I've been planning on making some bathing suits for an upcoming trip. I grew up with quite a few handmade suits my mom created, then I made one two summers ago. But it was a swim dress, so a lot easier. So this round I have a real swimsuit planned with elastic in the legs and everything.
Some blogs were having a sew along with swimsuits this summer and a lot of great ideas and tips can be found from their experiences:
Dana Made It
So that was an easy project and quick. It gave me a little confidence to try my first swimsuit, a takini. Rather than typical boyshorts, I decided I wanted more coverage. I HATE having to babysit bathing suits, pulling out wedgies so my butt cheeks don't hang out, or adjust the tops to keep my chest in. I think that is why I make them the last few years. So anyway, I wanted bottoms that covered my butt and kept my junk in my trunk. Another thing I loathe is crackage. My anatomy can't handle low rise bottoms or I will have crackage, just the shape of my bum.
So back to the boy short bottoms. I didn't want a center seam on the front, or a seam through the crotch either to prevent the shorts going up my crotch. I HATE that too. So the front is one solid piece, and the crotch is a diamond-ish shaped piece that goes from hem to hem, making the seams at the crotch of the shorts go side to side rather than front and back. I love this feature. So much more comfortable in my opinion. There is a back seam, then elastic waist.
I couldn't decide the length of the shorts to hem them. I ended up just hemming them 1" from where I cut them. They are probably a little longer than what I originally planned, but I like it, I guess a little extra coverage in cellulite city. I didn't need to add elastic in the legs, just hemmed them and they fit snug.
On to the top. I got this lycra that has wide green stripes. I decided to cut everything on the bias at 45 degrees so the stripes are on diagonals rather than across or up and down. Hopefully this is more flattering, that was my hope. But I didn't think things through exactly, and ended up with two body pieces, one with V's, and the other with A's. Hopefully you won't really notice the stripes are different directions from the front to the back. I ended up liking the A's for the front, which I hadn't planned, so this mistake ended up being a good thing in the end.
On to the hard part, the top of the takini, starting with another thing I HATE--swimsuits with no support! As a kid, this wasn't a big deal, and a "shelf bra" which is just a piece of lining with elastic on the bottom, sufficed. But since having a baby, my chest changed like many women's do and went from normal tissue to saggy boobs, or more accurately described: ROCKS IN SOCKS. Nursing the recommended full year probably didn't help either. The little shelf bra just doesn't cut it anymore. I need more than socks for my rocks I guess, so for this, I sewed in a bra to the bathing suit. I bought a cheap $5.00 bra in my size to use.
First, I cut of the straps and the hook/eye closures, and replaced them with 3/4" elastic.
I then basted the bra on the lining of my top. Sewing right sides together, I sewed the top exterior pieces on and flipped it right side out, making the bra hidden between the two layers, and casings for the straps all at once. It worked pretty smoothly. From there, I put on the top and pinned down the top pieces, and sewed across the bottom, sewed up the neck and back so I basically had a bra all sewn together. Then I just had to attach the body tube to the bra part and it was done.
Some tips that I used:
-sharp needles , not necessarily "ballpoint" but sharper than universal
-zig-zag: rather than straight stitching I used a very narrow zigzag, like .5 to allow a little stretch before seams break for the lycra.
-double needle: hem with double needle. I found this double needle that is extra wide to look more professional and I love it. I actually reinforced all the seams on the shorts by top stitching with the double needle to flatten the seam and make it stronger.