orangey-red colorway can be found here and the navy colorway here.  The fabric is thicker than swimwear and my husband commented that he thinks he will wear it for fall/winter workouts more than for swimming excursions.  I loved the thicker nature of the fabric and hope to make a Simplicity 8339 sports bra with the extra lengths- it would be perfect!

 

It feels good to know that all summer and even into the fall my family can play in the water and sun with less sun exposure.  If you've never sewn swimwear it is less difficult than you can imagine and I hope you might give it a try!  

Happy sewing and thanks for reading!
Elizabeth 

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