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Archive | Swimsuits

Swimsuits I’ve made

August 12, 2015

Beach Body Ready

Dear Mr Troll,

Prepare yourself. Remember that sketch of a swimsuit that offended you so? Well here’s the real thing!

And don’t I look fabulous?

Closet Case Files Bombshell swimsuit

It’s another Closet Case Files Bombshell swimsuit – and unlike last time I chose a quality fabric so I can actually wear it! Since I made my last one, Heather extended the size range to 20, so I just used that rather than my previously graded size. As before it went together easily, except for my machine having a temper tantrum when topstitching elastic, which meant almost all of it went in wavy and had to be unpicked (zigzag unpicking! argh!) and re-done with a higher tension on the elastic.

I was planning on using the swim bra that I ripped from my last suit (and originally came from a RTW tankini) but for some reason it just didn’t work this time. Not having support – or some flimsy foam cups – wasn’t going to work for this here busty lady, so I went down a different route: I sewed a bra in. Yes, an entire bra. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it went in a treat! I used an old bra I don’t wear any more, and stitched it into the front neckline first, and then through the back until the straps. It was a little tricky figuring out how to cover the straps without cutting and re-attaching them, and I can’t pretend they’re perfect… I ended up wrapping pieces of fabric around them and serging, and then securing it so that the serging is on the inside of the straps. Anyone have any better ideas? 
Closet Case Files Bombshell swimsuit

This time round I also thought I’d skip the butt ruching, because really my bum doesn’t need any more ruching. To do that, I just used the lining piece instead and it worked well. The back middle seam is really curved so I couldn’t cut my stripes on the fold, so I had to do some pretty painstaking stripe matching. However Wonder Tape saved the day – you can attach and re-attach to your heart’s desire until you figure it out!

Closet Case Files Bombshell swimsuit

I love my final suit – I could probably do with a slightly higher cut leg so I may look for a pattern like that next summer, but for now I’m going to flounce around in 1950s glory. And maybe eat some cake. Closet Case Files Bombshell swimsuit

Did you make a swimsuit this year? Do you have any pattern recommendations which are tummy-friendly but have a higher cut leg? I need to start planning ahead!

Want to be the first to hear about future Cashmerette Pattern releases, have the chance to be a pattern tester, get cool tutorials and keep up to date with all the latest curvy fashion inspiration? Sign up for the Cashmerette mailing list here: 


Cashmerette
August 14, 2014

Tutorial: How to sew a swim bra into a swimsuit

Hey ladies! Want to sew your own swimsuit but need a bit more support than a layer of spandex? Then never fear, because it’s super easy to put a swim bra into your hand-made suit.

Bombshell

This is just the approach I took for my polka dot Bombshell – there are others, including putting elastic in to make a shelf bra (my bust LAUGHS at your shelf bra, but others may be in less need of industrial support), or actually making a swim bra out of foam and bra notions. However I took the easy way: I took a very old and worn out tankini, and seam-ripped the internal underwired bra out, and sewed it into my new suit.

SwimBraTutorialSmall

1. Complete your suit to this stage: the front and back are attached, but you haven’t put the straps on yet.

2. Serge (or zig zag) along the top of the suit and lining to join them into one piece.

3. Place your swim bra over the front, making sure the underwire is at least 1/2 inch below the neckline (because you’re going to be folding it over with elastic to finish it). Remember to put it the correct way round, so the softer side will be against your body. I also put the sides of the cups about 1/4 inch beyond the side seam, to avoid too much bulk. Note, your bra may not perfectly match the shape of your suit: no worries!

4. Pin that baby! There was more fullness in the cups than in my suit, so I lightly tucked where necessary and pinned so that it would lie flat to the neckline

5. Stitch it down! Just stitch the neckline, and stop at the edges of the cups – the back strap will be free floating.  I used a narrow zig zag.

6. Trim off the excess if you have any (my swim bra was from a halterneck so had a lot of extra)
7. Now continue with making your swimsuit – the next step in the Bombshell is putting elastic along the neckline.
A couple of things to bear in mind:
– You will want to raise the back of the Bombshell into a less acute curve in order to cover the back strap
– You may also want to change from halter neck to straight straps – that’s super easy, just try on the suit with the bra in, measure the length that you need, make some fabric tubes, and feed bra straps or swimsuit elastic through them. You can see a technique for doing that here.
– Need to grade the Bombshell suit up? You can find my tutorial here.
Hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions.

Want to be the first to hear about future Cashmerette Pattern releases, have the chance to be a pattern tester, get cool tutorials and keep up to date with all the latest curvy fashion inspiration? Sign up for the Cashmerette mailing list here: 

 

How to sew a swim bra into a swimsuit! Tutorial by Cashmerette

Cashmerette
August 12, 2014

A fun Bombshell! With a sad ending :(

This year, I pledged to tackle swimsuits and trousers, and I’m halfway there!
Being the sewing sheep that I am, I decided to follow the flock and make the Closet Case Files Bombshell swimsuit, which was designed with curves in mind. I am in possession of the most curviest of curves, so clearly it was meant for me. I did have to grade up, as my bust and waist were bigger than the size 18, but it was a pretty straightforward process (tutorial here).
And here it is, in all its glory! Do you like my natural pose? I hang out at the beach just like this, honest.


Hurray! So the eagled eyed among you will notice a few differences to the published pattern. The main one is that I changed the halterneck straps to regular over-the-shoulder straps. Why? Well, I wouldn’t usually put a massive weight on a string around my neck, so why should swimsuits be any exception? Much better like this, thankyouverymuch.

Not featured: an internal swim bra, and there are also real bra straps inside the straps: tutorial here!

Look ma, nothing escapes!

Obligatory back view

 

I felt thoroughly pleased with myself for making this. Despite the fact many other sewists have already made it and declared it to be super easy I was rather skeptical of my own abilities. But darn it if it didn’t turn out they’re right! A major bonus is not having to finish seams (I used my serger), and absolutely no ironing – therefore making the perfect mid-summer sewing project. No ironing in my underwear for this make, no siree (I’m sure the neighbours are disappointed).
I wore it out at the first opportunity, which turned out to be Nantucket this weekend. It didn’t actually go into the water (apart from this shot), but I swanned around feeling very glamourous.

 

And now we come to the sad bit. Oh dear. You may be wondering where this adorable fabric is from, and you’d be right if you guessed Girl Charlee, purveyor of cute prints. Unfortunately…. the fabric is a fail. This isn’t the first time for me: my Maxi Moneta has already massively faded and pilled to the point of being unwearable, a lightweight knit I bought had holes in it, and just the other day Heather had a problem with her ponte Mabel.

The strap was losing dye just during the sewing process (before it had been worn), and I ended up with blue dye all over my hands:

After one wear, not swimming, there were streaks of blue dye coming off the suit and across my thighs:

And here you can see the dye seeping through the lining:

So it turns out that my victorious Bombshell is basically not wearable. To their credit, Girl Charlee eventually agreed to give me a refund (although their usual policy is that if you pre-wash fabric you are no longer eligible for one). I’m also sending the suit back to them so that they can investigate it with their suppliers.

In the meantime: I have a graded swimsuit pattern that fits me! I will be going to the Garment District soon! A new, top quality, swimsuit shall be mine, this time made from colourfast fabric! Anyone have any other swimsuit pattern recommendations?


Cashmerette
August 6, 2014

Tutorial: How to grade up the Bombshell swimsuit

There’s still time for swimsuit season! Like many of you, I’ve had my eye on Closet Case File’s Bombshell swimsuit, which surely lives up to its name. However, unfortunately it only goes up to a size 18, which just isn’t large enough for some of us. Therefore, I graded the pattern up to make my version, and I thought I’d share a quick tutorial in case you want to as well. It’s well worth it – the pattern looks amazing on curves!

1. Do some maths (don’t worry, it’s easy)

The Bombshell swimsuit has negative ease, which means that the pattern is smaller than your body measurements. That makes it slightly trickier to grade than usual, but it’s still straightforward. The table below shows the largest size in the Bombshell (size 18), and how I graded up to my measurements. You can simply put your measurements in, and do the same calculations to figure out how much you need to add.

What we’re doing is following the same proportions as the original sizing. I’m rather top heavy, so as you can see, my bust is 48″, so my final swimsuit size is 41.5″. The size 18 has a bust measurement of 38″, so I have to add 3.5″. I have to then add 2.5″ to the waist, and nothing to the hips, I’ll just use the size 18.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to assume you need to grade up all the measurements.

2. Let the grading begin! Start with a Full Bust Adjustment on the Front Bodice
 
Doing an FBA is better than just adding at the side seam, because it changes the shape of the top, and adds any necessary length. As I am mostly bigger on my front, I’m adding all the extra bust measurement (3.5 inches) on the front bodice. However if you’re bigger all around, you could do a smaller FBA on the front and also add a bit to the back.
a) cut the piece at waist level – this lets you adjust the bust first without changing all the rest of the proportions
b)  Mark your bust point first, then draw a line straight down, one diagonally up to the armpit, and one diagonally down to the side seam (don’t worry too much about this being exact – as long as the shape looks like this you’ll be fine).
c) cut up the vertical line, and across to the top line, stopping just short of the seam allowance. Spread the pieces so that the vertical gap is the amount you need to add. Remember, this is HALF of the required addition as there are two sides. So for me, it was 1.75 inches.
d) cut the other diagonal line, starting at the side seam and ending just short of the bust point so there’s a little hinge. Pull the lower piece down until the vertical gap has parallel sides.
f) if you’ve added a lot, the bottom of the two pieces is now not horizontal. Cut through the shorter side piece horizontally (anywhere below the apex), and move the piece down until it matches the longer side.
3. Grade the rest of the Front Bodice
Trace around the new bodice piece, and reconnect the lower piece.
The FBA has added width to the piece – in my case, it added enough waist space that I don’t need to grade more (in fact, it added a little more than I need, but that’s OK!).
If you do need larger waist and hip pieces, then simply add at the side seams and blend together the side seam of the top and bottom pieces. For these, divide what you need to add by 4, as you’ll be adding extra on both sides of the front and back bodices (so, if you need to add 2 inches to the waist, add 0.5 inches to this piece).
4. Grade the Front Lining to match the Front Bodice
Trace around the top of your adjusted front bodice piece, down to about waist level. Lay the front lining piece over it, and then add in the additional room you need at the side seam (sorry this isn’t easy to explain, but I think the picture is clearer!). Note that if you added *length* to the front bodice, you should add length to the front lining as well.
5. Grade the Crotch (sexy, huh? I’d give you an A)
Trace around the adjusted Front Lining piece. Lay the crotch piece over it, and then add in the additional room you need at the side seam again (sorry apparently I missed a photo on this, but it’s exactly the same as above!)
6. Grade the Back Bodice
This is simpler than the front! Simply add to the side seams. Again, divide what you need by 4, so if you need to add 2 inches, add 0.5 inches to the side seam. Also, remember the side seam (counterintuitively) is the *straight* edge. Note, if you added length to the front bodice, you should add length to the Back Bodice as well.
7. Grade the Back Lining to match the Back Bodice
Trace around the adjusted Back Bodice piece. Lay the Back Lining on top of it, and add in the additional room at the side seam.
And there you have it! A graded up Bombshell.
A couple of other things to bear in mind when making a plus size bombshell:
– Don’t cut the little bust piece that goes over the bust ruching until you have finished the front piece and done the ruching. It’s going to be a different size to the original pattern piece, but you won’t know the exact dimensions until you’ve made your front piece.
– If you are putting some kind of bra in (and I’ll do a follow up tutorial on that!) you may need to change the height of the back piece – I made less of a curve on the back to cover up the bra strap
– You may want to convert from halter straps to regular straps if you have a larger bust like me – the most secure thing is to use bra strap elastic and cover it in swimsuit fabric.
I hope this is helpful – if you have any questions, ask away!

Cashmerette

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