I'll be honest: I never thought I'd like sewing swimwear. But between the George and Ginger Daybreak Rash Guard that released in April, and how easy it is to utilize these Stitch Upon a Time patterns, I've been loving sewing up new suits this past month! In truth, I actually hate swimming. But I LOVE hanging out at the lake.
Today, I'll go over my two newest suits. I used the Brazi and Bunzi patterns from Stitch Upon a Time and made a few modifications to make the perfect swim sets.
I've owned the Brazi pattern for over a year and have only just started using it this past month. I've made a sports bra, a sweet Monarch butterfly dress, and now two swim tops from it. I can't believe I've waited this long to use this pattern-- I flippin' love it! Since apparently I never shared the dress version here, I'm going to drop this picture here. All the heart eyes for this dress and the pattern.
And--bonus-- I seriously do not need to wear a bra with it! I mean, that's the whole point of the Brazi: it supports the girls! Which is why it's the perfect pattern to use for swim with minimal modifications.
I love having an excuse to go to the lake to take pictures, so I've been trying to snag some swim lately, when I sign up for strike offs. This Anchor Rose fabric is from Snowy Owl Custom Fabrics. Gorgeous fabric, right? It also comes in brushed poly, boardshort, and cotton Lycra.
To construct the top, I used my normal Brazi size. I cut the front lining, back lining, and the band, all per the given instructions. For the outer back and front, I simply extended the sides by 10 inches, straight down. Here's what those looked like:
Construction follows the instructions, with the exception of the band. Only attach the band to the inner lining. Hem the bottom of the outer pieces. Here's the suit with the outer rolled up so you can see how the band is attached to the lining. You can also see how the elastic is sewn into that band seam, as per the instructions. You seriously don't want to skip that step!
Here's what it looks like inside out!
Completed top! Seriously. Such an easy modification. Now, this suit totally works for me and the girls. I don't need them, but if I want cups, I just pop them in from a different suit. However, if you need more coverage or support, there are instructions in the Brazi pattern for sewing in cups (a cheapie bikini top from Walmart is perfect for stealing cups from).
For the bottoms, my swim mods are also very simple. These are the Bunzi, but you could also use Scrundies.
- I do line the bottoms with actual swim lining (for my tankini tops, I just used swim fabric because it's more supportive). You can baste the lining to the swim, or, I just clip a lot and go slow to make sure that I catch all the layers.
- Skip the normal crotch lining piece, because you're lining the whole thing anyway
- Cut the front and back at my normal Bunzi size
- Cut the bands at one size larger than my normal Bunzi size (otherwise the tightness of the swim gives me muffin top!)
- Assemble as normal with one exception: I sew elastic into the seam that attaches the waistband. I use the same method in the Brazi tutorial. This is just extra insurance that the bottoms stay up ;)
*** This is what works for me! No guarantees that this method will be your preference, but it may be a place to start if you're unsure!
My second suit uses the Lily Love fabric is from Smoogie Fabrics and Design. It is almost the same, with two exceptions. See that seam right under my bust? I forgot that I was modifying the pattern, so I cut my lining and outer pieces like a normal Brazi. Wah wah wah. I only had a yard of this glorious fabric, and I really wanted the tankini, so I decided to live with seam.
This worked fine, but I do prefer the first method, because the seam has a tendency to ride up. The construction was the same in that I only attached the band to the lining. To the outer, I attached these tankini pieces, at 100% of the raw edges of the Brazi outer pieces by 12 inches. Remember, my first suit, I added 10 inches of length, but this one I added 12 inches of length. I did it longer because I wanted to rouche the sides! See the extra fabric at the sides and waist?
To rouche the sides, I sewed it all together like normal. Then I cut two pieces of 1/4 inch elastic 9.5 inches long. I disengaged the blade on my serger. I put the elastic over the side seam, matching one end to to the raw edge of the bottom of the suit. I then serged the elastic into the side seam, stretching it as I went, so that the other end would match up to the seam that's right under my bust. The result is a gathered side seam.
Oh, sigh, take me back to the lake!
If you've never sewn with swim before, I think these are great patterns to start with. Swim can be a slippery pain in the butt; I actually suggest splurging a little for a higher quality, which will ultimately be easier to work with and give you a better final product.
Summer's a comin' friends! And I have four suits ready to go! ;)
Here are all the links one more time:
Anchor Rose: Snowy Owl Custom Fabrics
Monarch Butterflies: Smoogie Fabric and Design
Lily Love: Smoogie Fabric and Design
Swim Lining: Peek-a-Boo Fabric Shop
Purple Aztec and Black Polka Dots (each used for bands on the Bunzi bottoms: Love Adore Knit Fabrics