Love makes us do crazy things. My dear friend Rachel asked for a pretty complicated swim top in exchange for taking my senior pictures, and I agreed to do it. Thankfully, it was an awesomely fun challenge.
And guess what? It turned out!
Her skirt is from Lime Ricki, although the grey color is no longer available.
I was so unsure of myself through this whole process, and had to put it down several times to ruminate on the best methods. I’ll tell you right now- I will not be doing a tutorial for this
one. Although I now feel more confident in my abilities, I would have
to do it another 4 times to maybe understand why it worked. 😛 Plus, Rachel lives 10 hours away from me, so I had to borrow a dress form to fit it. I could not have done it without that!
So, this top features a sweetheart neckline, girly ruffles, flattering rucheing, and cute little buttons that matched the skirt by accident. The trickiest part was building in the bust support and making it sturdy, something spandex isn’t exactly known for. 😉
Making the arm holes tight and modest without being stuffy was something I was concerned about, and it took a few tries to get them right… had to add elastic in. 🙂
Although I won’t be doing a tute, I’ll try to explain how I did it in some detail so if you’d like to attempt it you’ll have a start! 🙂
Here’s how I cut the front out. I modified the top by extending it way up, and then slicing down the middle to just above the bottom of the bust line. I ran gathering stitches on either side and carefully gathered and sewed evenly. 🙂
The other line of stitching you see around there is the white ruffle.
Now, for the support system. I did a lining with “bikini” supports sewn in.
Thinking of a regular bra, support comes from two places: the shoulder straps and the around the back straps. I knew some support needed to come from the straps, not just the top of the suit since that is stretchy, so I made the straps extra long and sewed them directly to the cups.
The around the back support was trickier. The bottom of the bikini support I sewed into a casing with ties sewn to the edge of the bikini cups, so that the support that way was adjustable. Since this lining/casing was on the inside of the suit, I left a little bit of the side seam unsewn and just threaded the ties through that to the outside. 🙂
The tie is not sewn to the side seam, its sewn to the bikini support, and thus tightens freely. 🙂 You can see from the previous two pictures that on the front where there was a lining, instead of sewing the elastic casing through the outer fabric and the lining, I used the lining seam allowance to make the casing, thus not having any stitching visible. 🙂 Couldn’t do that on the back, though, since there was no lining. 😀
Another shot of the lining. 🙂
Here’s a shot of the back– that extra strap I left on until Rachel tried it on, because that would be the easiest way to fix the armhole sizing- just unpick and resew, instead of adjusting the elastic or whatever. 🙂
I actually did a lot of hand-stitching on this top. You can see a little bit of it on the straps above where I hid the stitches that made the casing lay flat. I also hand-stitched the white fabric under the buttons on the front to avoid stitch lines. 🙂
Apparently my hand-stitching needs a little work. 😛
I was so relived when I heard it fit! I think it took me 15+ hours because of having to figure out each little step and the ramifications of each as I went. 😀 Rachel was worth it though. 😉
Sewing is awesome, and expanding our skills is exciting, too. I’m glad I did this, because I learned SO much in the process, mostly ways of concealing stitching. I also learned it’s better to be slow and careful than fast and sloppy.
Thanks for looking! I was thrilled it turned out.