Monday, 16 June 2014

Sporty summer sewathon - meeting my nemesis!

I feel like I have climbed Mount Everest and sauntered back down again! I feel dead chuffed with myself today, as this weekend I finished putting together my handmade swimsuit.

This is all in aid of the Sporty summer sewathon being hosted my Karen of 'Did you make that?'. There were 2 challenges here for me. The first was the making of and the second was the photographing of.

I must say now that I honestly don't hate my body and when I get dressed and look in the mirror I am happy enough with what is staring back at me, but when it comes to being photographed I cannot stand it. I wish I had a professional photographer, hair and make-up artist, good lighting etc... to help get me through it, but alas they all had the day off!

Back to the swim suit! I originally had in mind a bikini (see here) with very high waisted shorts, but I could not visualise it and did not think it was going to work for me. I put together the bottoms and got the fit right, but then deviated from my plan and started to look at RTW swimsuits for inspiration. I like the look of the v-neck as it helps to stops me looking too broad on the top and I wanted an open back with not too many straps as I didn't want too many dodgy tan lines (if I were to go on holiday ever!). There was lots of interesting RTW details like peplums and frills that I was tempted by, but thought it may just add too much bulk to my already curvy shape.

 The top was added by draping it directly to my body for a good fit. I don't have pictures, but I wore my bra and the shorts part, marked the centre front grainline on some swimsuit lining fabric and pinned this taught across my torso/chest lining the centre front with the centre of the shorts/bra. I then marked the side seams, neckline and waist I wanted on one half with water soluble pen. Once off the body I folded the piece down the centre front and cut out with added seam allowance. I made a paper pattern before going further, but this formed my lining and was used as the template for the main fabric. All edges have swimsuit elastic added to prevent any gaping and the straps/ties were made by sewing tubes from thin strips right sides together and then turned back through.

How best to photograph the behind with the dodgy leg dimples!!!

What about that fabric? I don't even know what drew me to this neon leopard, but I was in the queue in Fabricland and remembered I wanted some swimsuit fabric, so just grabbed it along with a nude coloured one for lining. I really like it actually and don't think it's bad for £6.99p/m.

Here some inside shots to show how the panels are joined. I have not included a gusset just yet and was wondering if it is even essential. I'm not sure what to do with that, so may leave it off and put one in the next one.

I feel that this was a great challenge and a really good start towards swimsuit perfection. I must admit that I do feel good in it as the fit is great! The problem I have always had with RTW is that I seem to be too long in the body for most costumes so largely resort to bikinis. I do not really feel comfortable in a 2 piece anymore though, so this offers a good balance of coverage without being too mumsy. This is definitely more of a wearable muslin, as there are tweaks to make such as include a built in support on the bust and add the gusset (as previously mentioned), but hopefully this will make it into a swimming pool sometime soon. I might just go and test it in the bath quickly first!


Katie said...

It's gorgeous! You look brilliant in it, very inspiring for my own suit. I really like the waist seam, the open back, and the idea of drafting the top and bottoms separately. I also struggle with torso length in RTW pieces (I'm not even tall!) so it's great to be able to draft one that's spot on. I can't wait to start on mine now.

marilla walker said...

Thanks! I'm only average height (5'5), so not overly tall, but RTW costumes always pull down at the front. Can't wait to see yours. The Papercuts Soma pattern is a good option too. I was tempted with it, but didn't know if I needed loads of elastic for the straps and was too impatient to source any.

helen siddon said...

You look absolutely fabulous, just need a beach, some sunnies and a cocktail and you would be a dead ringer for a young Elizabeth Taylor! I love that you've drafted this yourself, the back detail is genius! This might spur me on to make my Bombshell cossie in time for our annual trip to Anglesey!

Claire said...

What a great bathing suit! The open back detail was unexpected but looks awesome. I like your fabric choice too.
Funny you should post this today- I just finished sewing my own bathing suit!

marilla walker said...

Wow Helen, young Liz Taylor? I'll have that. I may read your comment whenever I need a pick me up ;-) defo going to try the top pattern you used Claire. Summer must be here, because my clothes are getting a lot smaller! X

Caroline said...

I love your swimsuit hack!
My favourite is the back view - simply gorgeous open back but with the security of the tie across (which you could un-do for sunbathing quite easily to avoid tan-lines.
The colour and print is super-fun and the shape of your swimsuit is really flattering on you.
Well done Marilla ; )

didyoumakethat said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful in every way. I love the fabric, I love that you basically designed your own swimsuit, I love that you took the plunge (pun intended) and were photographed in this and I LOVE the back shot, which feels like a beautifully real shot with your muscle tone all in view, not photoshopped out. You're my heroine!

Susie said...


Just came across your blog via a post on twitter and I wanted to say that you look absolutely STUNNING in that costume. It's an incredible costume too, the in your face print could have been a bit much but because your pattern looks so simple and elegant the overall effect is just chic, chic, chic. I'm so impressed. Honestly, if I saw that in the pages of Vogue, I wouldn't bat an eyelid.

I've never sewn stretch fabrics, and I guess I will bite the bullet and try but, this makes me really want to (I'm not going to though...still not quite ready).
So impressed.

And, I know what you mean about the photo taking - I'm not actually that content with my body but the process of putting photos of myself on my blog (which I haven't done loads of as I can't quite work out how to coordinate the shots if there isn't anyone around to help)is actually helping me see myself as I am and accept myself.

Sorry, rather a long comment.


Sara said...

Fabulous! I love the shape and it looks terrific on you! I'm very impressed that you draped the top part on yourself. Very cool!

Julie Norman said...

It looks lovely on you :)

JustSew Jenna said...

WOW! Amazing, I love it!! I especially love the back. You are an inspiration!!

Charity Shop Chic said...

Another fantastic draping project! You look great in this and I hope you get a lot of wear out of it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marilla, I tried to comment on this before but it doesn't seem to have come through. (just realised I didn't prove I wasn't a robot).

I am really impressed with your design. I was interested that you can't really find a RTW swimsuit to fit comfortably. I am relatively long in the torso and find most costumes, especially cheaper ones, very uncomfortable. So the idea of starting with the pants and working upwards is brilliant. It works really well at the front and the back. I also empathise with posing in sportswear on the internet. Our real woman reality is so different to the images we see in magazines etc. Thank you for taking the plunge....

Marilla Walker said...

Thanks for your kind words Kate and it's so annoying not to be able to find a decent fitting RTW swimsuit isn't it? Lucky we can make these things! I have been keenly watching your progress on the preen inspired printed running shorts (love that collection) definitely need more real woman images out there, although I think that a lot of bloggers are doing a great job of putting themselves out there. I look forward to seeing your finished sporty outfit!