This week's Crafty Bloggers Club post is from Vicky, you can find more of her makes on Instagram @sewlittlesparrow and on her blog sewlittlesparrow.com
Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by to check out my latest Crafty Sew & So bloggers club make, and one that’s a first but by no means a last make for me.
So I made a bikini! Last year while on my summer hols I vouched that this would be the year I would tackle swimwear, so when Freya put out the call to the blogger team to see if anyone would be interested in trying out the new lycra that had arrived I jumped at the chance (probably a bit prematurely as I didn’t think ahead about the fact I would have to take photos of me in a bikini).
A few of the lycra’s on offer would have worked well for swimwear or sportswear but the one that shouted out swimwear was a gorgeous coral colour with little white leaves (well I think they’re leaves). Normally my swimwear choice would be black, black and more black but the beauty of being able to make things yourself is you can choose from pretty much anything.
Pattern wise my initial plan had been to make the Megan Neilsen Cottesloe bikini (which comes with a few variations including a swimsuit) but I’d also had my eye on the Friday Pattern Company Vernazza Two Piece. The feature that stands out on the Vernazza is a lovely tie fronted top. I figured this would also make fitting a little easier as you could adjust the tie to make the top a little looser or tighter as needed.
While I’m totally happy with sewing jersey I’ve never tackled a ‘technical’ fabric before but actually it sewed up with no problems at all. The trick is to definitely test your tension but also use a stretch needle and an absolute must in my opinion is a walking foot. I’m very lucky to have a fantastic walking foot on my machine and the fabric handled beautifully.
The Vernazza top is fully lined in either the same fabric as the outer layer, or you can use swimwear lining. I chose to line in the same fabric as the outer layer. The pattern also calls to add a layer of power mesh. I did do this but in hindsight I probably didn’t need to as I’m not particularly large busted so didn’t really need the extra support.
The bottoms are lined with a swimwear lining, which I already had in the stash.
Size wise my bust is a 38 inch and hips are 43 inch. Obviously swimwear has negative ease so taking this into account the pattern called for me to make a large in the top and extra large in the bottoms. I think this actually turned out pretty good. Although if anything I would possibly size down on the bottoms and actually size up on the top as I do feel the top is possibly on the tighter side.
I think the only thing I’m not happy about with this make is the elastic on the top. I think I stretched it out too much when sewing it (although I did follow the measures suggested in the pattern). I just think it pulls a little in places which the following picture shows. But for a first attempt I’m definitely not grumbling and nothing that can’t be addressed if I made another one.
Another adjustment I would possibly make is to make the bottoms a little lower. I’m defiantly too old for skimpy bikini bottoms but these are on the chunky side and they sit pretty high finishing on your belly button. This is totally down to personal preference but I think I would just lower the rise a little on my next pair.
For the elastic, again I already had this in the stash. I used ‘proper’ rubber swimwear elastic, but you could also use the clear elastic which it a little more easily available. The pattern does actually state that unless you’re an olympic swimmer (or my husband that would live in water given the chance) you can just use normal elastic, this would definitely be an option for me as I generally don’t go near water unless it’s the temperature of a hot bath!
So now that I’ve dipped my toes in to swimwear I will definitely be making more as it’s really not as difficult as I think you build it up to be in your head. If you take your time it’s actually a pretty quick thing to make. I sewed the whole thing up on a normal machine and all seams are sewn using a standard zig zag stitch (The pattern suggests the stitch width and length to use which is handy).
The pattern also includes numerous tips on sewing with elastic and also how to adjust for a fuller bust and there is a video available on their website although I actually forgot to watch it and just dived straight in.
And finally so you can get an idea of the fit and style I been brave and taken a picture of me actually wearing the bikini! I thought what the heck, it’s only a bikini top!!! But, don’t worry, I’m only showing you to the top half. Sadly I didn’t get to wear it on location on a hot sunny beach - instead I had to make do with my usual in front of the garage door set up.
So thanks for reading and if you have ever thought about sewing swimwear but was a little scared of tacking it, don’t be! It’s totally do-able and actually pretty fun.
“Crafty Bloggers Club Contributors are given products and materials to test from Crafty Sew&So. We hope you enjoy their honest and impartial reviews of the products. All opinions are their own.”