After so many years of "stretchy fabric phobia," it's hard to believe that I've actually made my own swimsuit! My previous swim "outfit" was made up of a leotard, tankini top, and active-wear capris. It was fine, and did its job well. However, lately I've found myself wanting something a little different -- after all, it has been six years! And now that I'm comfortable with knits, I thought it might be time to try swimwear fabric.
Inspiration struck when I saw this post by Jacqueline and her daughter -- which is a tad ironic, since my swim ensemble mentioned above is included as one of their sources of inspiration!
I went for a browse on Girl Charlee (always dangerous!) and fell in love with their Teal Cherry Blossom swimwear print. It's fun and a bit more exotic than my usual taste -- perfect for a swimwear. Of course, I decided to take it a step further by choosing orange milliskin for the bottom half, to blend with the orange in the cherry print! And this time I opted for combined leggings and skirt for the lower half.
I was able to get away with just one yard of each fabric, since the orange fabric was super wide (72"!). I have absolutely no scraps of the orange fabric left over, and very little of the cherry blossom print.
One of my favorite details of the top (for which I used my faithful self-drafted cap sleeve tee pattern) is the ruched shoulder seam. I cut narrow strips of the orange fabric and gave me them some hefty tugs to make them "curl," and then fed them through the top-stitched casings and sewed them into the neckline seam.
|As you can see, I hemmed the armholes but left the fabric edge raw. No raveling, no problem.|
The swim top has no built in "support," but I'm used to providing my own undergarments for that purpose. I also added ruching to the side seams, though that took several tries to get just right -- I had to trim off quite a bit to get it to lay right!
I drafted my skirt and leggings combo by tracing my Running Skirt from Kosher Casual. At the time I bought it, I was not yet sewing with knits -- though quite honestly, it was well worth the $42, as it's very well made and has allowed me to come up with my own pattern for future skirts. Here's a view of the leggings underneath the skirt:
|The milliskin is super silky, but is also lightweight -- I'm glad I have two layers!|
And here, dear readers, is the closest you will ever come to seeing my unmentionables on the Interwebs. I knew I wanted *something* under those leggings, and cotton undies just sound clammy and unpleasant. So I traced a pair from my closet and came up with this:
They're absolutely perfect! I still have no idea how I managed to eke them out of the tiny scraps of fabric I had leftover. I even designed them with a facing/casing at the leg holes, but it turned out that I didn't need any elastic inserted. There is a casing at the waist with a bit of elastic. I self-lined the crotch, and had some fun with finishing details.
It wasn't long until I got to put my new swim outfit to the test! We put together a little sprinkler apparatus for the kiddos, and took advantage of a particularly steamy day to cool off in the driveway. I found Rosa's rash guard at a local second-hand shop, but I made her leggings-with-attached-circle-skirt using fabric given to me by my mother-in-law.
|I had to take the waistband elastic in after that day, as poor Rosa's leggings|
kept slipping down over her diaper!
Here's the sprinkler, made with inexpensive PVC parts and one 10' section of PVC pipe from Lowe's:
|We drilled four holes in each length of PVC pipe, setting them at odd angles |
so they would squirt out in different directions.
And here's my only action shot so far! Excuse my odd expression; those little water streams are... well, wet!
|Little Man is very fond of his "prinkler," and asks to use it almost every day.|
Final analysis? I haven't actually been swimming yet, but I think this will work very well, indeed. I may shorten the skirt a tad just to facilitate movement, as it tends to bind to the legs a bit when wet, but overall I'm quite pleased. And at less than $20 for a modest and customized swimsuit, it was quite economical!
Now I'm more determined than ever to get out with the littles and enjoy the water this summer. I hope you're all having pleasant summers of your own!