It happened! I finished my bathing suit and…I think it works!
When we last met here, I had finished the bottom, but not the top. During this week, I worked on joining up all the pieces and adding elastic to the neckhole and armholes. That last bit wasn’t a part of the pattern, but I really like the look it provides, and I was hoping to solve a few problems with it.
There was a small part on the front neckline where I didn’t catch my outer fabric very well when I was sewing all the layers together. There was no invisible way (that I could think of) to fix that. Even using clear thread, it would have been visible.
I also wanted to stabilize those openings and give them more support so that they would be stronger and hopefully not gape when wet.
Finally, I was hoping the edging would magically tighten and take in the little bit of excess under the arms. So…that didn’t happen (which I expected, but you always hope for that happy accident!), but I’m more optimistic about the other things.
When I began to apply the elastic, I realized it was a make-or-break moment. The suit would either be much better for the addition or it would be ruined. I bet on the side of better and went for it.
After letting go of my perfectionism, I ended up with a swimsuit that isn’t perfect, but is actually finished and is, I think, a wearable first draft. I’ve tested it briefly. Now to see how it does over a whole day at the beach.
If you happen to be working on your own bathing suit and want to try applying elastic like I did, check out this tutorial on the Kadiddlehopper blog. I used the advice here on both the stitched and turned elastic for my leg holes as well as the bound edges in the top. I actually have this blog post printed out and saved in a binder so I don’t lose it!
As for the few other details on this suit, here they are: I fully lined both the front and back of the top and bottom. I also used powermesh from the Imagine Gnats shop as the lining fabric in the built-in bra of the top. I have nothing but good to say about buying from there–super fast shipping and great service. All my elastic was 3/8″ swimwear elastic, and I used wooly nylon thread in my bobbin, with 100% polyester Güttermann thread in the top. I used a walking foot, plus a stretch needle and Jalie’s method (found in the pattern) of sewing a long zigzag stitch first (width: 4.5, length: 0.5) and then going back and doing a straight stitch while stretching the fabric slightly (length: 2.5) at the actual seamline. For pattern and fabric details, see my first post on this swimsuit. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Thanks to everyone who encouraged me! It means so much, and it really helped me finish well. My neighbor’s mom, who I just love and who is an amazing seamstress herself, is now convinced that I can sew anything. Little by little, right?
Here’s some fun for your weekend.
- I have really been loving the Instagram feed of @suzyquilts. There is something about her bright and beautiful pictures and her patterns…and I don’t even quilt! (Well, I do have a quilt that’s been in-progress since 2008, but I’m talking quilting as a regular practice.) I love the stripes she uses in her Kris Kross quilt. Tempting… You can also find her website here.
- If you like the crop top look, but not the idea of baring your midriff, Allie J. will show you how to “make your own (fake) crop top” in this tutorial.
- We like thinking games in our house, and one of the games we play on the iPad is Monument Valley. They bill it as “an illusory adventure of impossible architecture and forgiveness”. It feels a little bit like trying to figure out an M.C. Escher visual puzzle with calming, completely non-scary background music. Good for any age.
- Explore.org has links to lots of wildlife cameras. It’s pretty cool that you can see African wildlife, ospreys in Maine, or pandas in China any time you want.