March 18, 2011

Vintage Style Swimsuit

Here was my project for Round 2 over at One month to win it.

Click below for the tutorial.

Here's how to make it.  Let me just give a quick disclaimer.  I would definitely recommend that you be comfortable sewing with knits before you try it.  I sew with knits fairly often,  but this was more tricky than usual.  I don't know what it was about the swimwear knit, but I had to keep adjusting the tension on my machine, and even then, the stitches sometimes came out uneven.  

Okay, for the bottom half, all I did was use a pattern for bloomers. They come with lots of baby dress patterns.  They are sized large to fit over diapers.  I used a 12 month size pattern, which came out as about a 3T-4T sized bottom for the suit.  I just layered the lining with the fabric and treated it as one piece, then followed the directions on the pattern.  

That was the easy part. Moving on to the top, it gets a bit {okay, a lot} more tricky.  Just so you know, when I refer to the lining, I'm referring to the white, inside fabric, and when I refer to the shell, I'm referring to the green.

I used 3/4 yard each for both the lining and the shell, but I had to get pretty creative with my cutting. I used an actual swimwear knit for the lining, but the shell is just made of a regular knit fabric.  Just make sure your fabric stretches both vertically and horizontally and you should be good to go {although I don't know what chlorine will do to it-this one is only for use at the beach!}

Start by tracing your pattern using a shirt for a template.  Remember to leave room for seam allowances.  Also, I wanted the halter to tie, so I made the straps longer.

Here is the front and back cut out of the lining.

Cut out the shell the same way, but cut lots of extra on the bottom for your ruching.  The extra fabric is shown folded here.  I cut it out as long as I could with the amount of fabric I had. It's a lot easier to trim some off then add it back on.

Pin and sew the lining, right sides together at the side seams.  Since this is knit fabric, use a stitch that will stretch throughout the project, unless otherwise noted.  I used a zig zag stitch.  Some machines have a special stitch you can use for sewing on knits. A serger would be awesome. Someday.

Measure a piece of 1/8 inch elastic from the neck to the hem {unstretched}.  If I could have gotten this piece to lie flat, that's how long it would be.  I hope this at least gives you an idea of what I mean.

Stretch out the elastic as long as it will go and pin it to the wrong side of your shell right down the middle.  Keeping it stretched as well as you can, pin it several times.   As soon as you release the stretch, your shell will bunch up.  The pins will show you where the elastic should go.  Stitch using a regular straight stitch, keeping the elastic stretched as you go.

When you're done, the elastic will shrink, gathering the middle of your shell.  Since your elastic was the same length as your lining, it's gathered to the right length.

Use a gathering stitch along both sides of the shell and pull up so that the sides are even with the middle.

Here's what it should look like now.

Pin the back to the front, right sides together and stitch. You can now remove the gathering stitches.

Turn the shell right side out and insert it into the lining so right sides are together.  Pin around the entire top of the swimsuit.  You'll want to use lots of pins on the straps.  

Stitch around the entire top in a continuous line.  You'll go around the edges of the straps, come around to the back and then around to the straps again.  The red line is an attempt to show where the seam should go.

Trim seams and turn it right side out.  Then you need to make a casing for your elastic, so sew a seam across the back, leaving openings at the side seams to insert some elastic.

Insert the elastic at one arrow, and pull it through to the other arrow.  Gather the back for the fit you want.

Sew a vertical seam on both sides {shown on this side in red} to secure your elastic.

For the ruffle, cut a strip a little longer than you want the finished ruffle length to be, and about 2-3 times the width of your swimsuit.  Sew it together so that it forms a big circle. Finish the bottom whichever way you prefer.  I used a narrow hem.

Sew a gathering stitch around the top and pull up to fit the bottom of the swimsuit.  Pin it right sides together and sew to the suit, sewing through both the shell and the lining.  Remove the gathering stitches, press it down and you're {finally!} done. 

It was a lot of work, but I am really happy with how it turned out.


Wendy@Craft Goodies said...

Congrats on moving on! Yours was MY favorite of the week-so cute.


Janet - AKA: Latte Lady said...

Beautiful! I like it for me! Hmmmm... no bloomers though.

:) Janet

Jess said...

I loved this project-so, so cute!

Jana said...

Too cute! Thanks for linking up at Giggles, Glitz & Glam!

Cheryl @ Sew Can Do said...

Really cute - I love the vintage feel. And way better than the hideous suits at the store!

Quiltstory said...

Oh my goodness Terra! I cannot believe you made a swimsuit, you're crazy talented. So cute! Thanks for linking to Fabric Tuesday :)

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