22.11.12

A little bit frilly...

When I start sewing swimwear, it takes me a bit to get in the groove of the different techniques and materials, so I just keep on going until I feel the old skills return and get a chance to develop some new ones.  I think if I just sewed one pair each year, I would never improve. 

I made 2 sets of bikinis out of this funky fabric, given to me by one of my sisters. The patterns are all self-drafted. 

I'm not sure what this first style is called.  It is like half a bandeau.  The strap sits over the neck, passes through the sides of the top and then ties at the back.  In the past, I have gathered the centre of bikinis onto "glamour rings" from Spotlight, but have found the rings to be a little expensive.  This time, I copied off RTW, and just gathered the centre onto a narrow tube made from the same fabric as the top.  Seems to work alright, and means you don't have to worry about breaking a needle on the ring.


When I was playing around today, I realised that I could change the way the straps are tied, so that instead of sitting on the neck, the upper strap is brought down for the back straps to tie through.  I like this, because I find that halter straps tend to give me a head-ache if I wear them too long.  There is no elastic in the strap, because I find that the strap is softer and less likely to cause headaches if there is no elastic in it.


The bottoms have a CB seam, similar to my sporty pair, but the legs are higher cut and there is a little more cheek coverage.  I added the frill, because it looked cute in some of the magazines, but the frill visually widens the hips, which is not what I need.


Usually I make a bikini and a one-piece out of a length of fabric, but this fabric was a little light for a one-piece, so I made a second bikini. 

The top is a fairly plain halter style, and not so teensy as the photo would suggest.  I forgot to take a close-up photo of the strap.  I made the strap using the binder on my cover-stitch machine.  The binder usually folds over the fabric strip, and then a larger piece of fabric, such as a t-shirt, is fed into the binding as it is being sewn.  This time I fed rubber elastic in as the binding was sewn.  I think industrial manufacturers have special binders that control the tension of the elastic as it is being bound.  I just used my hands to control the tension of the elastic.  It worked well, until I stopped to check how it was working.  That's when the fabric slipped down in the binder and it all stopped working!  I had sewn enough to make a strap though.  I was pretty pleased with this, as I have not tried it before and was not actually expecting it to work at all. (For those interested, the binder I used was the Brother binder that came with my cover-stitch machine).

The bottoms are a more conservative pair.  I know it is hard to tell the difference from photographs, but I just don't think the internet needs pictures of me in swimmers!  For comparison, look at the amount of the back lining you can see, compared to that of the pair above.  I made this up from a pattern that I re-discovered recently in the pages of my Kwik-sew book.  I had labelled it "best bikini so far 2007".  I do remember drafting it.  I started with the band-side bikini on Stuart's site.  I lowered the leg holes.  I raised and curved the waist to cover that dimple left-over from childbirth, which still hasn't gone away, 7 years later.  I removed 5 - 6 cm of length from the crotch so it wouldn't be saggy in the bum. 

That was in the days before waist high full brief styles had made a come-back.  I guess the waist high bikinis could be considered even more conservative, but I don't find them very flattering, unless you are either stick skinny or you have a 50's hourglass figure or a perfectly proportioned upper and lower torso.   

10 comments:

  1. I have make a pair of swimmers on my 101 in 1001 list. I am a bit nervous to tackle it though. I think I might start with a pair for Imogen first. Start small...

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    1. Hello Kat,

      If you have never made swimmers before, I would start with a KwikSew pattern, because their instructions are really good.

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  2. That fabric is so nice... you have really made lots of togs lately and you do such a professional job. They look great. You will no doubt need them up in Gove. I'm just going to start now a two pairs of training togs and lining them both... I've never done lining and have only made my son three pairs with part lining. Anyway if I don't start I won't get them done... I also bought a 2nd hand coverstitch machine (from Sydney that my niece is bringing up early Dec) so I will be looking back at your trials with yours with great interest.

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    1. Hello Summer Flies,

      The lining is not much harder than no lining. If the lining and / or the main fabric are slippery, I sometimes baste the two layers together before I apply elastic. I baste with a zig-zag stitch, so that you don't hear the basting stitches rip when the togs are stretched.

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  3. Oh I like these too - your swimwear is always so inspiring :) My daughter has been begging me for a bikini top like your first one, maybe I can use her as my test subject.

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    1. My pieces are shaped, but for your daughter, you could probably just use 2 rectangles. Apply elastic to top and bottom. I sewed the ruffles on with a zig-zag stitch. Turn over casing at each end. Feed tie through centre casings and strap through outer casings.

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  4. Great suits and handy to mix and match. Send some warth done to Sydney. It's very cool for November.

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  5. Very pretty bikinis. I think swimwear may be my new favourite thing to make. It is a shame that summer in NZ is so short.

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  6. What great fabric! I like those center back seam ones. I still have yet to find a bikini that looks right on me--they're usually too low--these might have some fun possibilities.

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