Thursday, May 19, 2016

Modest Swimsuit Tutorial

Here's a little tutorial for sewing your own modest swimsuit bottoms, which have become completely impossible to find in stores!

I used three different patterns for this suit- the Grand Slam by Peekaboo for the top, the Skater skirt (modified) by Peekaboo, and the Love Notions leggings pattern (which is free!).  The fabric I also purchased from Peekaboo which is AMAZING quality.  I used some other fabric for another swimsuit and it wasn't nearly as nice to work with.  Still cute though, and it was my practice run.

This one I used the same bottoms, but I used the Peekaboo Little Miss Sunshine tee because I intended it for indoor swim lessons and didn't need it for sun coverage.

First- some tips for sewing with swim material.  Swimsuits have something called "negative ease", meaning they are smaller than your body for purposes of staying put in water.  I sized down on the leggings part, but not the skirt, as it's not part of how the suit stays on the body.  Just keep that in mind with sizing purposes. 
Second, I used a serger, so I'm not sure how this would turn out trying to use a stretch stitch on a regular machine.  I never had any success with sewing knits like that, but that doesn't mean its not possible!  
Third, like knits, you can poke holes in your fabric with your pins.  I use wonder clips to avoid this.  When sewing with swim, you should use as many as you can.  This stuff is WIGGLY! 
Fourth, for girls suits, you might want to line light colors in the front.  I did for the pineapple suit, but not for the black floral, it was plenty dark so I didn't worry about how it would look wet. 

See?  Lots of clips!

Now for the tutorial!

1- Cut two of the leggings (one right and one left- flip the pattern for this)

2- Cut two of the skirt section. I cut 6 inches off the pattern to make it more of a flounce, and less of a full skirt. 

3. Cut your waistband.  I changed mine to 9 x 18" because I didn't want her tummy showing if the shirt came up at all.  Last year her rashguard always would ride up and she'd get burned on her back. 

4. Clip all your seams together. 

5. After sewing your seams, you can press them on lower heat.  I sew my leggings by stitching the legs individually, then turning one right side out and putting inside the other and then sewing the crotch seam.  I can't remember if that's how the instructions say to do it, it's just my method of preference. 

6. You now have all your pieces sewn- now divide each one into quarters and mark with pins. This is the only time I use pins, there is just not a great way around it.  

7. Match up your pins.  First do the leggings into the skirt- clip at quarter points. They should be relatively similar in size and shouldn't give you much trouble. 

8. The slightly difficult part is getting them attached to your tiny waistband. Attach at quarter points or more often if you need to.  Stretch your waistband to fit as you sew CAREFULLY- do not stretch the outer skirt, and always make sure you have all the pieces and none have slipped out.

9. Ta da!  It's almost done! It's okay if its wavy where it attaches to the skirt a bit.  It will smooth out on your kiddo.  

Now you just need to hem as you will- I hemmed the legs but left the skirt unhemmed.  It hangs nicely that way (like a flounce) and will not unravel or fray, but its up to you of course. And you are ready for the beach!