There comes a time, if you're endeavouring to sew all your kid's clothes, when you're going to have to make some swimmers.....
Perversely, while I sewed Roger's Newcastle cardigan the weather was stinking hot. The following week, as I set to sewing swimmers it cooled right down and I wondered if they'd ever get worn. While I'm obviously not a born local (or I'd call them bathers, right?) I love my adopted city's changeable weather!
I'd only had a vague ambition to sew swimwear, but I was hurried along by those little remnant packages at The Fabric Store where A found this lovely floral lycra. For $5 I had more than enough fabric for a pair of swimmers or two, and she declared that that was what she'd have, please.
And so my first swimsuit was Jalie 3350. It struck me as amusing to sew the cross over bust view in a vintage-y floral fabric for a 4 year old (with obviously no bust!)
I sewed a straight 4 year old size (Size H on the pattern) and the fit is perfect. I used a soft, pale pink lycra for the front lining and sewed it with a combination of serger and sewing machine. I did the hems and straps with a plain old zig zag stitch, and while it looks a bit homemade on close inspection, it's behaved perfectly and stayed nice and flat during wear.
There are a few pieces to the swimsuit and it took a little while to piece them all together, but I adore this pattern, and I found the Jalie instructions and diagrams really easy to follow. There were also some nice steps showing how to baste the outer and lining fabrics together to make the construction easier. Time consuming, but worth it.
Flushed with success I headed straight into swimsuit number 2. This one was driven by the fabric. I'd found this remnant which had two repeats of the print on it and was spaced at exactly the right length for a well placed flower on a Cosi swimsuit:
Also a straight size 4, this swimsuit is a bit blockier in shape and has ended up looking a bit baggy around the belly and bottom. The length and the chest width were definitely correct for her size though. I bought some bra strap sliders and rings and left the straps as long as the pattern indicated since I was sewing after bedtime. They turned out to be very long and are doubled up almost all the way, so there's plenty of room to grow and this one should last a while! To finish the hems I got the double needle out and tried to make this pair look a bit more "pro" than the first.
Being nearly all white I lined this one front and back with the pale pink lycra and now it's plenty thick enough and really should last forever. I love the little leg frills, and A is super keen on the pattern version with the peplum skirt. Even though I'd already bought the Jalie patterns I couldn't help but buy the Cosi swimsuit just for the variety of costumes you can make from the one pattern.
I don't own a tablet computer and had to use Flippers' work tablet to view the instructions. That meant I got logged out every 5 minutes or so and had to keep logging back in. Personally, I prefer a good line drawing on an old fashioned piece of paper, but if you like colour photographs in your pattern instructions then this is a very well presented pattern with plenty of helpful instructions and images.
You know how when you look for one thing, you find another? Well, I wanted navy lycra for those leg frills and then I found this great stripe to go with it for a third pair of swimmers:
Another Jalie pattern, this one is Jalie 3134; a racer back style with options for colour blocking or even some faux piping.
I was fastidious about matching the stripes of the centre and side front panels, and then had a complete brain fade and just cut the back panel anyhow. Just thought I'd mention it so it's not the elephant in the room...
While she may not be showing it with that belly out pose, this is a really flattering swimsuit cut, and I might even be tempted to make this one for myself! Incredibly, these Jalie patterns go from a 2 year old size up to women's size 22 (I made the 4 year old size again here). That's probably the greatest size range of any pattern I've ever heard of!
The racer back is perfect for an active kids. Easy to put on by yourself and no straps dangling or slipping off your shoulders. I could make her a new version of this one every year for as long as I'm allowed to.
Thinking this one would be my best (until I flunked the stripe matching obviously) I did my very neatest, double needle hemming close to the edge of the folded under elastic, but sadly, it's tending to roll outwards around the neckline. Perhaps the elastic curve is too tight, or I should have stitched further from the edge.
After all the comments on my recent post suggesting I need a coverstitch machine I'm going to shrug and say whatever the problem with this swimsuit, a coverstitch machine would undoubtedly have resolved it. I want one. End of story.
All the swimsuits had plenty of wear during our recent holiday (not the location of these beach pictures) but A's favourite is definitely her "booby crossing flower" one.
The kids swam almost every day and Flipper and I took it in turns to ride. He rode dirt tracks, I rode mountain roads.
I finished the supported alpine challenge ride that I entered and sent Flipper these pictures from the top of the second major climb. One is a picture of my legs, the other is custard. Can you tell the difference?
I have to mention Sewsquirrel where I bought the Jalie patterns. I'd been about to buy the PDF versions when I found this online Australian store selling a huge range of patterns with free postage within Australia. I ordered just before Christmas, and since there was some delay due to public holidays (completely reasonably) Sarah of SewSquirrel refunded the cost of one of the patterns to me. Brilliant!