Growing up on the east coast, summer vacations often involved trips to the ocean, so I grew up a water baby. These days, I’m not the greatest technical swimmer, but I still love to be in the water. In Seattle, I don’t get the chance to swim outdoors very much, but I’m definitely looking for more opportunities now that I have I made the Closet Case Patterns Sophie Swimsuit!
The fabric came from a kit that I bought from Closet Case Patterns when the Sophie Swimsuit first came out. It’s some sort of swim lycra that feels really good to the touch. The lining fabric is especially soft. The kit came with all of the materials needed to make this swimsuit: the striped fabric, the solid color fabric, the lining, foam for the cups, elastic, and hooks (for the skinny straps and top for the two-piece version).
Size traced and sewn
Graded from a size 10 at the bust to a size 12 at the waist to a size 14 at the hip.
- Added 3″ to the length.
- Cut the lining pieces as one to avoid bulky seams.
Swimwear was something I hadn’t tackled yet. I had sewn bras and activewear before (and recently), so many of the techniques used felt familiar. One thing that was very helpful was my walking foot. I used it a lot. It really helped keep the fabric from stretching, especially since the stripes would have made it look really obvious if it was stretched.
What was completely new to me was sewing foam cups and I had a lot of trouble with that. For some reason—and I still have no idea why— I kept getting skipped stitches when trying to fuse the foam cups together with a zig zag stitch. I did my usual troubleshooting: brand new stretch and ballpoint needles, rethreading the machine, and a wider and longer zig zag stitch. None of that fixed the problem. In the end, I gave up trying to make it perfect. I decided to cover all of the seams with pieces of the swim lining folded into thirds so at least you can’t see the wonky stitches.
I’m 5″10″ and the Sophie Swimsuit is drafted for someone who is 5′ 6″, so adding length seemed like something I would have to do. The fit of the cups can be an issue as well, so I decided to make a muslin. Based on the fit of the muslin, I decided to add 3″ to the length to get more butt coverage. In hindsight, I should have also attached the straps and then tested the fit for a more accurate measurement.
Unfortunately, 3″ was about 1 1/2″ to 2″ too much length to add. If I had picked a solid color or even a floral pattern for the center panels, I think it would be less of an issue. Since the center panels are stripes, it feels pretty noticeable that I added too much length. I found that how much lift I had in the cups really effected how much extra fabric pooled at my abdomen. After trying the skinny elastic straps, I opted for the halter ties for more lift. That helped with the length issue a bit and also make my boobs look extra perky!
As for the cups, they fit perfectly! From what I have heard about swimwear fitting, that can be most challenging part. The bum coverage also turned out to be great in the end, which is why I added the length in the first place. I just think I still could have achieved that with a bit less length added.
I love to sew, so every project is exciting to me, but I think I was more obsessed with this project than usual. I could not wait to finish it and was endlessly stalking other people’s makes of this. It was probably because this was such a fun and challenging project for me. There were lots of opportunities for problem solving. While I was disappointed that I had overestimated the length so much, I had to keep reminding myself that I had sewn a swimsuit and that in and of itself is an accomplishment!
Most importantly, the Sophie Swimsuit is the most comfortable I have ever felt in a bathing suit. I usually hate wearing swimsuits that show my bum in any way. So much so, that I have taken to wearing either bottoms with a skirt or board shorts. Sewing my own made me realize that the reason I don’t usually like most swimsuits is because they don’t fit right. It also didn’t fall apart when I swam in it, so I consider this make a huge success!
Thank you to Chris and Paula Culver for inviting Matt and I over on a warm Seattle day to swim in their pool and do a photo shoot. The photos turned out so much better than they would have if we had just taken them in my yard as usual. Also thank you to Chris for acting as our photo assistant and holding the patio umbrella we used as our makeshift scrim! Now when can we come back over and swim some more?