Category Archives: Swimwear

Kwik Sew 3695: Classic Navy Swimsuit

I was missing sewing swimwear after a fun summer of bikinis so decided to make Kwik Sew 3695 again using leftover lycra in my stash. And while in holiday mode I allowed my photograph to be taken in a swimsuit! Kwik sew 3695 front

It was only when I tried it on to measure the elastic for the leg holes that I stared into the mirror and realised I had inadvertently made a school swimsuit. I saw myself as a 7-13 year old in an official school uniform navy swimsuit (with the curves I didn’t have back then). A very strange feeling. I remembered jostling my class mates at the pool side – no one wanted to be in the middle – the pool was rectangular with a semi circle at each end so being in the middle meant you had further to swim a ‘length’. Kwik Sew 3695

Anyway, school memories aside, navy is a classic swimsuit colour and much more wearable than my hawaiian print version of the same sewing pattern. This particular nylon lycra from UK Fabrics Online makes great swimwear – I have tested out the swimsuit for snorkelling during Easter holidays (hence the on-location blog photos)  and for a swim in a regular swimming pool. The fabric and my sewing stood up to sea salt, chlorine and washing machine cycles with no adverse effects. In terms of sportswear suitability, the fabric is already fully tested and approved as both a Pneuma tank and the inner layer of a Pneuma sportsbra). I didn’t have any doubts on the swimwear front because both exercise tops are still going strong and get worn at least once a week each.

Kwik Sew 3695 back

It was fun to power through a pattern I’d made before (albeit pre-overlocker days). I made no alterations to the pattern pieces since last time. As before, I measured the leg elastic on me before sewing but all other elastic was cut to the pattern’s suggested lengths. I get a good fit from this pattern, the low back lends itself to arched backs and the halter is fine on small chests. After two makes of the same pattern view I feel I need to either try a new-to-me pattern or at least the other view next time.  Any suggestions? Kwik Sew 3695 Navy

Halogen Bikini

See, I said my second bikini would be way better than the first!

Halogen Bikini Front

The name of this bikini make is taken directly from the name of the print design – Halogen. A stock design of Funki Fabrics. This is my second fabric purchase of the year and boy was it worth it. The colours, the geometry… this print is very me.

Halogen Print

So what can you expect when you order a printed-to-order lycra from Funki Fabrics? Quick signed-for delivery (less than 2 working days) and a full half meter of the print with a white border (which I’m hording as it’d make a great bit of contrast for another bikini or of sportswear).

Printed Lycra Funki Fabrics

The lycra is a little lighter in weight than my previous bikini but I’d already invested in some nude power net from Oh Sew Crafty (the swim elastic also came from there). The print quality is really good, as is the fabric – amazingly no curling edges. This makes it much easier to sew with as there’s no battling against a suborn curl. I was clean out of tracing paper so I used baking paper but that stuff also had a curly affliction!

Curling Powernet

And what pattern did I use this time? Since I modified Little Nook’s free bikini bottoms pattern to my liking for my first bikini, I went with that – I just took out the centre front gathering for this make. The gathering would just be lost in all that print.

Halogen Bikini Back

For the bikini top, I drafted one using some RTW inspiration and intrigue in an under bust dart for shape.

Halogen Bikini Dart

But I also quite liked the ties that were on my swimsuit from last year so I played around with those a little to angle outwards and slope the edges (in retrospect I can see that this idea may have been subliminally Sewaholic Lonsdale-inspired too!).

Halogen Bikini Ties

I treated myself to a rather professional looking bikini clasp from Sewing Chest. The clasp turned out to be a pretty good colour match, no?

Halogen Bikini Clasp


On the Brink of a Bikini Bonanza

My motivation to sew for my holiday has been gathering momentum so I launched into something more pool worthy. What I wished someone would have told me a few weeks ago was that I’d really enjoy the process once I got started. So much so, in fact, that the next bikini is already in progress (and it’s way better than this one)!

Little Nook Bikini Front

Anyway, let’s focus on this one for today. The fabric is a nice weight nylon lycra that’s best described as ‘bright teal’ – not kelly green nor turquoise despite what the photographs might indicate. It’s been in my stash since a trip to Goldhawk Road last year so it’s about time it got some sun exposure.

Little Nook Bikini Back

The pattern is by Laura of My Little Nook and is available for free on SewMamaSew along with clear instructions. I made a a huge number of tweaks to the pattern. Most important was raising the waistline by 1 1/2″ inches as the original waist’ line was verging on indecent on me.  I also angled the side seams and took a wedge out of the centre back to accommodate the steep transition between my hip and waist measurements. My swim elastic (Hemline Swim woven elastic – way easier to sew than clear elastic) was wider than the instructions recommended so I added this extra to the seam allowances of my pattern pieces. Also, the given elastic length measurements weren’t working for me (just variation in elastic stretchiness) so I had to guess these but it’s just a case of wrapping the elastic around the right body part and assessing how much is comfortable, will keep the garment on and won’t cause unsightly bulging (bikini muffin tops – urgh!)

Swim cups and hidden boning.

Swim cups and hidden boning.

The bikini top is drafted according to a series of measurements but I also changed a few things like making proper channels for the boning and attaching these to the lining just inside the side seam. I fully lined the bikini top and bottoms – the fabric isn’t at all see-through I just think it looks nicer on the inside than partial lining, it hides the boning neatly and I had enough leftover from my last swimwear make. I added swim bra cups for cold modesty rather than support or enhancement and gathered some excess fabric under the cups.

Got any swimwear sewing plans this year?


Swimalong 2013: Jumping in at the deep end

Katie and Leila have been hosting Swimalong 2013. There has been plenty of inspiration, brilliant information and guides to choosing a pattern and swim-appropriate notions. Thank you ladies for being such excellent hosts.

I truly jumped in at the deep end with this one (excuse the pun). Here’s a pictorial overview of construction:


Cutting some tight curves with the rotary cutter but it’s ready to sew up,


Test stitch settings. The far right was the winner – a sewing machine faux overlock stitch. Bonus, no tidying seam allowances afterwards!


The pattern instructed straight stitch to baste the lining to the front piece. This reduced stretch and made attaching non-lined pieces a bit tricky.


I don’t remember the pattern instructions mentioning anything about a headless chicken!

After sewing up the back and crotch seams, I called an end to sewing for the day. But, I couldn’t resist this first opportunity to try it on. It was a bit wrinkly around the bottom but I thought the elastic around the legs would tighten that issue up (it did).


I used permanent pen to mark pattern notations onto the clear elastic (I checked it was dry before attaching to fabric). “SS” must match up to side seam but the whole piece of elastic runs from the halter neck right down to the centre back.


The elastic went in surprisingly easily but made the swimsuit look a raggedy. Twin needle stitching tidied everything up on the outside and I had the first inkling that this might be wearable!

Ta-da! Look how well it matches my swimming towel too (I borrowed hubby’s goggles to set the scene).

Swimsuit Front

The fit is great, the pattern provides extra measurement and fitting steps on the instructions and two places to lengthen or shorten. In addition to the usual circumference measurements, there’s no need for a poor fit.

Swimsuit Back

Right up to finishing the twin needle top stitching, I thought that I’d end up posting a failed attempt but a jolly good effort nonetheless. So I am pleasantly surprised that it’s completely wearable and I’ll be testing it out on Friday evening at the pool.

I may have jumped in at the deep end but I’ve paddled my way to the shallow end, climbed out and I want to do it again!