Ahhhh Summer. Hands down my absolute favorite time of the year. And thankfully the beach is just 70 minutes away which means we spend LOTS of time down the shore (our colloquial term for “going to the beach”). Suffice to say I spend entire days wearing nothing but a swimsuit (which took some time getting used to with this new body here but hey, the beach is gonna get whatever body I give it!).
I’ve always had trouble with swimwear that fits right. One pieces are never long enough and having bust, waist and hip measurements that fall into three different sizes typically doesn’t work for a one piece. As I’ve gotten bustier (and after a year and a half of breastfeeding) I really need underwire, which oddly, many suits lack. And I like a statement suit. I’m not looking for solid colors. I want patterns, colors, textures! Better yet all three. Thankfully retailers are really stepping up their plus size swimwear game, which you can read all about here and here.
As you can see I’ve got a lot of boxes to tick, so this summer I am challenging myself to make my own swimsuit. I know I want to have a lot of fun with colors and prints but keep the silhouette vintage-inspired. I also know I want something really supportive for my honeydew-sized boobs (did you hear, I went from a D to a G! Agh!) and something that will stay up while I chase my toddler around the beach. I could go for a one piece or a two piece, as long as its bright, colorful and supportive! I’ve never sewn a bra, underwire or anything similar so this should be an adventure!
Over the next several weeks I’ll be documenting my journey to design, sew and fit the perfect swimsuit. I hope you’ll sew-along!
Here is what I am currently loving from a design aesthetic. I can’t speak to any of these suits in regards to bust support or quality.
There really aren’t many plus-size swimwear sewing patterns on the market that have the silhouette I am looking for. The Curvy Sewing Collective did a blog post series on curvy swimwear, here are their recommendations for plus-size swimwear.
I wasn’t thrilled with any of the options on the CSC blog post, so to get the look I want I am going to have to grade up my swimsuit. I’m leaning towards the Closet Case Patterns Sophie Swimsuit or the Seamwork Reno Swimsuit. Both these patterns have the vintage inspired design aesthetic I am going for as well as a supportive bust including underwire and thick straps.
The Sophie Swimsuit will have to be graded up in the bust several cup sizes, but according to their super customer service team (who responded within just a few hours of emailing, yay for small businesses!), they seem to think it’s possible. The Sophie Swimsuit also has the option to purchase an online class that goes along with the pattern. Seriously considering this as I plan to make three swimsuits and this course could be a wise investment.
Sourcing swimwear fabric
When sourcing your swimwear fabric look for fabrics labeled Nylon/ Spandex or Tricot. In the description it should explicitly mention whether or not the fabric is suitable for swim. I suggest purchasing swatches then doing a test at home. Submerge the fabric in water and see how it behaves. Take the fabric out of the water and see how long it takes to dry. Seamwork has an excellent guide to working with swimwear here.
I’ve recently found an awesome online fabric retailer, the Fabric Fairy, who specializes in swimwear fabric. They have an expansive collection of swimwear fabrics and top notch customer service. My favorite feature is that they offer suggested coordinating fabrics with each swatch. They’ll even help you coordinate fabrics if you email their customer service (again, small businesses for the win!). While navigating the site, if you find a fabric you love, simply click on the fabric then scroll to the bottom of the page to see their suggested coordinates.
Here are the swatches I ordered:
- Wild Hawaii
- Black Mod Abstract
- Black Mini Abstract Print
- Yellow Texas Rose
- Navy Queen
- Black and White Stripes
I’m debating mixing patterns or pairing solid colors with patterns…hmmm…decisions, decisions.
If you’re interested in trying out The Fabric Fairy readers of my blog are getting a special offer code for 10% off their purchase! Use the code “wellsewn” to claim your discount!
Swimsuit guts (supportive stuffs and linings)
When looking at the supplies listed for swimsuit patterns it can be a bit overwhelming. Underwires, foam, separators, casings, what are these things?! I think it’s easy to get turned off by the whole process. But then I think I can make my own custom swimsuit that will fit every inch of my curves and I quickly get over it.
BraAndCorsetSupplies.com appears to be the best place to get a variety of bra and swimsuit making supplies for all sizes. They also have online swimwear and bra making classes! Perfect if you are looking for additional instruction.
So what about you? Are you making your own swimsuit this season? Dare to take the plunge?! If you’re someone like me who plans to spend a lot of time in a swimsuit, or you’ve got you’re own unique curves, I think it’s totally worth learning this skill.
I plan to source all my materials this week then get started on construction next week. Stay tuned!
Happy Sewing and Styling,