It’s been a long and great summer for yours truly and now I finally have a few sewing projects to share with all of you.
This is my first Copycat Fashion project in a while and it’s my first swimwear project EVER. Sewing enthusiasts know swimwear is very challenging to make and I just HAD to use a pattern made for woven fabrics to realize this project for extra difficulty, lol.
Join me on my journey, why don’t you?
Alright, so what inspired me to make swimwear for the first time?
This photo of Kate Moss by famous fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier from 1996 did it for me:
I’m not sure who made this 2-piece swimsuit, I couldn’t find any more information on this photoshoot. However, I really liked the design as it’s a bikini that I feel comfortable pulling off in broad daylight, lol. Plus, I recognize design elements from my own sewing pattern collection so I figured I could make something similar for myself to wear.
After searching through my pattern archive I found these to be the closest I could get to the original swimwear set. On the right is McCall’s M7168 ‘Create It!’ swimwear set including a 3-paneled high-waisted bikini bottom that is perfect for this copycat project. I got started on this one first.
For construction, I used a double ballpoint needle to sew my swimwear together because it provided the stretch in the straight stitches necessary to accommodate the stretch fabric. However, I couldn’t do any back-stitching to lock them in like I would traditionally do or else the threads would badly tangle up and ruin the fabric.
TIP FOR SEWING LIFE: For less headaches, use water-soluble stabilizer paper to pin at the beginning & end of fabric and just sew a straight stitch with the double needle from edge to edge. Leave thread tales long enough to knot when you’re finished to keep stitches from unraveling. Don’t worry about locking, that will come when you sew all the pattern pieces together.
As you can see, sewing this bikini bottom was pretty straight forward. One thing I learned to do was hand baste stitch the seam first before machine-stitching it in place. Stretch fabrics always slide around on the machine even when using a walking foot and pinning it will require a lot of pins to pull out while sewing. Baste-stitching just outside the seam allowance kept the pieces steady while the walking foot does its thing sewing everything together.
On the left is McCall’s M7937 coordinates set including a paneled bralette top (B) resembling the bikini top from the photo. Only thing is that this design is for woven not stretch fabrics. Sewing knit fabrics with woven fabric patterns can work if you practice beforehand to figure out proper sizing with stretching involved as well as what stitches to use in constructing it.
So the bikini top took some practicing on other material before diving into the final project. I learned the proper size and fit for the pattern design adapted for stretch fabrics and was able to construct the top using all the lessons I learned from sewing the bottom. I also had to figure out how to incorporate removable bra cups into the design for modesty purposes just like the swimwear I’ve bought in the past. Generally bikini tops have linings with openings for inserting/removing bra cups and FORTUNATELY for me this bralette pattern has lining instructions so I was able to turn the bust lining into pockets for the bra cups. First time doing this and I managed to succeed so pats on the back for me, lol.
I decided to keep the zipper closure from the original design to make my life a little easier sewing this top. Needless to say I only made life half easier, as I could only get my hands on a plastic zipper too long for what I needed and I had to manually shorten it. Not ideal but I made it work:
For a first time swimwear project, I am moderately satisfied with the results. Considering that I started from zero and had to adapt a pattern made for woven fabrics, it ended up much better than it could have been. The fit on both pieces work, but I would definitely have to refine the construction around the leg bands and the zipper closure. I do have enough leftover fabric from this project so perhaps next summer I’ll do a 2.0 version and improve on my past mistakes.
And since no swimwear outfit is complete without a coverup, I used the vintage Simplicity ‘Super Jiffy’ 5124 pattern to make a pair of pants to wear with it:
This pattern lives up to the ‘Super Jiffy’ name. It was very simple to cut & construct together and I like the results. I will say that if I had the chance to make the legs wider I would. This vintage pattern is vintage in sizing as well, meaning that it’s for smaller bodies from a bygone era. HOWEVER, Simplicity re-issued this pattern design with a Size Large option available so I will definitely try & sew this pant pattern again and see how that one fits too. Here is the re-issued Simplicity pattern:
Okay so my first Copycat Fashion project in months turned out relatively well. I’m a little rusty but hopefully I’ll get my copycatting groove back for the next one, lol.