My daughter needed a new bathing suit. We went shopping. She tried a few on. As usual we couldn't find anything we liked or any that fit. We've had this trouble ever since she grew out of little girl sizes. What to do? Then I remembered that Butterick had recently released Butterick 6067, so we bought the pattern and some adorable swimsuit fabric that my daughter fell in love with from Fabric Fairy.
After reading through the instructions I started fearing the possibility of succeeding at this project. I have never sewn a swimsuit before! However I've read so many blogs where others have with great success, I assumed that I could to.
I found some cotton fabric from the stash that was left over from a quilt project to figure out the steps. I'm so glad I did this because I was quite confused and had nowhere to go for help, as much as I googled and sought advice. I realize the pattern designers are busy. I totally get that. =) However I was quite at a loss, so I looked at the Sewaholic's gorgeous Bombshell Swimsuit, which originally inspired me last summer and kept teasing me in the back of my mind! ;) She used the pattern and corresponding sew a-long from Closet Case Files. In my despair I was wishing I had bought this pattern because it had hand holding support with a super highly informative sew along. I read and reread this for the basic idea of sewing a swim suit and working with spandex. (Sew a-long is linked above.) And please don't get me wrong. I love Gertie's pattern. It's just that I'm not experienced enough in the 1950's or in the sewing of swimsuits to dive in and go for it! However I'm quite sure that many others could! =)
One thing that threw me was that the illustrations don't fully explain what is happening. Instead of showing the odd layers of fabric pieces going together, they only illustrated the final result. I had to do a lot of fiddling. I was stuck at step 3 for weeks, but I finally figured it out!
I think what threw me specifically was the use of the term "stay" in the beginning steps. Nowhere that I could find was "stay" defined. To me stays are 18th century underpinnings. I think from there the word has evolved to indicate a bit of structure for the bodice, as in adding a bit of boning which this pattern indeed calls for. However the "stay" was completely separate from the boning so I still don't understand. I'm guessing background knowledge of 1950's couture techniques would have helped. I have sewn historical clothing for almost every era and I'm currently sewing for the 1950's, two different dresses and this swimsuit. This is the first I've seen "stay" in this context. This could be just me. I'm sure others are much more knowledgeable as to its meaning. When I started ignoring that, and fiddled, things started to fall into place structurally.
The ties are much skinnier than the actual pattern because I didn't have enough fabric to cut two, so I cut the one in half, since this was merely a practice mock-up. I was quite pleased with the result! Isn't it darling?
Last night I completed the rest of the swimsuit! Here is the front...
And here is the back. Of course it's not stretchy so my daughter can't try it on but it seems as though it could fit her.
My next step is to cut out only the lining in some stretchy stash fabric I have so she can try it on. Then I'll dare to cut out the cute lavender and white polka dot with white ruching trim! My daughter is so excited. However this will take a while. I took a tiny tumble down a mountain on a hike the other day and lightly sprained my ankle. I don't have any pain but it swells if I stand on my feet a lot so I've been resting on the couch.
Meanwhile I've been reading lots of blogs and sewing websites about the ins and outs of sewing with spandex, required for bathing suits. I don't feel like I have enough tips in the directions. The pattern says it's for the average seamstress and I think I definitely am an average seamstress. However with the directions given, I think this should be labeled for an advanced seamstress. If there were a bit more hand-holding, more directions, a sew a-long and a you tube of the various ways to sew on stretch fabric with straight stitch machines v interlock machines, then it could be an average pattern. At least that is how I'm feeling because I'm scared to make the commitment and dive into this project. My daughter has a great deal of confidence in me though! I hope it works!