Impromptu Gulf Coast Bikini

Gulf Coast Bikini

It was the night before a quick trip to the gulf coast for a family reunion.  The swimsuit I was planning to wear was giving me muffin top.  All my other suits were a little too skimpy on the coverage for me to feel comfortable in front of family (not my family, but still).  It was ridiculous to think of making a new swimsuit, as it was already past 9:00 in the evening at this point and I was working in the morning and going straight to the airport from there.  Ridiculous!  But....muffin top!!  But it's late!!!  But....muffin top!!!!  OK, fine.

I didn't have any swimwear fabric in stash, so this is just a lightweight poly knit.  I'm not sure it can actually get wet, but I'm more of a dip my feet in kind of person than a swimmer anyway, especially when it comes to the murky bay water here.

I knew if I had any prayer of finishing before midnight I had to use TNT patterns I had already fitted and made zillions of times.  Jalie 2563 and my TNT panty pattern to the rescue!  Both of them have plenty of coverage and I knew they fit perfectly.  As a bonus, I had already traced each pattern as a full size piece (rather than place on fold), which was necessary for this symmetrical print.

Stretch Elastic to Fit Fabric

Not only did I not have any swimwear fabric, I didn't have any swimwear elastic.  I decided the quickest finish I could get that would look decent was foldover elastic.  Again, I'm not really sure this can actually get in the water.  I don't know how well FOE performs when wet.  I didn't really measure it, just left a lot of slack in the fabric around the curve of the bum so that the elastic would be stretched there, as well as a little slack along the front neckline of the top so it would hug the chest.

Elasticize Leg

For the panty leg, I thought it would be easier to stitch the elastic on before sewing the side seam.  It was easier, although didn't quite work out how I envisioned.  As I've mentioned before, I like to sew foldover elastic first to the wrong side of the fabric, then fold it over stitch to the right side.

Silly Mistake

Well, my lack of a 3D mind really screwed me here.  Who would have predicted that this would result in the seam allowance of the foldover elastic being on the outside?  ::rollseyes::  Oh well.  I wasn't going for perfection.\


The one area where I took great care was in cutting the fashion fabric.  I wanted to make sure that my print was perfectly symmetrical, and for once I think I got it as close to perfect as I am capable.  I am really happy with the print placement on these pieces.

Bust Cups
The final part of this project was sewing the bra cups in place while on the plane (I had pinned them in position and enclosed them between the outer fabric and the lining before sewing in the lower elastic band).  The cups are perfectly round (unlike an actual human bust).  I got them out of a RTW sport top I bought several years ago, in which they looked ludicrous.

I wasn't even sure why I was keeping them, but I was glad I had when I tried on the top.  (This is not good for my supply hoarding tendencies.)  The downside of a sport top is that there is no building up of the bust with ruching or gathering or ruffles or whatever.  Just a really flat chest.  The cups aren't so large that the top looks obviously padded, it just has the shape you'd expect a swimsuit top to have (a shape that I cannot supply on my own).  I can't believe that not only did I find a use for these cups, but they were absolutely perfect for the job!

All that and I made it to bed before midnight!  It is by far not my best work.  The join on the foldover elastic that finishes the armscyes and makes the straps is fairly terrible, and the fashion fabric and lining layers aren't perfectly aligned in the bottoms.

But really, nobody would notice these things except a sewist, who is not likely to be looking that closely at a swimsuit.  I felt comfortably covered but still stylish in my suit, and enjoyed sitting by the water!

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


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