Against the Tide: Life’s no beach in 2020

IMG_9136This is probably my 4th attempt at going back to my blog this year. It’s obviously been awhile.

The last thing I wrote about was how much I love to travel and I was going to match up my sewing projects with the travel plans. As you may have guessed, the Covid-19 pandemic ended up putting an end to any of my travel plans and also caused some issues in my mental health. But things are not all bad. Through all the difficulties and adjustments of 2020, I still had my trusty sewing machine. And loads and loads of fabric.

Despite my silence, I have been pretty busy this year. My social life has become obliterated, but I did really get into my sewing again. I’m not sure why I had such a hard time going to back to this blog, it’s almost like I couldn’t find the right words in a world that has just seemed to get progressively more difficult. Maybe I thought what I had to say was so trivial – who care about some dress I constructed when people are suffering? Who wants to hear me moan about not going to Florida when people have lost jobs, livelihoods and loved ones.

Even though my idea for what I wanted to write about in 2020 didn’t work out, I still want to write about my projects. Even though I didn’t go to Florida with my partner’s family, I was able to complete a Pink Flamingo bathing suit before the summer.

The pattern I chose was pretty confusing at first. I had started a suit using a swimsuit fabric I happen to have a surplus of, just to make sure I could do it right. I’m glad I did, because despite having measuring everything multiple times, the top ended up way too small. I tried on the bottoms and realized that the pattern must not have include seam allowances, but I was so confused as why I could not find any mention of it. I retraced the pattern, adding in a seam allowance I thought would be appropriate, and that seemed solve the main issue.

The back did not fit all the way around me, therefore this version had to be scrapped. I did not realize I needed to add seam allowances to this pattern.

The bikini top had a really cool front twist, but this ended up being the toughest part. The directions were not obvious to me how slip the front ends into the initial loop. There was an online tutorial, but the description still confused me.

Creating the twist was the only real complicated part of this swimsuit

It finally took my significant other reading them to help me understand that:
1. I was supposed to construct both sides of the swim top up to a certain step.
2. When sewing the second side of the top you are basically sewing the same way as the first side, but you are putting it through the hole of the first side first.

Sewing the second side of the top, through the hole of the first top, making the signature twist.

I’m not sure why this was not obvious to me at first, but luckily I had worked this out before I attempted my second top. I ended up adding cups to the mesh, since I thought it would have a better structure on my body. Making sure these cups were even was not the easiest exercise, but I think I did okay. Because my first top attempt was such a disaster with the back hook not making it around my back, I added some length to the second attempt to make sure I had enough to make the loop and hook.

The bottoms were definitely the easiest part. I had some experience sewing elastic into a swim suit before so this part wasn’t confusing. And I knew enough to cut the elastic lengths based on my measurements and stretch it as I sewed.

All in all, the top just fits okay but the bottoms fit very well. The project didn’t take too long – I sewed it up just in time for me not to go to Florida in April. It was too cold at that time in Massachusetts to try it out, so I improvised a bit.

Florida Flamingos! This would have been so cool to show off down there. I do like this print a lot.

Despite this room getting a lot of sun, I was not able to get a sun tan. I’m paler than ever here, being confined to my apartment for months. Luckily I was able to test this out over the summer, swimming in a lake. The top actually felt a bit loose, but I haven’t decided if I want to adjust the hook loop in the back so that it sits tighter. This may be a job for 2021.

I will try to catch up this blog with my projects of 2020. I’m hoping that despite the obvious challenges, this can be a great way to look back at the year and reflect on more than just the virus. I’ll be back soon.

Bra cups

One Suit, Two Cups

Pattern: McCalls 3566

McCalls 3566 Suit YourselfWell I thought this post would be about my issues with putting bra cups into a bathing suit for the first time, but that was actually one of the easiest parts of this pattern.  Since my first attempt at a bathing suit was so successful, I thought I would try a different style from this pattern.  I thought the triangle top would be a good one to try, but I felt it would need some cups…for shape.

Bra cups

Unfortunately, this pattern did not provide an easy adjustment to add these.  There was an option to add foam, but that is not something I have seen or could find online.  The directions called for sewing each piece of lining to each of the separate front pieces.  This was not an option since I needed to sew the cups between the material and the lining.  Sewing the two lining pieces together was a bit difficult, but I got it to work.  And with a few stitches, I secured the cups in the right spot under the lining, and being careful not to let the stitches show on the front side.  I could use that front seam to my advantage – no stitches showed and the cups were securely in place.

Now the real hard part of this suit was the straps and that darn drawstring.  I spent hours flipping those inside out.  My fingertips were completely red Continue reading “One Suit, Two Cups”

In the Summertime…

Pattern: McCalls 3566Cutting out the bathing suit

Nothing says summer like outdoor BBQs, Mungo Jerry, and new swimsuits!  I have plans to make two, and I even cut out two separate suits, but I only had time to make one this past weekend.  What I love is that you don’t need a lot of material to make a bikini, so I got these less-than-a-yard “scraps” at Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA.  The pattern is out-of-print I believe, but I had a hard time finding one that I liked.  It’s from the late 90’s, but I think the suits featured here are still in fashion.  I decided to make top C and bottom G.

McCalls 3566 Suit Yourself







I want to start off by saying I felt like I was cheating a bit, because I actually used my mom’s brand new electronic sewing machine – “Mega-Weapon.”  (Yes this is my name for the machine, my mother would never call her machine Mega-Weapon).  She had recommended I use a stretch stitch for these, and since I didn’t have time to figure it out on my machine, she told me to use hers.  This thing is insane – you change stitches with the touch of a button and it cuts, pulls in the bobbin, and does the back stitch all automatically as well.  I don’t know, it was cool to use it, but I think I actually prefer Continue reading “In the Summertime…”