Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bombshell Part 2: Where We Actually Talk about the Swimsuit

Thank you so much for all the comments on Monday's post. These are happy days for us!

But now let's talk about the swimsuit I actually sewed. As summer grew near and I was approaching the second trimester, I realized that "cute maternity swimsuit" is truly an oxymoron. But since I've started swimming for exercise instead of running, a new swimsuit was a must and I've been wanting to sew Closet Case Files' Bombshell Swimsuit for some time.

Maternity Bombshell Hack
Given the choice to add fabric to cover a baby bump or just work around the bump, I decided that less is more - bikini was the answer. In truth, I didn't really have to deviate from the pattern all that much to transform it. And there is nothing particularly "maternity" about it - anyone could alter the fit of the suit like this.  So, let's start with the top...

There is great info about DIY bikini tops as part of the Bombshell sew along, but I went my own way.  I chose to start with the bust pieces and straps from view B because I thought it would be a cinch to turn it into a halter style bikini top similar to one I already own, and I was right.

I started by cutting the cups/bust - plus self-fabric lining - and neck straps from the pattern pieces. Then I cut an underbust band 1/2 the length of my underbust circumference measurement minus 1" (for negative ease) and with a finished height of 2 1/2" after I serged the band with the wrong sides facing. I finished the bust pieces and attached them to the serged band according to the view B instructions.

Then I cut 2 long ties (32" each) that had a finished height of 3 1/2" after being sewn with the right sides together and turned. I gathered the unfinished ends just a little and joined them with a 1/2" seam to the front band at the side seams. Voila. Top done.

Because my body is changing and I wanted maximum adjust-ability with the fit, I like the ties at both the neck and back. Even in bras I like a snug fit at the band and straps, which I think make it more supportive. So I tie it pretty tight. It does change the look of the top a little compared to the pattern - it looks less ruched. But I think it suits me and flatters my burgeoning curves.

Here you can see how long the ties are.

Nice long ties!

Next, the bottom. Folks, this is the lowest cut bikini bottom I have ever worn, but for some reason being pregnant seems to make me feel like it's ok, since my goal was to wear it under my bump.  I started with the View C high waisted bottom, and cut just the lining pieces.  I basted the front and back together  and then tried on and marked (drawing with chalk) how high I wanted the bottoms to come on both front (below my bump) and back (I definitley wanted bum coverage!) I transferred these new measurements back to the pattern pieces and altered my cut pieces.

Lining pattern pieces cut into their new dimensions

One of the great bits of info included in the Bombshell instructions is the "ruching ratio". For every 1 inch of lining, there is 1.6 inches of shell to ruche. So once I had figured out how I wanted the bottoms to fit using the lining, it was easy to translate those changes into the new outer shell pattern pieces.

Shell pieces, shortened to correspond to the lining pieces. 
From there, I cut my fabric and followed the construction instructions for the swimsuit without any changes except that I shaped it just a bit at the side seams to mirror my shape. And that's it! One maternity bombshell bikini finished!



The only thing I will do differently next time is think about where to use my serger more carefully. Since I am sewing on such a short deadline and for a moving target, I've really been relying on my serger. It's perfect for getting the job done quickly. After attaching the ruched pieces to the lining with my serger, I then serged the center back seam together. This led to a bulky seam. It doesn't really affect the look of the garment, but I can feel it.

What I really like about this swimsuit is that the fit is very secure and flattering. The cut of the bottoms isn't skimpy - it fits one's cheeks in a secure and anatomical way. Neither is the top actually (no side boobage). And yet it manages to really flatter without looking frumpy! Holy cow. Other things I like about the pattern are the good instructions that are very well supplemented by the sew along. Even if you have never sewn swimwear, you will be sewing along in a confident way very quickly. Also, the sizing is realistic. I cut the sizes that corresponded to my measurements and they fit those measurements appropriately. Revolutionary!

Anyway, this is a real win and I foresee myself sewing it again. The top, I hope, will outlast my pregnancy and I think View C in it's original high waist form will be great as a post-partum swim suit bottom.


Clio said...

You are SO lucky you know how to sew. It really is amazing to be able to wear things that fit in the moment so that you feel and look your best through the entire pregnancy. Furthermore, you can do it without bankrupting yourself!

Clio said...

SOOO true!! Trust me, I am LOVING my sewing machine and serger more than ever these days! Maternity wear is a nightmare. It's not that there isn't anything nice, it's just that most isn't and what is costs a fortune. And being tall seems to be a double whammy since it seems like hemlines on maternity wear is even shorter than normal.

Clio said...

This is SUCH a gorgeous swimsuit and is way cooler than anything you could find in the store, I bet! You look amazing!

Clio said...

This is one of the most interesting pattern hacks I've seen for this! Would you believe it, I think you're the first person to use the halter pieces to make a bikini!!! Looking good mama!

Clio said...

That's so funny - I thought it was a real no-brainer. But maybe that's because halter is my favorite style of bikini top? Really, I can see myself sewing this up again and again and just switching up what I do with the bottom a bit (different rises, different styles). Super great pattern, Heather!

Clio said...

Maternity swimwear is seriously expensive!! There was just no way I was going to spend $120+ for something I wasn't happy with!

Clio said...

Yeah, I love bikinis and pregnant women!! I know this is very late, but congratulations! I look forward to seeing more of your pattern hacks over the coming months. :-D

Clio said...

Thanks!!! Yeah, it's hack city in the craft lounge!!