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. πŸ˜› 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. πŸ˜‰

 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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚ 

 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. πŸ™‚

 Like that. πŸ˜€

 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. πŸ™‚

 The tie is not sewn to the side seam, its sewn to the bikini support, and thus tightens freely. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ Couldn’t do that on the back, though, since there was no lining. πŸ˜€

 Another shot of the lining. πŸ™‚

Rach is so cute.

 To attach the ruffle, I used a “stretch zigzag” stitch. 

 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. πŸ™‚

 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. πŸ™‚

 Apparently my hand-stitching needs a little work. πŸ˜›

 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. πŸ˜€ Rachel was worth it though. πŸ˜‰

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.

34 thoughts on “|~ Aqua-dot Top”

  1. Super cute!i really love how it turned out! Swim suits seem pretty daunting to a novice seamstress like myself, though I do plan on sewing a swim skirt out of an old coverup.(: nice job!

    ~Vicki
    deckedoutinruffles.blogspot.com

  2. Oh my goodness, Oliva! This is too cute. I would love to have a top like that. Maybe you could make four more and figure it out so you can add a tutorial to your ebook? πŸ™‚

  3. Wow you did an amazing job! It looks like it was manufactured. Love the color and style combo. Can you make me one… Totally kidding, sortta;)

    Ali

  4. Oh my! I love your blog, and this is just too cute! I am going to have to buy your ebook so I can sew my own swimsuits! <3 I agree with Sarah, you should add a tutorial to your ebook if ever you feel comfortable doing it! πŸ™‚

  5. Very nice! You have done well! Rachel is lovely and so it the top. (I sometimes agree to do a sewing job which stretches my capabilities, but it is a nice feeling when it is accomplished and the client is satisfied.)

  6. I think you really should sew those four more and do a tutorial. I would LOVE it! I've been looking for a swimsuit tops just like this one! Cute, Modest and inexpensive.

    -Anna Rose

  7. This is the cutest swimsuite. I love it! I went to a swim party and all the girls were wearing poka dots i loved it. But most of the swimsuite were kind of strapy. This one is so modest. where did you get your fabric???
    Hannah

  8. Your sewing skills are so inspiring, Olivia! =) The Lord has blessed you with such a gift. =) The swim top turned out so cute…wow, it looks like a lot of diligence went into it! Thanks for sharing! =)

  9. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Sewing Community? Our members will love it.
    Members include: Needleworkers, Clothes and Dress Makers, Enthusiasts, Experts, Groups, Clubs, etc.
    It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The Sewing Community: http://www.vorts.com/sewing/
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor

  10. An honest question here….please, if you would take the time to answer this strictly by scripture only, would Jesus think that this is modest apparel? If this were not a "swimsuit", would you consider it modest? Does the occasion or activity that we are engaging in at the time determine and/or change our definitions of modesty? I pray you seek God's truth on these answers and do not look to the standards of even what other Christians consider "modest." You are stepping out as an example to other young girls who are also desiring to dress for His Glory. Therefore, you have an even greater responsibility now. Your initial reaction to this response may be one of defense, However, I urge you again to seek God's Word and consider if you would actually stand in front of your Saviour in this outfit (and feel it is appropriate.) This is not a response that is up for debate. God's Word stands.
    Your older sister-in-Christ,
    Courtney

  11. Hello! I love the swim top…do you think you could make one with sleeves??? It's soooooo hard to find modest swim stuff… You have a wonderful gift from God: sewing!

    God Bless,

    Anne~Marie

    1. Hey! Thank you! Not sure if you were asking if *I* could make one, or if in general someone could make one with sleeves, but I'm not doing any custom sewing for others anymore. :-/ But yes, I think this top could easily be made with sleeves. πŸ™‚

  12. I was wanting to make one with the gathering and support like this. I was wondering how you made the casing/ lining for the support. Is it similar to the bandeau in the ebook? Really cute!!!

    – Gracie

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