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Made by a Fabricista: Tween Swimwear and Tween Sewing


I have begun the adventure that is sewing for a "tween."  I knew it would come to this one day, and I knew that I would be just fine if my daughter no longer wanted anything made by Mom, after all that's just more sewing time for ME!!  However, my daughter still prefers that I make her a few special items that we are hard-pressed to find in a store.  As women we know that finding swimwear we love is a chore but for my tween, it seems as if the options are even more limited.



On a recent shopping excursion we found all sorts of impractical frilly swimwear for her age group but nothing that looked as if it might hold up to a long day of hard play on the beach.  In addition my daughter prefers more modest swimwear, none of which we could find.  Soooo Mom to the rescue.




I turned to Fabric Mart's great collection of Jalie patterns for this swimsuit and they did not disappoint.  The swim shorts pattern is really, really good.  I highly recommend it, I do have one important word of caution.  The last step in the instructions for these swim shorts is completely wrong and you'll need to go to the Jalie site to copy the correction- otherwise you'll be really lost.

These shorts turned out so perfectly for my daughter, the fit is just right.  There's a brief type lining with a great swimshort on top.  A side pocket is included which my daughter can't wait to use for collecting shells.  The construction hides the secure stitching that holds the elastic in place- clever!


The fabric is some I previously purchased from Fabric Mart, I love their end of summer mark downs on swimwear fabric and try to grab some before its quickly purchased by everyone else! This particular swimwear fabric (stripes) is thicker than the coral (lining)  and I love it.  



The top is a converted Julia bralette with added straps.  It turned out a bit snug on the elastic (which, warning cannot be altered after the fact) however she should be able to get a summers wear from it.

I believe just about any bralette can be converted to a swimsuit.  For this top I triple lined the front portion for my daughter's comfort.
 

Maybe you've never sewn swimwear and are unsure about tackling such a project.  I would definitely encourage you to go for it.  In my opinion its a really satisfying make since you spend a heck of a lot less than you would if you bought such a suit at a store or online.  You can get closer to your ideal swimsuit as well with grading and adjustments.

You really don't need any special equipment, I used a simply zig zag stitch for most construction and you can use it for all construction if you don't have a serger.  You will need a stretch needle so as not to snag or puncture the fabric.


I'm wondering if any of you are currently sewing for a tween and are discovering (as I have) that there are limited options for tweens?  If so I'd like to make a few recommendations for patterns.

  1. Jalie patterns include all sizes, one word of caution, I do find that they fit a little snug so be sure to check your measurements including finished measurements for a proper fit. 
  2. Hey June Handmade has a line of tween patterns that are really cute.  The Camden tee is a favorite in my house as well as the Morrison tee.
  3. New Look patterns have a few tween patterns that are even marked "tween." 
  4. McCalls and Simplicity have some tween fashions that are pretty cute and I ended up using McCalls 7680 for my daughter's Easter dress.  Admittedly some of these patterns are strange or definitely not to a tween's liking but if your tween is anything like mine she'll be quick to inform you which is which!
 I am also careful to get my daughter's input on fabric choices.  I want her to enjoy whatever I might make for her and since she is at an age where her self awareness is heightening I want to be collaborative in creating something she'll love wearing.  The last thing I ever want is for her to feel like that sad kid who's Mom insisted she wear some drab "homemade" concoction that is completely out of touch.  Ha ha, why be that person when I could use my valuable time sewing for myself!

I hope this post was helpful in encouraging you to sew swimwear and to have even more courage to dare to sew for a tween!

Thanks for reading!
Elizabeth

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