Saturday, July 6, 2019
Made by a Fabricista: Diana Tank Swimsuit and a Milly Floral Swim Fabric!
I am always excited for summer. It is definitely my favorite season. I am done teaching, I can relax in the day at the pool with my kids and friends, I can swim as many laps as I want, and I can enjoy wearing bright colors and less clothing than I have to in the winter. I typically make sundresses in the summer, but this summer I wanted to challenge myself to another swimsuit make. When I saw this gorgeous Milly swimsuit fabric for sale at Fabric Mart, I knew I had a plan (sold out, but this Milly swim fabric is gorgeous, too). Pairing this fabric with the Diana Tank Swimsuit by Jalie was also a no brainer.
I have made a swimsuit before, back in the winter of 2017. That was also made using a Jalie pattern and Fabric Mart fabrics, so I knew I could successfully accomplish this task. :-) I love Jalie patterns as there are no guessing games. If the size you are is what you are, you cut that size. I went with the same sizes as I did when I made my last swimsuit and the process of cutting out the fabric and the pattern (I traced it, then cut it out of the traced paper) was very similar. I went with a size T at the bust (I measure 35" on a good day at my bust), a size U at the waist, and a size W (I went up two sizes as my hips are 41" and not 40"). It was exactly the right choice, and the suit fits me perfectly. I might add a 1/2" on the elastic at the thigh opening next time, but I may also go with a cotton/rubber knit elastic instead of rubber elastic next time, as I think the rubber elastic isn't as comfortable as a cotton/rubber knit elastic. I think I could keep the elastic measurements the same if I went with a better feeling elastic. But I am not complaining, even with it being a scooch uncomfortable, I love the fit, even at the thigh opening.
Let's talk about the fabric. I am in love with this fabric! The colors! The floral print! Beyond it being beautiful, it is also super luxe feeling. It has the feel of a suit that will last for a long time with care (remember--always cold water rinse after a swim and hang your suit to dry--no washing and drying in conventional machines--trust me).
I used a taupe colored lining and I think it works well with the white background of the Milly swimwear fabric. The taupe is very opaque and thick and I do not think I will have to worry about anything peeking through the white background with the lining! I received the lining in a mystery bundle a couple of years ago, and it had the stretch and feel of a swimwear lining, so I stashed it with my swimwear fabrics. It definitely acts as a good lining, so I think my hunch is right, but it could also be an activewear fabric, too. As long as the stretch test shows it will work with the pattern, you should be good to go. After all, swimsuits used to be made of woven fabrics!
Constructing the suit was easy enough, but I had the experience of having made the suit before. I definitely used the same process as I did on my last swimsuit make, but this time I had less serging to do and way more elastics to apply. I, once again, really enjoyed the process of applying elastics (using the 3.5/3.5 zigzag stitch). Once done, the stitching looks really cool from the outside. I suspect that if I had a coverstitch machine, I would have more secure stitches, but it may not be as satisfying to sew.
I also really like the instructions on how to completely conceal the seam at the bottom of the suit. Very clever. When I figured out what they meant, and did it exactly as instructed, I ended up with a clean finish on both the inside and outside. It looks very professional from the inside!
The suit from all angles is very flattering. The keyhole back is both functional (makes lap swimming super comfortable) and pretty (its arch looks so nice!). The designer really thought about what women and girls need when swimming. I felt very confident, and when I told people I had made it they were amazed. (Most people know I sew, but I think that non-sewers can't wrap their heads around the concept of swimwear being an at home project!)
I love this shot. I think I was laughing when this was taken, but it is one of my favorites. I think I like it most because it shows me that even when I am not standing perfectly still and formal, I can still look okay in my swimsuit! I definitely will use this pattern again with some other swimwear fabric I own. It only took two days to make the suit (working about four hours each day). I took extra time, too, since I wanted to make sure I did everything exactly right. I think it would take me six hours total next time, so I can make it in a day if I so choose!
Another thing I love about it is how cute it looks with shorts! It looks just like a tank top when I wear it with shorts. Close up you can tell it's a swimsuit, but from far away, it looks like a cute fitted top!
I did take the suit to the pool, and it held up nicely in the water. I had no adjustments or tugging to do while I was swimming, and lounging afterwards was also quite nice.
I hope some of you are planning on making your own suit this summer! Are you planning on using some of the awesome swimwear fabric Fabric Mart has for sale now? Are you going to use Jalie's Diane Tank pattern? Let me know!
Enjoy your summer! I'll see you back here in the fall!