Under the sea, under the sea…When the sardine begin the beguine it’s music to meee (it’s music to me!) What do they got? A lot of sand, we got a hot crustacean band! Each little clam here know how to jam here, under the sea…
After my first successful attempt at making swimwear (with the Bombshell swimsuit), I dived straight into my dream project: a two-piece swimsuit inspired by the outfit of Ariel, the Little Mermaid!
Everything started last year, I don’t remember when exactly, I was browsing Pinterest when I stumpled upon this picture:
Ariel-themed swimsuit! I got a HUGE crush on the idea, given that I’m a very big fan of the movie and its songs… Back in college, my friend Elise and I we were presidents of the Disney club, and for my PhD defense my lovely colleagues got me tickets to see the Little Mermaid musical (and it was AMAZING). I coudln’t find the source of the image, the suit looks homemade but the page it was from didn’t exist anymore… I saved it and quickly promised myself that one day, when I would finally be brave enough to tackle swimwear, I would make the exact same one (but better).
Since then I was planning and scheming, selecting patterns carefully… And then in June, I was browsing on Harts Fabric, and I found this:
It was THE fabric! I bought it right away, and after trying the Bombshell and convincing myself that swimwear wasn’t that hard after all, I finally made my mermaid suit!
For the bottom, I used Ooh Lulu’s Ava panties, as I wanted a high-waisted bottom without any piecing (unlike the inspiration picture). I made a muslin that stopped right in the middle of my belly button, which wasn’t super pretty, so I added half an inch or so. I also recut the leg openings, because the Ava’s cut is very boxy and I didn’t find this flattering in the front. Surprisingly enough, I sewed a straight S: I lost some weight recently and the muslin that I graded from a S at the waist to a M at the hips was noticeably too big.
Instead of following instructions, I chose to line it entirely with swimwear lining. While looking for a tutorial, I discovered that Sarah from Ooh Lulu had recently made the exact same one! An Ava swimsuit bottom, in a scale-print fabric (but in a slightly different and less sparkly fabric). You can see on her pictures how low the leg openings are.
For the top, I originally had planned to make the one from Burda 05/2013, in an ultra-violet nylon from Fabric.com. At the last minute I changed my mind and decided to go full cosplay, and chose McCall’s M6569 that I had in my pattern stash and whose gathers reminded me of Ariel’s seashell bra.
Making this top was an interesting process, with boning and swimwear interfacing. At first I didn’t really get the instructions and started using regular interfacing (duh!) but I quickly realized that the pattern called for polylaminate foam instead (I bought some here). And boy does it make a difference! It looks very professional, just like a store-bought one. However, it still lacks straps and doesn’t stay up that well, especially when wet because the foam becomes really heavy. I doubt it’ll get worn a lot, especially not for jumping around in the Atlantic ocean’s waves.
However, if I need to sing along Disney songs, it’s perfect!
Ariel Swimsuit Bottom
Ava Panties, Ooh Lulu
Scales Foil Spandex – Harts Fabric
Ariel Swimsuit Top
Nylon Lycra – Fabric.com
Polyylaminate Foam – Sew Sassy