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Project Diary: Sarai’s floral swimsuit, part 1

I was determined to make myself a new swimsuit this year, for three reasons:

  1. The whole Colette team was planning a river floating day.
  2. I planned a trip to Palm Springs this year.
  3. Last year, while goofing off in a lake and climbing on a log, I managed to rip the crotch of my old swimsuit almost in half on a nail. I was literally hanging from the crotch of my swimsuit in the water, totally stuck. I had to play it cool while struggling to unhook myself, then crab walk out of the water and wrap myself in a towel. Oops.

So that brings me to this year.

I wanted two things in a swimsuit this year. First, I wanted something that showed a bit more skin than the typical one-piece, but I didn’t really want a bikini. Second, I wanted FLORAL. Because I just love floral everything.

floral-swim-moodboard

The pattern and fabric

swimsuit-pattern

I was totally inspired when I saw this vintage pattern and immediately scooped it up. I guess they’re calling this a monokini now, though I associate the monokini with the famous Rudi Gernreich topless swimsuit.

I wasn’t totally sure that something obviously intended for a lithe 1970s model body would work on my frame, but I figured I’d give it a shot. I’m sort of tired of worrying about how high my boobs are hoisted, you know?

Next, I sought out some nice lush floral swimwear fabric. I ended up with this one from Fabrics World, which is absolutely perfect. I also got some donut fabric while I was at it which I intend to make into workout shorts, by the way.

swim-fabric

Here’s another floral fabric I was considering, which I think is equally pretty.

Construction

First, I sewed this out of the envelope and it came out big on me. I think much of this has to do with the fabric. Being an older pattern, I’m sure it wasn’t intended for super stretchy spandex. I ended up taking about four inches out of the hips, and the next time I make it, I’ll probably grade the whole thing way down.

swim-cups

I made one major change that I highly recommend, which is that I swapped out the bias tape it specified for fold over elastic. This made the whole thing a very very quick and easy project. In fact, if you go this route, this is a great swimsuit for those new to sewing swim or lingerie.

This was almost entirely sewn without a serger, and you could easily make it without one, which is nice. Just a lot of zigzagging.

swim-elastic

I was unsure whether to line it, but in the end I opted not to. If I had, it might have reduced the amount of stretch, which could have been a good thing, I’m not sure. But the fabric really didn’t need a lining, and now that I’ve worn it in the water, I’m confident it isn’t necessary.

swim-progress

I’m pretty jazzed about how the suit turned out, small fit adjustments for next time aside. I managed to get Kenn to snap a lot of photos in Palm Springs on vacation, and I’ll share the finished suit next week in part 2!

Look for those photos Monday.

were-hiring-banner

Sarai Mitnick

Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments

Patricia

August 15, 2016 #

Such pretty fabric! Can’t wait to see the finished product. And by the way, I love the idea of donut workout shorts?

Sarai

August 16, 2016 #

I can’t wait to make them. I’m going to copy my favorite pair of workout shorts, so excited to wear them even if I only train at home and Kenn is the only person who sees me, ha!

Janet

August 17, 2016 #

Love, love, love the idea of donut workout shorts!

Barb Barna

August 15, 2016 #

Love the fabric and the techniques…I too used a vintage pattern to make my latest suit, and it came out huge. I gifted it to my dear sister who is a few sizes larger than I , as it it so much ruching and elastic, it would have been difficult to take in. I am going to try the Jalie tankini next, as their patterns seem to fit me better in general. Looing forward to the final photos.

Toni

August 15, 2016 #

Did you buy enough fabric to make two? or had other spandex for a test run. I’m constantly overbuying fabric. Just curious how you tackled the “Muslin” for a swimsuit.

Sarai

August 16, 2016 #

I did! That’s the great thing about making swimsuits, they take so little fabric I always have enough for a practice run.

¡Helen!

August 15, 2016 #

Me too about the muslin for this. True that there wasn’t stretch spandex when this pattern came out. I remember making my bikinis out of double-face cotton in the 1970s. In fact, I remember the monokini as well, not that I ever wore or saw one in action back then!

francesca

August 16, 2016 #

Oh, lovely fabric! i remember monokinis too – just in vogue – and god they were brutal.

Deborah Morrison

August 16, 2016 #

Eep! Floral fabric and a vintage pattern. You are brilliant.

PsychicSewerKathleen

August 16, 2016 #

Love this fabric too! So hard to find floral swimsuit fabric – it would be nice in a pair of leggings too! I also love your idea for fold over elastic which I’ve fallen in love with for neck and arm openings. I can’t wait to see the pictures of it finished on you.

Kimberly

August 16, 2016 #

From a practical point of view, this style of suit is so great! Not only does it cover up a bit more to help us feel more modest/confident, but since the back is open, it’s still easy access for bathroom breaks! TMI, I’m sure, but seriously something to consider–especially when you’re in the woods!

AJ

August 22, 2016 #

Thanks for the double fold elastic tip! I have swimsuit fabric sitting around waiting for me to brave it, and that seems so much less daunting!

Kaydee

August 23, 2016 #

Can I ask what pattern number this is? I love how this suit turned out and think I need to find this pattern ASAP!

Sarai

August 23, 2016 #

It’s Butterick 5449. Sorry, I should have included that. :)