There is alot of great handmade swimwear being shown over the internet at the moment. I'm thinking particularly of Lauren's incredible 'Soma' bikini! Now, I am no way going to try and replicate that in style nor pose. Lets just be honest here! She looks amazing and I have got a mum tum and dimpled legs so no standy uppy photos, but I'll work around that. I'm going for something with a bit more coverage that will probably have such a high waist on the bottoms that I may as well wear a one piece.
This is the pattern that I am going to try...
I have already toiled the shorts and am happy with the fit as they are, but have yet to try the bralet top. This all brings to mind a make that I completed last year, but never blogged about. I made a soft cup bra from a self drafted pattern and posted it on Kollabora, but felt far too shy to blog about it and was not into posting pictures of myself in my clothes until fairly recently (boring, everyone wants to see clothes on someone don't they?). Well now I feel ready to share!!!!
Why am I sharing now? Because I think that if all else fails with my selected pattern then I can at least use this as a fall back. It is also a great way of creating a pattern at home. I tried a couple of free downloads and was really depressed by the amount of alterations they would have needed I felt there must be a simpler way of getting your exact fit. This is not meant to be a tutorial, but more of a guide as to what I did to achieve the end product...just in case you wanted to give it a go!
How to start? Basically I put on a well fitting soft bra that I already owned and pinned some calico to the cup (creating darts where it needed shaping). I marked the outline of the cup, centre front, cup seam across the apex (creating a lower and upper cup piece) and lower dart. The pen marks have not been photographed whilst pinned to me, but you can kind of see them in the next photo.
I then cut around the pen line marking the cup outline and centre front and created a back piece by stretching the bra out, pinning it to the floor and measuring how long it needed to be. I used the original bra as a guide to the shaping on this.
The above toile now forms the pattern, so I cut across the apex pen line. For the upper cup leave the pins in the darts and cut along the folded edge of them and along the pen line. Do not unpin and transfer this shape onto paper. For the lower cup cut along the folded edge of the dart, stopping at the dart tip and do not unpin. Transfer this shape to paper and mark the wedge size hole as a dart to be added in construction. Neaten any shapes once drawn onto paper.
Below is my paper pattern with a 1cm seam allowance added.
Cut and sewn in the outer fabric, which is a non-stretch Liberty print lawn.
Lined with a very fine cotton, which has been sewn along the top edge only and pleated where the dart is instead of sewing along the dart.
I have looked at the construction of my own undies for construction tips and stitched some elastic to the facing side of the under arm edge with zigzag stitch. This then turns back to the lining and gets top-stitched in place with another row of zigzag. I stretched the elastic as I went, just guessing the amount and this method seemed to work ok, but I'm not sure if it's the 'official' way.
I then stitched the apex seams of the lining and outer cups together on the inside to keep it all in place. Not sure if you can see this clearly from the picture.
Some side binding to cover the raw edges of the cups and back piece (elastic added as before). I used some wider elastic for the bottom part of the bra, as this seems to sit better against the body and had more elasticity.
A mix of woven and stretch for the straps with no adjustment.
So there it is! The order of construction went as follows:
- Stitch together bra cups in main fabric(repeat for lining)
- Join these pieces together along the neckline edge and understitch on lining
- Attach elastic to underarm
- Stitch the apex seams together of the lining and main fabric on the inside
- Attach elastic to top edge of back piece (I did main fabric only)
- Attach front back pieces together along the side seam
- Attach elastic to bottom edge of bra
- Attach back fastening
- bind side seam on the inside
- Attach straps as required