Back in December, not long after I had won Sew Frosting with my Hand-Painted Dress, Spoonflower approached me with the idea of making that painted fabric design into a digital design. I had no idea how to do it, but I said YES. You can read more about how I did that over on the Spoonflower blog.
This pattern is fantastic. High-waisted bottoms, rash guard with coverage…. all of the things I wanted in a suit. Unfortunately though, the pattern had no lining and nothing to hold the boobs up… what? I decided to take some photos as I added both, so you can do the same if your heart desires!
First, Let me tell you how I added the shelf-bra.
You need “power mesh” (or a supportive lining fabric) in a color that won’t be seen through your top. I got mine in the sport/swim fabric section of JoAnn’s, but it can be found at many online shops as well.
- I cut the mesh to be smaller across the bust and shorter than the length of the shirt (I ended up shortening this by another 2.5 inches— I would hold your swimsuit up to your body and see where your boobs fall and you want it to be just 1 inch lower.
The mesh will stretch to meet the sides keeping your boobs up a bit.
2. Cut a piece of elastic the same width as the swimsuit (not the mesh) and sew the mesh to it, stretching as you sew. You can use a zig-zag, but if you stretch/pull as you sew, the straight stitch will be fine to stretch over you.
(I could not find elastic that was made for swimwear in a width larger than 1/4 ” so I just used regular elastic for this. )
3. Attach the mesh with the elastic to the suit top. You can baste it on, but I just used a normal stitch length, again stretching as I sewed. You can also add foam cups to the mesh before attaching it, if you would like more shape to you bosom. (That word makes me laugh!)
Finish the top as instructed in the pattern!
NEXT: ADDING LINING TO THE BOTTOMS
Now I want to show you how to fully-line the bottoms of this pattern (or any swim pattern).
- (pictured above) You need to attach any side panels, as well as the front and the back pieces to each other at the crotch line.
2. Lay the whole opened up bottom piece atop the lining and use it as a pattern to cut a piece of lining that matches. (This way you don’t have to have any seams at the crotch or on the belly panels of the lining.)
3. Sew the side seams of both the outer layer and the lining.
4.. Put them wrong sides together and proceed with the pattern instructions, leaving out the section on adding lining at the crotch. The lining also adds some extra belly “support” (holds it in). I used normal swim lining, but you could also use power mesh here to really suck things in!! hahaha!!!
…And when you’ve completed your suit you’ll want to do this! (And because of that shelf-bra and lining you’ve added in, things won’t go flying!!)
SWIMWEAR SEWING TIPS
*You don’t want to use any stretch fabric. Find fabric that is suitable for swim. Spoonflower’s sport lycra is perfect and you can buy any of my designs on it! Most suits only need one yard (usually LESS!)
*I use the “eco-flex” nylon thread for my sewing machine when making suits. It won’t deteriorate in the chlorine/salt water as fast.
*I use Wooly Nylon in the 2 loopers of my serger (not all 4—- believe me you will go crazy with the constant issues when you try to do it on all four!!!!)
*You can zig-zag or sew straight stitches, but if you do straight, make sure you PULL IN THE FRONT AND BACK OF THE FOOT as you go, this way you’re mimicking the stretch it will get over your body!
*Sewing swimwear isn’t ANY HARDER than sewing any other stretch pattern!! I promise! I was so scared to try before last summer, but I decided to face my fears and this is now my 4th suit!