Last summer, I struggled to find a supportive swimsuit that didn’t have multiple inches of bust padding. I wasted so much time in dressing rooms, looking at myself falling out of shrunken breast cups. Around this time, I came across Lladybird’s beautiful make of the Soma Swimsuit and was inspired to muster up the time and confidence to try my own version.
Version 1: Floral fabric from Etsy vendor BigFabricDeals
I was definitely intimidated by using swimsuit fabric, but it is truly no worse than sewing with knits. It’s a bit slippery and stretchy and requires the use of a zig zag stitch, but it is relatively stable compared to some rayons. My recommendation would be to cut out the pieces using a rotary cutter and make sewing indications with shallow notches.
Version 2: Stormy fabric from The Fabric Fairy
For both of the versions, I extended the top of the high waisted bikini by approximately 2 inches so that it fell on my natural waist. Since this pattern is a New Zealand pattern, seam allowances are in centimeters. In the floral swimsuit, I used 1/2 in seam allowances but found that they were too big. I was much happier with the 3/8 seam allowances in the storm swimsuit. Additionally, I changed elastic from a 1/2 in swimsuit elastic to a 1/4 in swimsuit elastic. This made it fit better, and the elastic roll over looks much nicer with thinner elastic.
In my first version, I fully followed the instructions and left the front bodice seams exposed around the triangle, finishing with a normal serged edge. After wearing it, I found that it bothered me that those seams were the only ones not enclosed. Why should they be out and about?! In my stormy swimsuit, I followed Lladybird’s recommendation to burrito the triangle like a yoke and enclose them. To do this, I attached the right side of the triangle together with right sides of the lining and patterned fabric together. To attach the left side of the triangle to the other bust cup, you have to roll/fold the bust cups within the middle of the triangle and move them out of the way of the seam line. Then, pin the right sides together again carefully stitch, ensuring not to catch the bust cups in the seam. The top of the triangle was a little fiddly and I had to unpick a few stitches and redo a small section, but I’m really happy with the end result and found it to be entirely worth it.
These swimsuits came together much more quickly than I had expected. Even though the bodice has many parts, they are relatively straight forward and the assembly order simplifies the process immensely. I truly enjoyed making these! And it feels so great to have a swimsuit that holds me up and makes me feel fully confident. I can see myself making more swimsuits in the future as the need arises.
Bonus photo of Rosie helping me take pictures, always such a helper.