This was an experiment I had had on my mind ever since I spotted this geometric, holographic, fantastic spandex fabric!
I took a swimsuit that I absolutely loved the style of and simply traced around it to create the pattern for this one! Here is exactly how I did it and what you will need to do it too!
- Spandex, 1/2 yard- 1yard (depending on your size) – literally only spandex works for this due to it’s super stretching abilities and being so suitable for getting wet of course!
- Black, white or beige swimwear lining fabric, 1/2 yard- 1yard- it helps to shop at a Spandex specialist to find this fabric but if all else fails, I have used a white spandex to line swimwear which works just as well
- Fabric scissors
- 2 yards of swimwear elastic
- Matching polyester thread (polyester is stronger than cotton)
- Sewing machine and ideally a serger if you have it!
- Paper for tracing (pattern paper/ brown parcel paper/ baking parchment-whatever you can find that works!)
Make your pattern
For this you will need a swimsuit that you like and that fits you! The simpler the shape, the better. Then you need to fold it in half along the centre front and tuck the back part underneath so you can no longer see it, pinning helps a lot at this point to keep it accurate! Trace your front half, then do the same for the back. Add a 1cm seam allowance all around except for the centre front. This will be cut on the fold.
Cut your swimsuit and your lining
Fold your spandex and lining in half, making sure to keep any pattern straight and inline, pin the selvedge edges together to help you. Line up your centre front and centre back with the edge of the fold and pin all around, then cut. Do the exact same for the lining. When you have two whole pieces- suit and lining, overlock all the edges with your serger.
Sew your swimsuit and your lining
If you have a serger then definitely use this to sew your front and back piece together at the sides, crotch and shoulders for your suit and lining. If not then use a wide zig zag or stretch stitch if your machine has it. If you’re not sure, you can always find your sewing machine manual online to help you.
Attach your swimsuit and lining together
Once you have a whole suit and lining, you attach them with your sewing machine on a wide zigzag stitch by sewing the seam allowances together at the shoulder, sides and crotch, make sure they are both right sides facing when you do this so you can see the wrong side, then turn out the right way when you are done.
The last step, already I hear you cry?! Yes, it is actually a very quick process if it is a simple swimsuit although the last step if of course the trickiest of all!
Practising with swimsuit elastic is highly recommended, to see how much stretch you need to give it whilst you are attaching it.
First of all I attach a large safety pin to the end of the elastic, this helps you to grip it when you begin your first stitches. You’ll want that wide zigzag stitch again.
Line up the elastic on the wrong side of the fabric and against your overlocked edge, and stitch while slightly pulling on your elastic. This is tricky, as you can see mine is not perfect! You have to pull it slightly more in places where you need it to be more secure against your body, these are the stretch spots:
- The back-you don’t want the open back to be loose and flapping around!
- The bum
Once you have attached your first round of elastic around the back, front and legs you have to turn the elastic inwards and stitch again to hide it. Remember to stretch the elastic just as much as the first time, which is easy to know because you just stretch it as much as you need to make it flat in appearance.
It is is a good idea to begin your stitching in a non obvious place such as a side seam or shoulder seam.
Tips– always make a toile ( a prototype first!) I made one out of a cheaper cotton jersey I had lying around and unfortunately my toile was actually better than the real thing!
And now comes the modelling, however hard I tried, I couldn’t get any really good photos of me in my suit! I am not a swimwear model! But how cool is this fabric?!