Sewing for me: Agility Tank and Riptide Shorties Swimsuit

It's been a couple of years since I made myself a new swimsuit, and I've been ready for a change.  My last suit was a Bombshell Swimsuit by Closet Case Files, and while it has been a cute bathing suit, the halter hurts my neck. So when I saw the Agility Tank and Riptide Shorties from 5 out of 4 patterns, I immediately started planning a new suit.

swimsuit 1.jpg

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results.  I made the shorties twice, the second pair fits much better with a few alterations.  I wish I had made a muslin of the top first, at least the bra part, but I got caught up with trying to get this finished, so skipped that part.  Of course, I'm not completely happy with the top because of that! I know better than to skip a muslin, especially on something more complicated like this, but oh well.

Things I did:

-I bought fabric from Fabric Universe

-I used power mesh on both the bottoms and top.  I bought Power Mesh from The Fabric Fairy, and it did the job to hold everything in.  

-I used swim lining on the back and T section of the bra, but not the front.  The front of the bra is just swimsuit fabric and power mesh.  I would have liked the extra support of the lining, but it was pretty apparent that if I did that, my chest would not have enough room in the top, so I skipped the lining on the front.

-I checked out this handy list from one of my favorite blogs, Free Notion.  This chart lists what height and bust PDF designers draft for, as well as what shapes.  Nowhere did it say this in the pattern. That's actually a big pet peeve of mine.  Most big pattern companies design for about 5'5 to 5'6".  If you are going to do something different than that, by all means, let the customer know.  How else are we going to get decent results?  5 out of 4 patterns apparently drafts for a 5'9" woman.  As a 5'1" individual, that information was crucial.  I immediately took out height from the overlay and the straps part of the bra.  I was pretty accurate too, but later on ended up taking even more from the shoulder seam. Seriously, clothes designers--this information is necessary in patterns.

-My first pair of Riptides were a larger size.  I sized up instead of down because I was in between for some of the measurements.  They were too baggy around the waist and legs, and that was before getting wet!  These are much better.  I cut a smaller size and was happy.  I also scooped out the butt curve to fit me better.  They still give me a little wedgie, so I probably could improve that more, but in general they work.

-I made a foam bra to go inside.  I didn't account for the smoosh factor of the swimsuit fabric and power mesh.  It's a lovely little bra insert.  When I had it in the swimsuit, it was useless!

Things I would change if I did this again:

-The Shorties feel a little too short in the back and too long in the front.  Rather than re-do them, I'm probably going to make some sort of actual shorts from a different pattern.  I would be comfortable wearing this swimsuit to the pool, because I wear a cover-up to and from, and then get in right away.  But I wouldn't feel great playing at the beach. My upper thighs, especially the backs, are my least favorite part of me to show off, and I can easily fix this by making little swim shorts.  I'll probably make them from the Patterns for Pirates Leg Legs pattern, because it's free for members of their Facebook group.

 Notice how I cleverly crop out most of my upper thighs? Yeah, some things aren't going up on the internet!

Notice how I cleverly crop out most of my upper thighs? Yeah, some things aren't going up on the internet!

-Cut the bra much differently.  There are different cut lines for a larger bust, but it affects the back as well as the front.  I ended up with bunching on the sides and back bra because it's too tall, but my bust barely fits in the front.  So I would do a technique I found from this blog post, a deep bust adjustment, and that way I could get more depth in the front and not feel like I'm a stuffed sausage, about to fall out the sides.  I would also cut the arm curve on the bra front to go higher.  I'd probably also make the bra front wider.  Basically, just give myself room in all directions.  Then I could add that lining layer for more support, and not feel like I'm falling out the armholes, which is how I feel now. I followed the pattern, but the way my chest is shaped, I have more volume than it seems by going off of my measurements. I have been sewing bras lately, so I'm figuring out all that sort of stuff still.

Oh, and one fun thing I forgot to mention--the Riptide Shorties are reversible! So I made them in black on the other side.

So, posting pictures like this on my blog is difficult, but I know that when I'm reading about sewing patterns, I always appreciate finding photos of women on the higher end of the size scale, so hopefully this post will help my fellow sewists in the L-XL size range.  Happy Sewing!

Oh, and since every photo shoot needs a few silly pictures, I leave with a little sass: