Rambling ahead! If you don't care about bikini sewing, please do scroll down to the bottom where I ask my question of the day and sign off as usual, but if you want details, I've got 'em...
Y'all, when I started this bikini project, I had never sewn anything like this before, like ever! So, first things first, thank goodness for all the amazing people I have met online and who helped me with this project, including our pattern designer, Heather Lou, for reading my mind and providing long-line pattern pieces for the Sophie mere moments after I had thought "wouldn't this be nice in a long-line?" and especially Erin, who stocks literally the perfect kit for swimwear in her etsy store and even helped me pick out underwires based on my pattern of choice and size. She is seriously the nicest and so talented--her lingerie and swimwear is absolutely amazing and I hope she doesn't mind me singing her praises! She also helped be out when I finished my bikini top and haaated ittttt... but more on that in a bit. (Suspense!)
I have this perfect bikini. It's leopard print, with a bra top and low-waisted bottoms and gold chains on the straps. It's Juicy Couture (like, one of my favorite rtw brands, no joke) and it makes me feel amaaazing. When the Sophie dropped--a pattern for a style of suit I already knew I loved in leopard!--I immediately thought how I could make a whole flotilla of my own high waisted, long line, bombshell retro bikini like the gorgeous ones from kingdom and state. So glam.
Despite having never made a swimsuit or bra of any type before, I decided I had to try the pattern so I purchased the pdf and an ultimate swimwear kit from Erin's Emerald Studio and dove in. I followed the directions to the letter and oh my gosh, y'all, I made a bikini!!! It was, well, I won't say "easy," but it was totally doable.
I tried it on. I looked at myself in the mirror. I did not like my bikini. Now, I will say this: I like it on, like, everyone who has made them, so I think it's just me. It's not Sophie. I love the bottoms--they fit like a glove (in fact, I think I'll size up from a 6 to an 8 next time--you can see it cutting into my butt a bit). I was very proud to have made a bra top. I just didn't like it. I have a small chest (27" underbust, 32/33" full bust), so I made the 0 band with the 5 cup as instructed, and it technically "fit," but I just don't think that a full-coverage shape works well on my bust.
With my fleet of bikinis in mind, I decided to persevere. I posted a comparison picture of my Sophie top and my leopard top in the Bra Making facebook group asking what to do to make the Sophie more like the leopard. Erin helped me out (once again) and I decided to clone the cups of my leopard bra top and insert them into the body of the Sophie, since they were about the same size and the underwire shapes seemed to match. I used the press n' seal method for my pattern pieces--here you can see the three pieces of the Sophie cup compared to the three pieces of the leopard cup. I don't really understand what these differences mean since I have no experience with bra sewing, they're totally different, right?
Back to the sewing machine! I made a few small changes in addition to the pattern--I used the swim foam that came in my bundle from Erin instead of random bra foam I had from a bra kit I haven't gotten around to yet. I also just sewed the cb seam shut. I can slip this over my head--not sure if I would recommend it but it's possible (this is how the kingdom and state bikinis get on and off).
At this point, I'm pretty thrilled with my newly modified pattern pieces! I'm also pretty excited about this bikini in particular. Is it perfect? No--but it's better than my first version construction-wise and I know that the next one will be even better! With a little bit of tweaking, I know this can be, like, the best bikini ever. I definitely want to figure out a cuter center back closure, hopefully something like this target bikini. I also want to go back to using the stiffer, thicker bra foam. You can see my cups flare out a bit at the top in the top/side photo above, and I didn't have that effect in the more stable bra foam.
And as for my vast fleet of long-line, high-waisted, almost-a-one-piece bikinis? I have ordered some swatches from spoonflower (I heard their poly/spandex doesn't have the same fade issues, we'll see) in palm fronds and in botanical lemons, so... hopefully by next summer I'll be swimming in Sophies! ;)
Do you have any experience with Spoonflower's poly spandex? Do you have a suggestion on how to make that double-strap back on the target bra? (I'm thinking if, before I sew the lining to the swim fabric, I sew a u-shape at the CB, swim fabric and lining right sides together, and trim and turn it right sides out, then treat it as one piece...??? If anyone can muddle through that description!) Do you think long-line, high-waisted bikinis are a fad or a classic?
There's still a couple of days to get your Hot Hot Heat Social Sew project in, bikini or otherwise! I'd love to have you join...
ps: phew, sorry for the long, long post... and excuse the tan lines and bruise!
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