Totally Worth Seven Years of Hand-Me-Down Swimsuits
I absolutely detest swimsuit shopping. I haven't set foot in a swimsuit change room in, I'm going to say seven years, but really it's probably actually longer than that. Instead, I was taking swimsuits from people that fit them poorly, were too big or too small, or were getting old or saggy. Then there is the added problem of the length of my body (I am 6'1"), which frequently ended up with me exposing either my chest or my lady bits by accident, because lycra only stretches lengthwise so far.
I would see this style of maillot on Anthropologie or other websites, but it seemed like it would be kind of heartbreaking to order one for so much money only to find out it's not long enough. Besides, I had possession of every cast off bathing suit my mother or aunts ever owned, so it's not like my need was dire. (Reading that sentence over, it hits me that my need was probably dire).
But then I made this suit and it's so amazing! It's long enough, it covers enough, I feel awesome when I have it on! It's the Bombshell Swimsuit. So you buy a pdf and print it out and gather up all the materials and then you are off!
I picked a really really vibrant blue lycra on Ottawa Street in Hamilton, and some swimsuit lining from Fabricland, and some swimsuit elastic (special elastic that doesn't disintegrate in chlorine) from the Bra Making Shop (all on Ottawa Street). Materials were probably around $60-70? Plus the pattern, which is $13.
Totally worth it.
Construction went something like this:
- Printed all the pages and taped them together (this took an evening) and then cut them apart at the lengthen/shorten lines to add two inches, then taped them back together. (Lot's of tape. Lot's of tape.)
- Spent the next morning perusing the Bombshell Swimsuit Sew-Along where I realized she adds THREE inches for her friend who is shorter than I am.
- Some cursing, then new resolve to "just do it the right way", wherein I cut apart ALL the pieces again and add another inch and a half. Now they were so thick with tape and so long that I kind of got worried.
- Carefully spread the fabric out on the floor on my cutting mat (had to fix it four or more times because the cats thought I was playing "The Game"). Then I just laid the pieces down with my pattern weights/random stuff from my sewing kit on top and cut around with my rotary cutter. This took probably 30 minutes?
- Then I followed along with the instructions for a while. Everything was pretty clear. You spend a LOT of time carefully gathering the edges of your pieces, but besides that, there wasn't too much fiddly stuff.
- The only huge problematic part was this:
My Machine HATES swimsuit elastic. This is what it looked like in the part where I gave up and thought it wasn't as bad as the twenty times previous where I ripped it out. Yikes! Thankfully this part is totally tucked away inside, where nobody (but the entire internet, now) can see it. Finn and I took a break at this point and went to play tag in the snow, because I was so close to throwing my machine across the room.
Other small adjustments I made were to add some swimwear cups (I cut them out of my most hated hand-me-down swimsuit. My sister would have been maniacally laughing if she were there... she hated that one the most).
I also slightly moved the straps in, to better keep my ladies in place.
So there you have it! A bathing suit! It did only take me a day in the end (not counting the evening taping all that paper together). I really really love it. Enough to put a picture of myself in it on the internet.