Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Advanced Sewing Swim Lesson: Using non-swim patterns for swimwear

WOW! WOW! WOW! Today Janelle of Janelle Sews from our ambassador team is back and she's sharing a very awesome HUGE set of tutorials you can use to use non-swim patterns for making swimwear! (Be sure to follow her on Instagram for a chance to win a free pattern.) Take it away Janelle!

Hello again. Today I’m showing you how I took some patterns that weren’t designed as swimwear, and made swimwear from them. Just like usual, Project Run & Play led to an explosion of ideas! I had so many ideas I couldn't make them all so I had to narrow it down. I made heaps though, and I still might create some of my other ideas. Or make some of these again, using what I learnt this time around. I had so much fun creating these pieces.

First up is the Rimini Romper Pattern which I made into a swim top. I chose this pattern as it has a fitted top, so it’s relatively easy to turn into swimwear, and my daughter really liked it. (My other daughter! But both of these pieces turned out a touch bigger than planned. No idea why, I'm sure I measured. Possibly not well! But they might fit their intended recipient in Summer.) I decided to make it reversible, just because. The only change I made to the pattern pieces was to add 1.5” to the length, as that was what Call Ajaire did when she made it into a swim top here!

I sewed the centre front to side front and centre back to centre back and centre back to side back and repeated for the “lining”

I sewed front to back at the shoulder seams and repeated for the lining.

I sewed the “outer” to the “lining” at the neckline, then sewed elastic to the seam allowance. I calculated the elastic length as 80% of the length. Then I turned the whole thing in the right way

I sewed the armholes using the burrito method, which is tricky to photograph, but Jenn from Jennuine designs has made a video for this here. I sewed the seam then added elastic to the seam allowance. Then turned it in the right way.

I turned it right sides together so I have the outer front and outer back right sides together and lining front and lining back right sides together and sewed the side seams. (I should have left a 2” gap in the lining side seam which I didn’t originally, as I was using another method to make it reversible, but I did lots of unpicking and unpicked a gap here. I originally left a gap in the bottom seam, but it sat a bit loose and wavy at the bottom. So I unpicked it, created a gap in the side seam, and added elastic to the bottom seam.)

With the swim top still inside out, I pulled the bottom right sides together and matched the seams and centre front, creating a tube that I had to gently pull not as I was sewing, but in between sewing. It’s hard to explain, and even harder to photograph. But so worth it for a bottom hem that sits nicely and 2 swim tops in 1. Then I added elastic to that bottom seam. If there is interest, I could make another and capture it better with more photos or even a video???

Then I turned it in the right way through the gap I left in the side seam and my amazing Mum who taught me how to sew handstitched that together! I tend to avoid hand sewing at all costs, so this was a well timed visit. I also took all of these photos at her beautiful light filled home, thanks Mum!

A reversible swim top needed reversible swim bottoms to go with it, and the pieced Viridian Swimsuit bottoms have similar design lines to the Rimini Romper top, so that’s the pattern I used for the bottoms. (Which I believe is what inspired me to make the top in the first place.)

I sewed the centre front to the side front for both the "outer" and the "lining"

I sewed the crotch seams, leaving a gap in the "lining" crotch seam for turning

I sewed the side seams

I placed one inside the other and sewed ONE leg seam only. Then sewed elastic to the seam allowance. I only sewed the ends of one piece of leg elastic together and left the other one in a long piece.

I marked quarters on both sides of the other leg hole (and on the elastic) and turned it in the right way.

I folded both pieces under right sides together at the side seam and pulled it through and pinned the leg hole all the way around.

I sewed the leg hole seam, gently pulling the fabric through (not while sewing) being very careful not to catch any other fabric in the seam, then added elastic to the seam allowance.

I turned them in the right way.

I didn't take a photo of the next bit, oops, but I turned them inside out through the hole in the crotch, using my loop turner to keep the centre back of both layers together.

I sewed the waist seam, gently pulling the fabric between sewing like before, then sewed elastic to the seam allowance.

I turned it in the right way, then sewed the crotch seam closed. (Not shown in the photo!) I just zigzagged this on my machine as I avoid hand sewing!

Next I made the Blip Turtleneck into a rashie. This was super easy to make a rashie from because it is a fitted raglan style pattern to start with, so I didn’t need to make any changes. I used the mock neck piece which I thought looked exactly like a rashie neck and the hemmed sleeves. The only change I made was to add length to the sleeves as my daughter has long arms.

I thought I would make a pair of Azur swim bottoms to go with it. (5 years ago I won the Azur swimsuit pattern by commenting on a facebook post. Be sure to head over to my Instagram and maybe you could do the same!) The Azur pattern is for a one-piece, but it was an easy hack to make it into bottoms.

I made a mark on the 8B body piece where the pieced bottom pattern pieces came up to, then marked straight across from that point on both the 8A and 8B pattern pieces.

I sewed the bum panel and the back seam. In this photo I've also sewn the front and side pieces together, but ended up unpicking them.

I sewed the crotch seam together, leaving a gap for turning in one layer. (I made 2 layers, as I thought the bum panel seam might be uncomfortable with only 1 layer.) I sewed around the legholes. Then I sewed the "side" seams outer to outer and lining to lining.

I didn't take any photos of the next bit sorry, but I cut a waistband the width of the pieced bum panel piece and the length of the Viridian Swimsuit waistband piece and sewed that on.

I really like these as bottoms, so I think I'll make another pair. Next time I might use the method for the reversible Viridian bottoms above for the leg holes. I also might adjust the elastic and waistband piece so it fits a little better. I might also go 1 size up, as these fit, but not for long, and it's Winter here. As a first go I absolutely love them, but I think a few minor adjustments would make the next pair even better.

Next up is this ruffle set. I made the Viridian Swimsuit top by following the instructions, so no unpicking was required!!!

The Viridian Swimsuit has a bikini bottom with ruffles, but I was inspired by the Tintin Shorts to make more of a shortie bottom. The Tintin Shorts has pattern pieces for both wovens and knits. The knits pieces are for a looser fitting pair of shorts, rather than a swim bottom, so I used the design element that I loved from the Tintin shorts (that front ruffle) and adjusted the PB Shorties.

I created a new seam on the front piece, with the highlighter to remind me to add seam allowance. I added 1cm seam allowance, so the ruffles would be the same width as on the top. I overlapped the front and back pieces at the side seam to remove the side seam. I smoothed out that curve when cutting. I started with the pattern pieces I used for the pink sparkle set in my previous post, which had 1.5cm removed from the waist. For the ruffles I used the width of the Viridian ruffle piece, and the length was twice the height of the PB shorties. For the waistband I used the width of the Viridian waistband piece, and the length was the length of the elastic plus 3cm.

Here are all my pieces cut out. I sewed the gusset as per the pattern.

I gathered the ruffle pieces, pinned and sewed them to the front piece at the new side seam.

I sewed the new side seam, topstitched just like I did on the top, and hemmed. Then I sewed the waistband on, which I didn’t photograph. If I made these again, I would try to enclose the ruffle seam by sewing it just to the outer layer. Other than that I love how this set turned out.

I finished the above and had time to spare, so I decided to make some more! This Azur Reversible Swimsuit I made as per the instructions. So again, no unpicking! I've only made the halter neck view previously, which I love, and I love this option too. I realise this has nothing to do with creating swimwear from non swim patterns, but I snuck a couple of photos in anyway!

The Banana Boat Tee is again a slim fitting top, so it's perfect to convert to a rashie within minimal changes.

I sized down (mainly coz that's the size I've made previously, so I had the pattern pieces already cut out.) I added ¼" to the front piece just at the shoulder seam, and ¼" the whole way along the back neckline.

I then sewed the pattern mostly as per the instructions. I made a neckband instead of a facing. I hemmed the sleeve instead of the cuff. I omitted the shoulder tabs. I love it and think it works well as a rashie. Next time I would make the neckband a tiny bit smaller

These are the 5th pair of PB Shorties I've made, but the first pair I've actually sewn without making changes to the pattern!

I had time to squeeze in one more sew, so I made a bikini top from Abby's Watercolor Dress.

I added 3 ½" at the bottom of all 3 pieces. I curved the neckline of the lining piece, which will be my front neckline.

I only wanted to use the middle piece at the upper back, so I created a new armscye on the front from where they would meet at the shoulder to the side seam.

I marked 1cm in from the side seam allowance and drew a line across from there on the side piece.

I also added ½" to the side piece at the centre back and annotated the pattern pieces to remind me to cut on the fold. Then I cut these pieces from 1 layer only.

I basted these pieces together and tried it on for size.

I cut 2" off the bottom of all pieces and added a slight curve to the back piece. Then I cut another layer of all pieces for the lining.

(Pretend I only sewed 1 shoulder seam here and didn't need to unpick it!) I sewed one shoulder seam and both side seams on the outer and the lining.

I sewed outer and lining together at the neckline, snipping the point. Then sewed elastic to the seam allowance. (In the pretend I didn't need to unpick version, 1 shoulder seam is open)

I sewed all around the back/armscye seam and added elastic to the seam allowance. (The no unpicking version has 1 shoulder seam open still.)

I turned it in the right way through the shoulder that I'd unpicked/left open! I pinned the shoulder seam together for hand sewing. (Thanks again Mum!) I think I should have been able to pull this through and sew it on the machine, but I didn't think of this until after I'd sewn the waist.

I basted the Y-piece to the back piece at the waist, matching centres. Then I sewed elastic to the wrong side. Then I folded the elastic over and topstitched. I didn't topstitch over the Y-piece. I started and ended behind there, just to make it look cool!

The finished top has so much potential. I'm disappointed I didn't quite reach it. The neckline and back/armscye elastic needs to be tighter. I should probably have measured. The whole top possibly also needs to be smaller for it to fit better. The Y-piece also pulls upwards. This could be fixed by inserting it at the top of the back piece. Or stitching it down. I'm going to think about it for a bit before I decide the best way to fix it. It's certainly wearable as is, but could be better.

At times while creating all of these pieces I didn't feel like I deserved to be blogging during advanced swim lessons week. But sometimes sewing involves unpicking, particularly when not following pattern instructions. All of the unpicking was worth it as I love all of these creations. I learnt alot and have been inspired to keep creating. And sometimes things turned out perfectly on the first go!

Now you see why we were saying WOW!?!?!? Thank you SO much to Janelle! Your swimwear sewing talents are so inspiring!!!

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