Quick, let me tell you about my latest swimsuit before it gets too cold!
To tell you the truth I had no intention of sewing a swimsuit this year: apart from my vacation in Mexico last October, the times I have set foot in a swimming pool in the last two years can be counted on one hand. Since I’ve already sewn a couple swimsuits, plus the two or three RTW in very good condition in my closet, no, I clearly didn’t need a new swimsuit.
What I didn’t take into account was the Blackbird Fabrics newsletter, aka pure temptation (I really need to unsubscribe!). When they announced they were launching their own line of swimwear fabrics, I instantly fell in love with this vintage-looking floral pattern. I also got some lining and special swimsuit elastic from them, both of excellent quality. I have rarely had bad experiences with Blackbird, their products are not cheap but the quality is there.
Initially I had planned to sew the Nautilus swimsuit, together with my friend Diane. I had the pattern in my stash from the time when some patterns from independent designers were sold together in “bundles” (that was a while ago!). I printed the pattern, but right when I was about to cut my fabric I started to have doubts. I’m not sure why but the pattern didn’t feel right, I was afraid that it would not fit, that the front twist would be too much with the busy pattern and that I would waste my beautiful fabric. Spoiler alert, Diane did make the Nautilus swimsuit and it’s stunning, so who knows I might try it again in a less busy fabric.
So I decided to go with a simple one-piece swimsuit instead, as a blank canvas to showcase the print. I hesitated between several patterns, and the winner was Megan Nielsen’s Cottesloe swimsuit. I had read positive reviews of this pattern, and I really like the version with the deep scoop back, which has just the perfect depth. Another advantage of this pattern is that apart from the elastic it does not require special notions! No hooks or rings, which makes life a lot easier and makes the pattern suitable for beginners.
Following the measurement chart, I chose to cut a size 6 at the bust and waist, graded up to a size 10 at the hips. I did not modify the height because the pattern indicates that the pattern is drafted to suit all heights (in retrospect I should have added one or two centimeters anyway). I made a toile first in a fabric of the same weight but unfortunately it had no vertical stretch. This allowed me to roughly validate the neckline and back scoop depth, as well as the leg openings, but obviously it felt a little tight. Still I thought with the difference in elasticity it would be fine in my final fabric. In the end the swimsuit is really pretty but it does feel very compressing, especially at the bust. If I make it again, I’ll go up a size everywhere and I’ll add a few centimeters in height.
I had so much fun sewing this swimsuit that I might just make another one next year. It’s silly, I hardly ever wear swimsuits but I like to sew them! I bought this pattern from Mimi G that I think is stunning but whose style is way out of my comfort zone, but I don’t know, I want to give it a try. What’s your favorite swimsuit pattern?
I’ve been sitting on some swimsuit fabric (turquoise with navy dots) since Hancock Fabrics closed, but because I very rarely go to the beach and can’t remember the last time I was in a pool, I haven’t felt any urgency about sewing it up. I’ve got a couple of Big 4 swimsuit patterns, but they’re for pretty conventional designs like triangle bikinis. I’m guessing the Mimi G pattern you were referencing is the Riri? If so, it’s a lot of fun! I saw someone make a similar design in a black and white stripe, with the stripes laying horizontal on the bottom and vertical on the top, and it was quite striking. I say life is short, so go for it!
It is the Riri! Way out of my comfort zone but we’ll see. Your fabric sounds lovely, hopefully you can find an occasion to sew a swimsuit for next year 🙂