These floral swimmers had been a favourite of A's (so faded now they're unrecognisable) and so I thought I'd revisit the pattern one size up for this summer.
This is Jalie 3350 view B. I measured her and she appeared to be exactly the right measurements for size I, which is just one size up from last years swimmers.
This first green pair were made with a small remnant of lycra from GJ's discount fabrics. I think it was fished out of the remnant bin and cost maybe $2. And of that I've probably only used half of it! I lined the front with more of the pale skintone pink lycra I'd bought last year.
I made a neater job of the cross over bit this time, and even added a step to pull the lining through the front panels and stitch it to itself. That means there's no unfinished lining edge at the centre front. Much tidier. I'll have to take a few photos next time (next year!) to describe it properly.
A big part of the appeal of this pattern is that she can easily get them on and off herself. The intensive school swimming instruction starts next week and I'm afraid the Cosi pattern (also sewn last summer) with it's cross over straps was just too confusing.
I had decided to make both view B and View A and I was good and sewed this pair right to the end to try the fit before cutting the second pair. I do think they could do with a centimetre or two more torso length, but once I started looking at View A the pattern is more confusing and didn't lend itself to lengthening so easily. So I didn't bother and just made the same size over!
It turned out not to be quite as baffling as I'd thought it would be to add length, as that band is more of a flap. It lays over the uppermost part of the bottom section and adds nothing to the length of the swimsuit. The front could be easily lengthened. It's the back that would require a bit more thought.
I love the back of these swimmers!
I tried really hard to cut my fabric to align at least the colours, if not the chevrons. But the upper back sections, which I fastidiously lined up and cut were upside down! I may have missed a grainline marking when tracing the pattern, but the writing, which I always trace is upside down to the pattern piece. There, hopefully I'll remember that for next time.
The method for creating the straps is great. A strip of fabric is stitched onto the edge of some 1cm elastic, then wrapped around the elastic and topstitched down with a zig zag stitch. Then the excess fabric width is simply trimmed off close to the stitching on the underside. The straps are more stretchy, stable in width and have better recovery than if they were just made from a tube of lycra.
Last year I tried to make my swimmers look professional by using a double needle for all the elastic hems. However, I'd stitched close to the edge and the elastic tended to want to roll out. This time I just went with a nice wide zig zag and it behaves so much better and really doesn't look too amateurish at all. So while I chose to use an overlocker for the main seams, there's no reason why one couldn't make swimwear with a very basic sewing machine only.
The back fastening, as per the pattern, should have been a 2" hook which hooks to a loop sewn by folding one of the straps back on itself.
I couldn't find such a huge hook, but did find a two pack of these 1" clear plastic swimwear closures. It was a bit of a squeeze to get the straps happily through and stitched down, but it turned out to work really well in the end.
The chevron fabric is quite a large piece that I bought at Rathdowne fabrics and the orange another of the little scrap remnants from GJ's. It's really quite ridiculous how little fabric you need to make 5 year old girl swimsuits! I think I'll be sewing swimsuit chevrons for quite some years to come.
We had a fantastic holiday in the sun and the kids adored being on the beach. They were up at a crazily early hour each day and so it would feel like we'd been in the water for an eternity, yet my watch would only say half past nine in the morning! This little one is pretty brave when she wants to be and delighted in the big breaking waves. Flipper would take her out and hold her over his head while the wave broke over them. Sometimes they both got completely submerged but she didn't care a bit.
Of course in the Australian sun, you only get to show off your swimsuit for the sake of a blog photoshoot. The rest of the time it's hats and rashies on. So that's what I need to sew her next, a new rashie for riding the boogie board!