There is something so satisfying (and gratifying!) about sewing a swimming suit. For one, you can make something that uniquely suits your child.
Lately Tarikua has had a thing for zebras. We want to encourage a family-wide love for all things Ethiopia, so while I am not normally a fan of animal prints, I made an exception for this swimming suit.
It was totally worth it. She absolutely loves it!
I bought the zebra fabric here at the Fabric Fairy. I bought the material for these swimsuits there as well. I was really happy with their fabric! All three felt durable, though I can't yet attest to how they will hold up long-term.
I added a ruffle in the front and color-blocked the back in watermelon.
For Indigo's second swimsuit, I chose View A with the ruched center panel.
I bought the peacock colored fabric here and the watermelon colored fabric here. FYI - that second swatch is not a good representation of the actual color. Ordering online is such a mixed bag! I find that oftentimes the online swatches looks significantly different than the real-life version. Anytime I get a "Why did I order this?" feeling when I receive fabric in the mail, I look back at the online swatch and almost always it was a misrepresentation of the fabric color. But in this case, it worked out for the best because I actually like this color better than the online swatch.
Another strange thing with this fabric is that even though the website said the peacock and watermelon fabrics were the same weight, the peacock felt sturdy and substantial, whereas the watermelon felt delicate and light. It's the softest fabric - just amazing to touch, but also looks like it might snag easily. I'll be very curious to see how they hold up, particularly the watermelon.
I was so happy with this suit and the fit was really great. Indigo loves it, too!
I sewed all of my girls' swimming suits with the halter straps. My older girls love it and Iris is able to put it on by herself. She always ends up getting tangled up in swimming suits where the straps cross in the back. With this swimsuit, it's so cute to watch her pull the previously tied halter straps over her head. They're stretchy enough that it works, too.
I sewed all of these swimming suits on my sewing machine, not my serger. I haven't had much success sewing knits with my serger. I prefer to use my sewing machine. I like to sew all of my seams with a longer stitch first (size 3.5ish), then I test for fit, and later go back over the seams with my machine's stretch stitch. You could also use a zigzag stitch.
When I added the elastic, I found it essential to baste it in place using a long straight stitch before turning it to finish my hems. I kept the elastic inside the fabric by 1/8" or so, just to be sure that the elastic was completely encased by the fabric when I turned it in.
My friend Inder gave me the tip to stretch the elastic more around the back (booty) leg openings. That resulted in a really great fit in the back.
After using both regular elastic and cotton swimwear elastic, I found I prefer the swimwear elastic. Mostly because it felt softer and thinner. With the regular elastic, I was having some trouble with my double needle skipping stitches while topstitching, maybe because of the thickness. My topstitching went smoother with the cotton swimwear elastic. I also found it helpful to use a long stitch when topstiching (4.0-4.5) because otherwise the thickness of the elastic + swim fabric made the regular sized stitches teeny tiny.
After I topstitched the swimsuit top and leg openings, I found it helpful to press the elastic areas, covering them with a pressing cloth. They usually got stretched out during sewing and this helped them look normal again.
This swimsuit came out a little big. It surprised me because I made it in the same way as I made the zebra version above which fit perfectly. I think the difference was due to the stretch of the lycra. But it's okay, she'll grow into it. :)
I love the charm of the leg frills - one of the 7 pattern options! This one is View C and I bought the fabric here.
These swimsuits don't require much fabric at all. I have quite a lot left over of the watercolor abstract (Iris' fabric here), the yellow stripe, and the zebra print. If you are interested in making a swimsuit in any of these three fabrics, I'd be happy to mail one of them to you on a first come-first serve basis. Just leave me your email address in the comments and tell me which one you'd like (unless the account you're commenting from links to your email address).
During the Cosi pattern tour (July 7-18), Suz is offering a 15% discount on the Cosi pattern with the coupon code: COSITOUR15 . That means you can get the pattern for under $7! Which I would highly recommend, because I really, really love this pattern!