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Monday, October 22, 2012

Making a Splash

Kwik Sew 3153, which was almost a UFO
Summer officially ended a month ago, and I just finished my swimsuit. <sigh> Let's pretend I'm really, really early for next year's beach weather. Besides, it's so gorgeous, I have to forgive myself for being pokey. The end result was worth the wait!

I used Kwik Sew 3153. It's a tank-style suit, with a shelf bra and a back band with a hook closure. I traced the medium, my standard Kwik Sew size, and lengthened the bodice by an inch below the waist. Next time, I'm going to flatten the front leg curve a little so it follows the curve of my leg crease instead of curving up in the torso. Small detail.

I'm also going to widen the back band a tad. It's a bit skimpy and, I feel, out of proportion with my broad linebacker's back. I know most people like skimpy backs for tanning, but as I usually just burn, the tanning appeal is lost on me.

The fabric is a nylon-lycra knit bought at Ann's Fabric Shop in Hamilton, Ontario. (If you're in the Niagara region, check out this store! I never leave there without a bulging bag of material.)

As you can see from the photos, the print is a bold mix of blue and green swirling lines. My chief concern, when cutting it out, was that none of those lines swirl into my crotch.

I cut the front on the fold and - you guessed it! - the underside had a misplaced swirl. Disappointing but no big deal as I had more fabric. So I cut out the front again, using the first one as the pattern (after double-checking the swirl positions). Success! The first cut piece then became the full-front lining.

Powernet shelf bra continues into back band.
Foam cup inserts
For the shelf bra, I used flesh-colored powernet, the fabric used in bras. It's not as stretchy as the swimsuit fabric, which is the reason I used it. I don't need "the girls" bouncing all over the place, or worse, sagging. Powernet lets me keep my bosom where I want it. The back band is also lined with powernet.

Some people use powernet for front and back linings. The power in powernet smooths bumps and slims bulges. It acts, in essence, like built-in Spanx. However, that figure control comes with a cost - the swimsuit is much warmer (as in hot!) and the feeling of all-torso compression gets to most people within an hour or two. So I voted no to the powernet lining, even though my figure could use the help.

In the shelf bra, I inserted foam cups. They add shape (remember the compressing power of powernet) and offer protection from cold-water show through of the twin peaks.

I used 3/8"/1cm chlorine-friendly swimsuit elastic along the outer edges as the 1/4" didn't feel substantial enough. This lyrca print has a lot of built-in oomph, and I felt the narrower elastic would lose the battle of who's in control.

The straps are also lined in powernet to control their stretchiness, and each outside edge is finished with elastic. (The pattern has one strip of elastic going up the middle, with both edges turned over it.) My straps still stretch but they don't sag, even after swimming. Plus they're a tad wider which is more in proportion with my broad shoulders.

Blurry photo of 3-thread coverstitch finishing
All elasticised edges were stitched with a 3-thread coverstitch. This looked fabulous - especially on the straps - and was easy-peasy until I had to attach the straps to the back band and add the back fastening. Then it all went south.... To be fair, it was finished garment piece being sewn to finished garment piece, so there were a lot of layers of print fabric, powernet, and elastic. More than one needle broke, and more than one curse was uttered. These final stitches were sewn with my regular sewing machine, slowly and carefully, but still a needle broke.

It's a cute pattern, easy to sew. It's comfy, has great coverage. Next time I'll use a 2-thread coverstitch for finishing as there are fewer needles to break. I'm thrilled it's done; this poor swimsuit had been buried in my UFO (unfinished objects) pile for several months.





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