I got the bug to make myself a bathing suit after splurging on a suit from Anthropologie, only to have to send it back because of a disappointing fit. So, a quick search of Etsy for a pattern and I found the most incredible set of suits, vintage McCalls 5036 (1976). A year older than me, the pattern was in incredible shape.
|Photo from Vicious Vintage Chic|
Seriously, how can one pattern hold so much awesome possibility? Love the low cut, full-coverage bottom and the small-bust flattering top options. All are adorable and fabulous, but I went with style F to start. I made a petite torso adjustment and reduced the length of the crotch (I did a muslin first), and the suit fits perfectly.
The great “shaky dots on red” print is from The Fabric Fairy, and the suit is fully lined with nude fabric from Hart’s Fabric. Despite all my previous misconceptions, swimsuit fabric is not all that difficult to sew. I used my serger for most seams, with basting of the bodice and zigzagging the leg elastic on my regular machine. To finish the leg openings, one could use the multi-stitch zigzag….but I was a very lucky girl and for my birthday (yesterday!), I received this lovely piece of equipment:
The bathing suit was nearly done except the leg holes, but I waited patiently for several days until my actual birthday to open my present. I didn’t even read the manual, just rethreaded the machine with red thread and sewed the finishing touches in mere minutes. I’m already in love. It feels ever-so-slightly excessive to have three separate and distinct sewing machines, but really, you cannot beat the finish of a coverstitch machine on stretch fabrics. Makes me want to redo all the hems I did with a double-needle!
Look! Full butt coverage, without needing constant readjustment! There is something truly wonderful about being able to decide how tight or loose you want your bathing suit leg elastic. Swimsuit fabric is seriously inexpensive, so this suit cost less than $25, including the pattern (but not counting the coverstitch machine :). Not all apparel sewing is cost-effective, but swimsuits definitely are.
My husband was shocked to see me taking photos in my swimsuit. I thought he was appalled at me posting photos of myself in a bathing suit, but in his words, “You don’t even like me to post photos of you clothed!”. True, but a suit like this has to be shared! Even more exciting is that I have a pool party to go to tomorrow!