Tag Archives: Soma Swimsuit

Soma Swimsuit Test: Bikini Top Variation Two

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I am so excited to share Variation Two of the Soma Swimsuit with you today!  This is my last test garment for this pattern, and I think it’s definitely the coolest and most flattering, at least on me.  The fact that its structure is naturally somewhat supportive probably helps.

Enough talk, though.  Here it is:

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

 

I really love how this came out.  It kind of makes me wish I had more of this fabric so I could use it to try making a tankini, but I’ve used it all up, and Girl Charlee, the site I ordered my fabric from, doesn’t have any more.  I will say, though, that while I love the combination of these two fabrics, the coral one, which is a midweight, is much easier to sew with than the lightweight chevron print.  Lesson learned.  I think my final products with the midweight fabric were much better and more professional looking than what I managed to make out of the lightweight, too.

So, details on the top:

I followed the directions, but used Lauren’s idea to prevent any, um, textural show-through in the front.  She used about four layers of lining and one layer of the outer fabric in the cups.  This was a bit tricky, but I persevered, and it came through alright in the end.  My machine was able to handle all the fabric layers, which was a huge relief.  I think the only other thing I did differently, was that I sewed a double line of stitches on the top and bottom elastic.  I hadn’t sewn down far enough and the elastic was flipping up a little bit at the chevron fabric.  Hopefully this will help.  Here’ s the suit before the final edging elastic went in:

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

Soma Swimsuit Test:  Bikini Top Variation Two

So, here are my questions now:  If I were to make this into a tankini (kind of like this), could I add a little more support like an underwire or a shelf bra?  Would that even be a good idea?  I definitely don’t know what I’m doing in that area (it doesn’t help that I forgot to put the shelf bra into last year’s suit, either).  How much chance is there that I can force it to work?  I think I would make it one size bigger next time, so I want to make sure it still has good support.  I want everything held in place!

I’ve contemplated taking a break from this pattern and making one or two of the Jalie swimsuits, in the hopes that those patterns might show me my answer.  The Soma suit has a great stylistic edge, but Jalie has years of experience on its side.  I also think I might need to change gears completely for a short time.  My head is starting to swim with all these bathing suit questions (no pun intended), and I can hardly walk into a clothing store without snapping a picture of inspiring bathing suits.  I really, really, really want an awesome suit that I love by summer (and I want to be awesome at sewing bathing suits), but I may be on the edge of bathing suit burnout, so perhaps I’ll sew up a few t-shirts or a skirt as a break, and then get back to it.  Does anyone have any tips on adding support to women’s suits or do you have a favorite bathing suit pattern?

I will admit, learning how to sew these things is very empowering.  I think I might be getting a little arrogant (my pride is outflanking my skills).  I look at the price of bathing suits, and I think, “Yeah, right!!!  I can make that!  And it will cost less, be cooler, and be unique!”  Yeah, maybe I need to step back a few paces…

Still, check out my work as a whole:

Soma Swimsuit Test Suits

It feels good to have done all that, even with the imperfections.  And giving myself the opportunity to practice makes me feel like I can get the obligatory mistakes out of the way on the path to ultimate bathing suit domination.  Someday, even Anthropologie shoppers will wish they had my suits!  Wahahahaha!!!!

And on that note, I think I’m going to sign off and look for something different to sew.

Soma Swimsuit Test: One-Piece and Low-Rise Bottoms

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Monday was sewing day, and I’m pleased to say I made real progress.  I finished the one piece and the low-rise bottoms test versions of the Soma Swimsuit pattern by Papercut Patterns.

Soma Swimsuit one-piece by Papercut Patterns

one-piece front

Soma Swimsuit one-piece by Papercut Patterns

one-piece back

 

Soma Swimsuit low-rise bottoms by Papercut Patterns

low-rise bottoms front

Soma Swimsuit low-rise bottoms by Papercut Patterns

low-rise bottoms back

Don’t you think the snow is an appropriate backdrop?

Here are my notes and thoughts for you.  I sized the bottoms down from the medium that fit my measurements to a small and the top of the one-piece from a small to an extra small after testing out the high-rise bottoms and the bikini top variation 1, which is a similar style to the one-piece.  I think that for the low-rise bottoms, I should go back up to a medium, although I like the high-rise bottoms in a small.  I also used a different elastic technique on the low-rise bottoms and I think it makes them look like…well, have you ever seen a swim diaper?  Kind of like that.  The good news is that they’re not going anywhere, but they give me some serious muffin-top, if you know what I mean.

The one piece is easy to put together even if you are different sizes on the top and the bottom.  Because the back doesn’t close, you just need to make sure you mark the midpoint of your top and bottom pieces and line those up.  (The pattern tells you to line up the markings on the top with the side seams of the bottom, but if you just mark the mid-points of top and bottom pieces, everything still works out.)  I definitely heard some popping stitches as I pulled the one-piece on, but thankfully they were basting stitches.  Everything felt pretty secure, but if you are someone who likes support up top, this is not the suit for you.  Sadly, I do like some support or else Speedo-like compression, so I think I will not make the one-piece in my final fabric.  I also wonder how the fold-over elastic is going to hold up over time.  Still, the suit is wearable, professional, and a vast improvement over last year’s attempt.  Also, I really like the mid-weight fabric in the one-piece as opposed to the light-weight fabric I used for the bottoms.

Here are a few close-ups in case you want to see details:

Testing the Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns

waist detail, one-piece

Testing the Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns

front strap details, one-piece

 

Testing the Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns

waist detail, low-rise bottoms

 

I still have bikini top variation 2 to go, and I have high hopes for more support and coverage from that pattern.  If all goes well, I hope to turn it into a tankini in its final version.  I’ll keep you posted!

If you are looking for more details on pattern, fabric, notions, etc., see my last post here.

 

The State of Things

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I feel like I’ve been sucked into the sewing vortex.  Without the chance to easily go outside for walks or have as much time to myself due to all the snow days, all I’ve been doing is sewing, thinking about sewing, reading about sewing, trying to avoid thinking about spring and summer, and looking at fabric websites to fuel my sewing.  I like it best when the blog reflects a wider range of things than just that, but sewing is mostly what’s going on.  Give me a month and I’ll probably be back to watching surfing documentaries to make it through the end of winter, but for now, I have to keep my head in the game and think winter, winter, winter.  That’s why I’m sewing bathing suits.  😉

Here’s a peek at what’s going on over here:

 

The State of Things at Pattern and Branch

The Soma Swimsuit Pattern by Papercut Patterns

I’ve decided that I WILL conquer swimsuits (hope I don’t have to eat my words).  Maybe you recall last year’s attempt.  This year, I plan to try again.  I got the Soma Swimsuit pattern from The Papercut Collective for Christmas, and I want to try all three suit options (two two-pieces and a one-piece).  Sorry to have to tell you up front that I won’t be modeling them for you.  This isn’t about body image issues.  It’s about the fact that I don’t want pictures of myself in undergarments or bathing suits on the internet.  Everyone has their threshold.  I will, however, take pictures of the suits (not on me) if and when I finish them.

I ordered some fabric from Girl Charlee  and elastic from The Fabric Fairy and, at the wise advice of my husband, decided to do some test garments with leftover materials while I waited for the new materials to arrive.  I’m glad I did because it’s giving me a chance to figure out my size and to freely make mistakes without ruining my “final” fabric.  I made a small top and medium bottoms, but while they fit, I think they will fit better if I go down a size, so that’s what I’m going to try next.  Their sizing is rather more generous than ready-to-wear sizes.

 

 

Testing the Soma Swimsuit

Test versions of the high-waist bottoms and Bikini Top version 1 (front)

Testing the Soma Swimsuit Pattern

High-waist bottoms and Bikini Top version 1 (back)

The salmon colored bottoms are mediums and the chevron bottoms are smalls.  Thankfully both have the same amount of coverage, but the smalls feel more secure.  I’m really not a bikini wearer, but there are times I just want to sit at the beach with a tank top on over my suit, and not have my stomach get all sweaty.  Plus, I’m wondering about making bikini top version 2 into a tankini.

The shower has become the testing ground.

Testing the Soma Swimsuit Pattern

While the top fits (you can adjust it a lot to get the perfect fit), I noticed that the bust darts were off-center, so I sized down for my tests of the one-piece and bikini top version 2.  I don’t wear an extra small in ANYTHING, so if you sew this, make sure you take your measurements with the knowledge that you may still have to size down.

Now I’m working on making a pair of low-rise bottoms, the one-piece, and bikini top version 2.

 

Testing the Soma Swimsuit

Testing the Soma Swimsuit

Testing the Soma Swimsuit

 

A word on supplies:  I ordered fabric and lining as well as swimsuit elastic and fold-over elastic.  I had leftover bra rings from a project I never made (I got them at Sew Sassy).  I had to buy a few bathing suit hooks at Joann Fabrics as well as some bulky/wooly nylon thread for my bobbin thread and 100% polyester thread (I chose Gutermann) for my top thread.  (I don’t have a serger, so these will be sewn on a conventional machine using a stretch needle and a walking foot.)  I did not order the bra strapping or swimsuit cups/foam for making cups.  I really wanted to, but the cost was starting to get prohibitive.  Here is the problem I ran into:  if I wanted the best prices, I had to order my supplies from about four different websites.  But then I would have to pay shipping at every one of those websites.  I searched the web for two days and finally found one site that had ever single supply I might want or need:  Fabric Depot.  The hardest part, though, is that their shipping costs are pretty high, so having limited funds, I decided it was time to follow Tim Gunn’s perennial advice and “make it work”.  I don’t want to spend all my hoarded Christmas money on a single sewing project.

In case you are thinking about making this suit yourself, here are some helpful blog posts around the web.

  • For lots of fun information on the suit, check out the tutorials posted on Papercut’s site.  They include making your own straps (I did this.), making bikini top version 1 reversible, sewing the high-waisted bottoms, making bikini top version 2, creating your own bindings, and finding supplies in various countries.
  • Inna (The Wall Inna) posted her one-piece version of the suit.  She made her own covered straps.
  • Lauren of Lladybird posted her awesome take on the bikini versions (see version 1 and version 2).  She also solves the problem of, um, modesty issues if you don’t have bra cups or swimsuit foam to insert into your suit in her take on version 2.  I’m going to give this a try myself on version 2.  My version 1 certainly would have been better with a little more…well, some cups.
  • Sallie (of sallieoh) rocks version 2 and introduces a strap variation.  She also tries out using swimsuit foam for coverage in her version.
  • Find the tankini take on bikini variation 2 that I mentioned above over at Unlikely Nest.  She also tries her own strap variation.
  • And on oh, she dabbles, C makes pretty cool versions of the one-piece and bikini variation 1 with high-waisted bottoms.
  • Finally, not Soma related, but very helpful anyway, I used this post for inserting elastic last year.  I used Papercuts instructions for the two bottoms I’ve already finished, but I’m going to try these techniques out on the low-rise bottoms.  That post is part of a larger series on the blog Kadiddlehopper that was really informative as I made my first forays into the world of sewing bathing suits last year.