Earlier this summer, we were invited to a pool party. I groaned, not because I can't swim, but because I have the same bathing suit I've had since I was 16. Yes, I can technically still wear it, but it's not comfortable because of the weight I've gained since then and the shape changes my body has gone through with two kids. So I started researching to see if I could make myself a swimsuit, since I hate bathing suit shopping pretty much more than anything else!
My research was saddening. There aren't very many companies who make swimsuit patterns. And I didn't have faith that the swimsuits from those patterns would be modest or flattering on my larger body. Then I found this website. It's a website by a swimsuit designer in Australia, catered to other fashion designers who want to learn more about designing swimsuits and working with stretchy fabric. It's not technically for the home sewer with few clothing skills (ahem, like me), but if nothing else in life I've definitely got supreme overconfidence in my ability to figure things out and make it work.
(Apparently I can no longer insert more than one link per post without blogger flipping out, so I can't link the the specific pages, grrr.)
I started with the One Piece Block that he recommends you make for your body. On my first attempt I drafted everything by hand. That took forever. That bathing suit also had other issues because I messed up with some basic arithmetic, and forget to use stitches suitable for stretchy fabric. So this second time I downloaded a free program on the computer called Inkscape and drafted the pattern on the computer. This took probably just as long, but now I have a permanent copy and can manipulate it easier.
I couldn't get it to print out on my home printer, but Fedex came to the rescue!
With my one piece block created, I then had to decide what I wanted. I decided I wanted ruching to hide my tummy. I also thought that a halter would be nice, but I wanted to give my bust more support, so I decided to have an empire waist. I ended up combining the Halter Pattern and the Empire Waist One Piece pattern, and I took tips from the Tweaking for Larger Sizes page. Oh, and I decided to try to gather the front of the bust, though that part didn't quite end up the way I envisioned, but oh well.
I also had to deal with the bra area. I bought some of those bra cups at Joanns, but in the future I think I would rather buy a bra that I know fits and take it apart to use in the swimsuit.
I bought swimsuit fabric at Fabric.com and I bought lining fabric at Joanns. I also bought a swimsuit hook for fastening, and I bought swimsuit elastic. In the future I will just use normal knit elastic, because the swim elastic was wider than I liked. One thing that I had to figure out on my own was how to assemble and finish the swimsuit, since that website only has patterns. Basically I looked at my old swimsuit and winged it. :] It's not perfect but hopefully nobody is looking close enough to see the trouble spots!
I took some self portraits before I had finished the edges, and then after I finished I had Adam take some pictures, but he had the camera pointing upward at me and so my face looks a lot fatter than it is. But I'm posting them anyway because I'm too impatient! Please know that it is a huge thing for me to be posting pictures of myself in a bathing suit on the internet, especially because I am at the heaviest I've ever been except while pregnant!