Friday, June 24, 2022

Swim Lessons: Beginner Week - Sewing Swim for the 1st Time

 Today we are blessed to have Whitney from Sew Whit Designs here sharing her advice for anyone sewing swim for their 1st time.  Whitney is an AMAZING swimwear sewist, so you can depend on any and all advice she shares.  Be sure to follow her on Instagram for your chance to win a swimwear sewing pattern from the shop!

I’ve been a sewing swimsuits since I was in Highschool 20+ years ago. Back in the day there wasn’t a lot of info on how to sew your own swimsuits. I was stuck with one or two paper patterns and whatever fabric I could find at the local fabric store which was usually 3 or 4 prints. Now there are hundreds of digital patterns, oodles of fabrics, and lots of info available online.

If you are new at sewing swimwear start here. This is a post I did a few months ago for Raspberry Creek Fabrics. I compiled all my most Frequently Asked questions and did a little breakdown of different fabric, elastic, notion types. I was a labor of love and worth the read.

Usually, you know where you want to end up, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Here is my best recommendation for true beginners. Start with a Rash guard and some Euro Shorties. This type of swim wear will allow you to practice your skill on the swim fabric, which does have a bit of a learning curve, without overwhelming you with new technique. It's pretty similar to sewing any other knit fabric but sewing with swim fabric can be tricky because it can be slippery.

With these types of patterns there isn’t any elastic involved (except for the waistband) there isn’t extra support/cups that need to be added and fitting is as easy as any knit shirt or shorts. Rash guards and shorties are the perfect way to dip your toes into sewing swim.

I was excited to sew up the Reef Beach Rashie and the PB Swim Shorties from the Project Jet set collection for this post!

I’d already sewn up the Rashie for the Project Jet set tour in regular jersey. When I initially made it, I sized up because I wasn’t sure how much negative ease was included. But as a rash guard you want the top to fit a little more snug so it’s not baggy in the water. So, recommend choosing size according to the child's measurements.

We chose just the basic design for these. If you're a true beginner, start with that view on the pattern. But the Rashie Pattern is awesome because it does have a color blocked view and an option for a zipper! So when you're ready to up your game a little bit choose one of those fun options.

I used my go to Raspberry Creek Swim fabric solids for the top. I went with classic black and white. I debated on adding a shark with some heat transfer vinyl but decided to leave it plain because it will coordinate with more swim bottoms.

One tip I have for sewing with swim fabric is a regular old washable glue stick. It's helpful to "glue" the lining to the fabric to keep it from slipping as easily as you sew. The pattern instructs you to add the lining to the wrong side of your front and treat it as one piece.

I typically line the fronts of my rash guards only. The sleeves and the back don't need lining. For the bottoms however, I line both the front and back with swim lining and I lined the gusset with swim fabric for a little more coverage.

Another tip I have is for hems, and that is to baste your hem at the Hem allowance. Sew a long basting stitch over both the fabric and lining where you plan on FOLDING your hem. I basted the rash guard, and the shorts hem this way.

After basting your hem at the hem allowance line, you can turn up your hem. If I'm sewing anything but swim, I press the hem up. (You can press swim fabric, on a low setting, but it doesn't hold the crease well.) At this point you can easily see where you are supposed to fold the hem up. You can glue or pin it if you need to before you sew the hem. Or if you are confident, you can use your stitching line to fold and stitch as you go along.

I hemmed with my cover stitch. And it was so easy to know where to fold because of the basting stitch. Then remove your basting stitch. If you don't have a coverstitch machine no worries, you can use a twin needle on your sewing machine or a zig zag stitch. But work awesome too. For info on needles and stitch types for swim refer to my FAQs post.

For the Shorties I also went with the basic option. I can't wait to make the rouched side version for my daughter but today we are talking beginner options. This is the long version of the Shorties. The shark fabric was a custom print from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. Hopefully, the designer will add it to their Designer Studios soon.

My boys are now working on darkening their farmer's tan. And living in their new suits.

Stay tuned all month for great tips and inspiration on sewing all the swim! Thanks for having me Project Run & Play!

And for a bit more fun head over to my Instagram account where I get to give away a Free Swim Pattern from the Project Run & Play Shop! Keep your eyes open for that giveaway!

Thank you so much Whitney!  We definitely added some tips to our swimwear sewing arsenal too.  
Remember, all swim patterns in the shop are 20% off!!!  

Use the code swim20 at checkout.  Code expires July 1st, 2022.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Swim Lessons: Beginner Week - Other Supplies

 Now that we'd learned about swimwear patterns and swimwear fabric, it's time to discuss what else is needed to sew swimwear.  The good news is that very little else is needed!


Swimwear elastic - this is a must!  Do not substitute non swimwear elastic as it just won't hold up to swimming conditions and does not have the same stretch properties.  We also don't recommend clear plastic elastic because in our experience, it will decay in heat or chlorine.  Swimwear elastic comes in various widths, 3/8" and 1/4" is what most patterns recommend.

Swim lining - many patterns call for lining.  We recommend you always include it when the pattern requires it as omitting it will affect the fit of the finished suit.  Usually swim lining comes in nude/tan, white and black.


Stretch needles are a MUST when sewing swimwear!  If you are seeing skipped stitches, you probably aren't using the correct needle!  In a pinch, you may be able to get by using ballpoint needles, but we 100% recommend stretch needles when sewing with swimwear fabric.



Bra cups - older girls may prefer bra cups in their swimsuits.  Be sure to get ones designed especially for swimwear sewing as other kinds may dry at different rates than the swimwear fabric.  Bra cups can be purchased in nude/tan, white and black.  A really great source is The Fabric Fairy - they have swim bra cups in specific sizes.  Pro tip - if you are unable to find bra cups, or don't have time to wait for an order, head to your nearest thrift store to purchase swimwear there.  Then you can harvest the bra cups from in them and add them to the suit you are making!


If you are sewing board shorts, you may wish to use stretch mesh for the hidden bottoms inside.  

Machines:

Big question: do you need a serger to sew swimwear: NO!!!  Very many of us have sewn swimwear on a regular sewing machine using stretch stitches, zigzag stitches, and double needles!  The key is to use really good patterns, fabric and supplies to make your experience as smooth as possible.

We're excited to let you know that now that you've completed your pre-swim sewing lessons, tomorrow you get to get in the water!!

All swim patterns in the shop are 20% off!!!  

Use the code swim20 at checkout.  Code expires July 1st, 2022.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Swim Lessons: Beginner Week - Swimwear Fabrics

 If there's one thing that can make or break sewing swimwear, it's the fabric.  It is crucial to use good quality fabric.  Today we're going to share some of our favorite places to get very good quality fabric for sewing swimwear.  

When buying swim fabrics, look for nylon spandex, poly spandex, tricot, or athletic fabric.  Also, swim lining is very important, and sold under that name.

Buying fabric online (without being able to feel the quality) can be a tricky thing, so it's especially important to buy from a source that stocks high quality.  We asked the designers in our community for their favorite places to shop for swim fabrics.  We can confidently recommend the shops we are sharing here today, as we have used and loved their swimwear fabrics over and over again.

Boardshorts fabric


Knitfabric.com stocks a great variety of board shorts fabric.  The ones that we've used are slightly sueded on one side, which makes them MUCH easier to sew with.  The prints are adorable, and the solids are so good too.


We absolutely adore the board shorts fabric from Raspberry Creek Fabrics!  It is super good quality, great to work with, and lasts through many, many wearings.


The Fabric Fairy has a huge selection of board shorts fabrics.  They divide it up into prints and solids, and the variety of both is astounding!

Swimwear fabric


Does it get any cuter than the swimwear fabrics at Raspberry Creek Fabrics?  We don't think so.  Plus, if somehow you can't find the fabric that's perfect for your project, you can design your own!!!



CaliFabrics has a wide variety of fun swim fabrics.  Look for nylon spandex or poly spandex and usually a recommendation for swimwear in the description.  All these fabrics are also deadstock fabrics, so you get to feel great about that too!  We can recommend their solids very confidently too.

Knitfabric.com is a swimwear source we turn to over and over again.  They have cute prints and amazing quality solids in every shade of the rainbow.  You can also find some textured swim fabrics like seersucker.  Plus many of them have UV 50+ protection.

Carriage House Printery (choose one of their designs or print your own)


The Fabric Fairy (hello, hugest selection of solids plus prints galore)


Mimi's Custom Fabric (save us some of the rooster fabric, please)


Spunkin Honeyhead (the only glitter swim fabric we've seen + more)

So Sew English (textured, glitter, ombre, and more!)


Stylemaker Fabrics (designer swim fabrics in solids and some large scale prints)

Purple Seamstress Fabric (tons of prints including Star Wars!)


Mood Fabrics (exactly what you would expect from the one and only MOOD!)


Spoonflower (most designs can be printed on their sport lycra)


ISEE Fabrics (ribbed swim + more in gorgeous earth tones)



Little Cocalico (choose one of their designs or create your own)

Mily Mae Fabrics (tons of options and crinkle texture we've not seen elsewhere)

Boho Fabrics (THE prettiest florals)


Surge Fabric Shop (fun and also offers bundles with smaller coordinating cuts)

Amelia Lane Designs (beautiful solids and fun prints)

The Fab Clique Fabric Shoppe (tons of solids and great bundles too)

The Styled Magnolia (fabrics that hold up to chlorine very well)


Europe: 

Minerva (located in the UK, but ships everywhere)



Canada:

Shear Perfection (swim and board shorts fabrics)




Blackbird Fabrics (most are recycled fabrics)

Also check out this article by Helen's Closet Patterns on swimwear fabrics in Canada and beyond.


Australia:



Also check out this article by Megan Nielsen on swimwear fabrics in Australia and beyond.


Wow!  What a great list of places to buy swimwear fabric.  Have we missed any?  

All swim patterns in the shop are 20% off!!!  

Use the code swim20 at checkout.  Code expires July 1st, 2022.