Hi there! Do you recognize it? It’s the swimsuit superstar, the Bombshell pattern!
Honestly I can’t believe I worked up the courage to try and make a swimsuit! I was drooling over this pattern ever since it came out, so when the Pattern Parcel #3 was announced I jumped in. If you don’t know the Pattern Parcels yet, it’s a short sale of indie sewing patterns (it lasts only a few days) during which you can buy a bundle of pdf patterns by naming your own price and allocating some of it to charity (just like the Humble Bundle, except not for video games). Pattern Parcel #3 is over now (you can take a look at the patterns here), and the next one will take place in August, I can’t wait. Anyway, the last one featured the Bombshell swimsuit so I was thrilled.
When it came to buy some swimsuit-friendly fabric I was a bit lost though, so I turned to the “Swimwear Fabric” section of www.fabric.com. I semi-randomly bought some “Nylon Lycra Raschel” fabric, in “Periwinkle”, which is actually closer to purple that what I thought periwinkle was (I can’t get enough of saying periwinkle, what a great word), but anyway it’s a lovely color. This one is sold out, but the fabric exists in different colors and I would recommend it: it’s the first time I sewed with this type of fabric but it seemed to be very high-quality (except for a tiny little surprise that I would tell you about later).
I bought it at the end of May, and it’s the last piece of fabric I bought so far, because since I commited to Sally’s Summer Stashbust challenge (cf. The Quirky Peach)!
The idea: I won’t buy any fabric for three months, in order to force myself to use fabric from my stash. Three months seems reasonable, especially since I brought quite a lot of fabric from France (I just could not part with it…) and I really really have to use it now. So far it’s been a really good start because I’ve already sewn four things in a few weeks! Pictures coming soon 🙂
So, back to the lycra. Once I finished cutting the fabric, I had a really unpleasant surprise, because in daylight it turned out that the right side of the fabric featured a large decoloration mark all along the folding line, so of course right in the middle of the front piece of my bathing suit. I nearly threw everything away (I had just enough, so no way I could recut a piece), but it turned out that the mark wasn’t quite visible on the wrong side of the fabric so I just flipped everything to the wrong side. Turns out, I liked the matte side of the fabric much more, so, silver lining and all. I’d never had any problem with this website, so I’m just going to pretend it didn’t happen for now (because, yes, considering the really short time the fabric spent in my stash, there’s no way this happened after I bought it!).
With the sewing part, however, no unpleasant surprises. The pattern instructions are clear, but the sewalong is even better, with lots of details and pictures. I’m so glad I started with this pattern for my first swimsuit project, it’s the first time I was sewing with lycra and it went way better than what I was imagining!
This really makes me want to try out the other pattern from Closet Case Files, the Nettie bodysuit, which looks amazing. Sadly this will have to wait until September, because I fear that I don’t have adequate stretch fabric in my stash for now…
As for the Bombshell, everyone loves it, and I do too find it awesome, but I have to confess that after finishing it I was a bit disappointed.
First of all, I think I made a mistake choosing my size. If I trust the measurements chart, I should make a 10 at the waist, and a 14 at the hips. I was a bit sceptical so I just graded from a 10 to a 12, and it turned out that I really should have gone with a 10 all over because it ended up way too big at the legs. I resewed the elastic there to be more tight (and it’s a pain to unpick!), but it’s still too big. It doesn’t really show on the pictures, but when I walk I can feel that the bottom is riding up a bit and it’s making me quite uncomfortable. Actually, I love retro one-piece swimsuits, and I own another one that looks very similar to the Bombshell, this one, and it’s a lot tighter at the legs and I feel much less self-conscious in it. So, if I had to remake the Bombshell pattern, I think I’ll just go with a size 10.
Moreover, it was the first time I was sewing stretch fabric on my new machine and I really messed up. Unlike with my faitful Brother (that I had to leave in France), I can’t set the stitch length on this one, and I don’t know how I did that but I stretched the fabric a lot on some parts and now the seams are all wavy and weird.
One last thing (last one I promise!) is that to be honest I don’t find it that flattering from the front. I feel like the gathering at the bust makes the fabric ride up in a strange way, and it’s not just on me, I thought that with nearly all of the versions I’ve seen. I supposed I could have added cups like the pattern suggested, and I even bought some from Jo-Ann but they were really awful, super stiff, and gave me weird pointy boobs so I gave up.
The back, however, is just HOT.
It was just the right timing to sew this, because today was the deadline for the Sporty Summer Sewathon! I had envisioned making running shorts, probably the Prefontaine shorts which were also in Pattern Parcel #3, since I started running some time ago and I really need running clothes that would be adapted to the hot and humid weather of NC. The call of the swimsuit was stronger, though, so here we are!
And so this past weekend I flew down to California to celebrate freedom and fireworks and most importantly to try out my new swimsuit against the Pacific Ocean waves 🙂
Verdict: it does get a bit saggy once wet, and because of my size issue the back rides up a little, but otherwise it holds up well and it did not dissolve in water. Yeepee!
Bombshell from Closet Case Files
Size 10 (waist) to 12 (hips)
Nylon Lycra from www.fabric.com