Thursday, June 27, 2013

Impromptu Gulf Coast Bikini

Gulf Coast Bikini

It was the night before a quick trip to the gulf coast for a family reunion.  The swimsuit I was planning to wear was giving me muffin top.  All my other suits were a little too skimpy on the coverage for me to feel comfortable in front of family (not my family, but still).  It was ridiculous to think of making a new swimsuit, as it was already past 9:00 in the evening at this point and I was working in the morning and going straight to the airport from there.  Ridiculous!  But....muffin top!!  But it's late!!!  But....muffin top!!!!  OK, fine.

I didn't have any swimwear fabric in stash, so this is just a lightweight poly knit.  I'm not sure it can actually get wet, but I'm more of a dip my feet in kind of person than a swimmer anyway, especially when it comes to the murky bay water here.

I knew if I had any prayer of finishing before midnight I had to use TNT patterns I had already fitted and made zillions of times.  Jalie 2563 and my TNT panty pattern to the rescue!  Both of them have plenty of coverage and I knew they fit perfectly.  As a bonus, I had already traced each pattern as a full size piece (rather than place on fold), which was necessary for this symmetrical print.

Stretch Elastic to Fit Fabric

Not only did I not have any swimwear fabric, I didn't have any swimwear elastic.  I decided the quickest finish I could get that would look decent was foldover elastic.  Again, I'm not really sure this can actually get in the water.  I don't know how well FOE performs when wet.  I didn't really measure it, just left a lot of slack in the fabric around the curve of the bum so that the elastic would be stretched there, as well as a little slack along the front neckline of the top so it would hug the chest.

Elasticize Leg

For the panty leg, I thought it would be easier to stitch the elastic on before sewing the side seam.  It was easier, although didn't quite work out how I envisioned.  As I've mentioned before, I like to sew foldover elastic first to the wrong side of the fabric, then fold it over stitch to the right side.



Silly Mistake





Well, my lack of a 3D mind really screwed me here.  Who would have predicted that this would result in the seam allowance of the foldover elastic being on the outside?  ::rollseyes::  Oh well.  I wasn't going for perfection.\








Flat-FrontFlat-Back








The one area where I took great care was in cutting the fashion fabric.  I wanted to make sure that my print was perfectly symmetrical, and for once I think I got it as close to perfect as I am capable.  I am really happy with the print placement on these pieces.

Bust Cups
The final part of this project was sewing the bra cups in place while on the plane (I had pinned them in position and enclosed them between the outer fabric and the lining before sewing in the lower elastic band).  The cups are perfectly round (unlike an actual human bust).  I got them out of a RTW sport top I bought several years ago, in which they looked ludicrous.

I wasn't even sure why I was keeping them, but I was glad I had when I tried on the top.  (This is not good for my supply hoarding tendencies.)  The downside of a sport top is that there is no building up of the bust with ruching or gathering or ruffles or whatever.  Just a really flat chest.  The cups aren't so large that the top looks obviously padded, it just has the shape you'd expect a swimsuit top to have (a shape that I cannot supply on my own).  I can't believe that not only did I find a use for these cups, but they were absolutely perfect for the job!



Side
All that and I made it to bed before midnight!  It is by far not my best work.  The join on the foldover elastic that finishes the armscyes and makes the straps is fairly terrible, and the fashion fabric and lining layers aren't perfectly aligned in the bottoms.

But really, nobody would notice these things except a sewist, who is not likely to be looking that closely at a swimsuit.  I felt comfortably covered but still stylish in my suit, and enjoyed sitting by the water!


All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

25 comments:

Myra said...

Cute, where did you end up? Port Aransas? Seems like many I know are there or Port O Connor these days, being it's close enough for us.

Uta said...

I love the fabric you used, too bad it can't get wet. I need to make another bikini; it's hard to buy one after trying custom-made. I hope you enjoyed your vacation!

Sue said...

Love the fabric you chose! Very cute looking and comfy - a win all round!

Dalila said...

This is a great suit and you made it so quickly! Fab!
I'd say that you probably don't have to worry about wearing it in freshwater lakes and such but the chlorine in pool water may cause the fabric to react sadly.

Clio said...

You totally nailed the pattern placement! Cute suit, even if it is for poolside instead of high dive. I would use it as a dog days of summer sleep set if it isn't going to be worn to the beach much.

kathy said...

Stashers Unite.

Shannon said...

This looks fabulous! And I am super impressed that you made it in an evening! I'm lucky to get a pattern traced in an evening, let alone make a fabulous swimsuit that looks great on the beach!

ELMO said...

Nice save, the pattern placement alone makes up for any FOE hiccups!! Excellent.

Kristy said...

Great work, especially under pressure (although I find that's when I work best). Getting the elastic in swimwear right is so tricky but as long as it holds the fabric in the right places and doesn't fail then it's a success I'd say

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say, I don't know about your fabric, but don't worry about the elastic. I've made many swimsuits with foldover elastic, and it behaves very well. The foldover elastic also survived the very salty Mediteranean and the chlorine-rich public pool. Of course, I carefully rinse my swimsuit after every swim!

BConky said...

Smart fix. I think all of us sewers have done the late night or early morning emergency sew but it's always nice when it turns out so pretty.

countrygirlcouture said...

I'm so jealous of how cute you look in your little bikini; my bikini wearing days ended before my 22nd birthday, but I suppose the tradeoff was worthwhile--he's pretty cute. ;-)

I seriously love this fabric, and even if it doesn't really work for actual swimming, you'll look fantastic lounging on the beach/by the pool. :-)

Meigan said...

I literally just finished tracing off the Jalie 2563 top to use as a bathing suit! I was planning on lengthening mine into tank length.

Great job doing the last minute swimsuit. Your fabric is very cool, love the pattern.

Did you get any raised eyebrows sewing in your bra cups on the plane?

Kate @ Sewing For Sanity said...

Ha ha love the argument you had with yourself that lead to this - why does the little sewing voice saying you NEED to make something always pop up at the least minute? Well done on the end result it looks great- I bet they end up your favourite pair of bathers..

marysews said...

That suit looks good on you! I hope you had lots of fun. Was it hot enough for you?

Mary said...

What a great story and lovely swimsuit. The fabric is TDF and you lined it up so perfectly. Happy sunbathing!

garnet128 said...

I am so impressed...last minute like that. And then you decide to use a print that you need to take the time to place, extremely nicely at that I must say. Wow. You are gutsy. I would not have gotten it done and would have sat on the beach in shorts and tank top. Oh yeah, I just recently did that! Very nice job.

Loretta said...

Really nice, the hat looks great with the suit also. Impressive as always.

Loretta said...

Really nice, the hat looks great with the suit also. Impressive as always.

Loretta said...

PS, thank you so much for the abbreviation guide, that really helps me understand and learn from your posts. I love reading your blog.

McVal said...

How gutsy of you to attempt a "swim" suit the evening before you go on the trip!!
It turned out super cute...

Katej841 said...

Very cute, and I love that it was improvised at the last minute. Nice work!

Peter Lappin said...

This post made me laugh! Great looking suit, Trena.

glenn hill said...

Love the fabric, its fun making swimwear, i love it!

Gabrielle said...

Great last minute sewing - the pattern placement is awesome. I would definitely count this as a successful swimsuit!