Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend = Summer = Swimsuits!

I've done it again!  Swimsuits!  Woo Hoo!!  This time it was racing style suits for my daughters.  I used Jalie 3134:
Jalie 3134
Here are the final versions:

and from the back:
Back view.  Note: I omitted the CB seam on the blue suit
I simplified the pattern by not using contrast fabric and not even cutting out the pieces for the contrast.  I traced the pattern pieces onto tracing paper, then overlapped them 1/4" (to eliminate the seam allowances) taped them together and cut out the front fabric and lining in one piece.  See:

Let me do a tiny bit of complaining here.  Most girls under ~10 years old or so are basically rectangles.  No chest, no waist, and only a small increase in size at the hip.  The girls' size ranges on the pattern assume a waist smaller than the chest and a hip slightly larger than the chest.  That's not a rectangle.  According to their measurements both girls (both rectangles) crossed more than one pattern size.  This was especially true for my eldest.  Let's see what I did in order to cut a pattern to fit her.

Chest: size J (25")
Waist: size N
Hip: size J/K
Torso Length (Girth): size L

I cut a size J at the chest, graded out (ie made a straight line like the side of a rectangle) to an N at the waist, and back in (aka a straight line) to a J/K at the hip.  Because she has a long torso, I lengthened the straps and the distance between the underarm and hip to correspond to a size L.  Confused?  Yes, it was an exercise to keep track of my length and width changes.  

Trace the pattern pieces and laying them out first was a great idea.  I will do this each time I trace a new size.  By doing that, I was able to make sure that my pieces would fit together and give me a chance to make sure that I had lengthened and widened where necessary before cutting the fabric.

Cutting a pattern for my youngest was easier.  She was almost a perfect size H (chest = 23") except for the torso length where she was a size J.  So I only had to worry about lengthening the straps and torso (both front and back) to be a size J length while keeping the size H width.  

As with all Jalie patterns I have made, the instructions are excellent.  There is a center back seam on the suit which I omitted when making the blue suit.  I didn't see the need to have it and my youngest is notoriously fussy about seams/tags/etc being uncomfortable (whine whine whine) so I cut the back on the fold (while remembering (yay!) to omit the seam allowance).

The assembly of the suit was very straight forward.  I basted the side seams with a zig-zag stitch and had each girl try it on before serging.  In both cases, I needed to take in the sides starting from the back band up to the underarm:

Taking in the side seams at the back band up to the underarm

Once the suit was snug, I serged the side seams.  There is actually very little serging that can be done on this suit.  I only used mine on the crotch and side seams, and on attaching the elastic to the bottom of the back band.  All other elastic was sewn on with a zig-zag stitch then turned to the inside and top-sitched with a twin stretch needle.  So there's no obligation to have a serger!

All 3 of us are THRILLED with these suits.  They can't wait to wear them swimming, and I am thrilled that they came out so well and are so cheap to make!!  They swim on a local swim team and I literally spent $68 per suit (gulp) for their swim team suits.  To make both of these cost me about $25 total.  AND I have lots of fabric left over and I can use the pattern again and again.  

I only had one minor panic as I was finishing the blue suit.  I was coming close to the end of my spool of turquoise thread and was desperate to finish before it ran naturally...I started sewing faster! (so silly)  Thankfully, I finished the last stitches and had this left:

So in conclusion: Sew it.  Love it. Swim in it!

Oh--in other news:  In case you didn't know, Katie who blogs at and Leila of Three Dresses Project are having a Summer Swimalong!  Check it out:

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