6.02.2015

the simplest of swimsuits

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Well friends, here we are, another summer of sewing and blogging and once again I can't believe that I'm actually posting photos of myself in a bikini on the internet.  *Sighs* oh well... (shoves her shame into the same box where she keeps her pride and stuffs it back under the bed) here we go! 

As most of you probably know, I love the beach. It's been well documented.  I believe there are scientific studies that show a shocking increase in 'good mood vibes' and 'general sense of well-being' as a result of spending a day on the beach.  Those studies were conducted by me. On myself. So... you know... cold hard fact, people.  But seriously, I can't think of another environment that makes me feel quite at home in my own skin. Plop me in the sand near a large body of water (preferably the salty variety) with a good book (preferably the mystery variety) and I'm one happy little mermaid.  In fact, these photos were taken after spending just such a day, which explains my rather salty appearance and my whole "oh hey camera, let's take some nearly-naked-photos" confidence.

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A few weeks back I woke up one Sunday morning, saw the sun shining, and knew it was gonna be a perfect beach day.  I also decided right then and there, as I was laying in bed watching the sun stream through the curtains, that I needed a new swimsuit. Now.  So I popped out of bed and went straight to my sewing room and began making this little guy.  A few hours later my brand new swimsuit was on my body and I was on my way to the beach! Talk about a fast make!

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If you're looking to make your own bikini, there are options out there for patterns, but quite frankly, I just wanted something classic and simple.  Call me crazy, but I kind of think string bikinis are the perfect bikini. They're adjustable so they fit a wide variety of shapes without digging into your skin, they give good tan-lines, they're sporty and sexy at the same time, and (remember, I spend a lot of time on the beach and see a lot of bodies in swimsuits) they look good on everyone.  Sure, they're not the most supportive of swim tops - they're not going to hold you in, or push you up, or pad you out - and they certainly don't offer a lot of coverage or modesty, but that's kind of the point. They simply cover what needs to be covered and leave your body to do it's thing.  And bodies are beautiful. So there.

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String bikinis are also one of the most simple, expedient swimwear designs ever created.  We're literally talking about two triangles attached to strings.  Simple enough that I didn't feel the need to go hunting for a suitable pattern.  Instead I traced a RTW string bikini top I already owned and started from there.  The cups are actually a sort of curved triangle, with more roundness at the center front than the sides. My RTW bikini is nice because all the seams are enclosed within the lining - I think it's technically reversible, although I've never worn it as such.  I really wanted to figure out how to do the same for my bikini top because it makes for a very comfortable design.  It was a bit like a puzzle figuring it out, but with my usual finagling and manhandling I was able to pull it off.  One thing I did was to cut the lining 1/8" smaller all around so that all the seams rolled to the underside.  And if/when I make one of these again I think I will add some swimwear elastic to the front and sides - not pulling it taught, but just to help prevent any gaping when wearing.

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The suit bottoms are from Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit bikini.  I was pretty happy with the fit of these when I made that bikini last year, but I wanted to make a few tweaks to suit my personal tastes. I'm realizing that I'm just not a full coverage bottom kind of gal.  Not that I think I've got a great bottom, I just don't like the feeling of them when they get wet.  A lot of wet fabric hanging around my bum makes me feel like I'm wearing a diaper. There. I said it.  (The exception to this might be the Bombshell swimsuit, which, while a lot of fabric, I actually think is a very flattering cut, but for me that suit is more of a poolside suit than a beach suit).  So for these bottoms I shaved about a half inch off of the leg, tapering to nothing at the crotch.  This makes them a little more leg-lengthening, as well as pretty darn cheeky.  I'm really happy with these bottoms, but I'm wondering if I could go even narrower at the hip/side seam next time.

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This fabric is some navy matte milliskin I bought when I made my Bombshell swimsuit.  It's been a while but I think it's from Spandex World...? It's pretty hefty for a swimwear fabric, and I probably could have skipped the lining altogether, but you never know with homemade swimsuits! I figure it's always better to air on the side of caution.  No one wants to come striding out of the waves, channeling her best Ursula Andress circa Dr. No, only to find that her bikini turned translucent on her when wet! Both the suit top and bottom are lined with a nude swim lining from Bramaker's supply, which is also where I got my rubber swim elastic.  All this stuff has been in my stash for a few years, so this was a virtually free make as well!

All in all, construction on this was pretty straightforward.  I switched between my serger and a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine for the bikini top, and my bottoms were done completely with a zig-zag stitch.  As I said, I threw this whole thing together in a morning and still had time to spend the afternoon at the beach. Since then it's been my go-to suit.  I have lots of extra bits of swimsuit fabric lying around from past makes, and since this uses such little fabric I think I'll make a bunch of these this summer to rotate out.

And now... time for some lady bodybuilder poses!!!

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YOUR WELCOME!!!

And no, this was not a deserted beach...

xx


43 comments:

  1. I love your blog, but never comment, so.... hi! Nothing like a sexy bikini to bring out the lurkers, huh? I love string bikinis, too, and have been trying to make one. How did you make the strings? My first try was to just zigzag over a strip with the edges folded in, and it didn't look great. Thanks! Great job!

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  2. SO STRONG!! You look gorgeous in this suit. I was a longtime adherent to triangle string bikinis but I had the toughest time making them stay put when I swam. But I feel ya on the full coverage diaper feel - cheeky is good!

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  3. Hey Meg! Thanks for saying 'hi'! I'm actually thinking I might throw together a little tutorial on the bikini top since I plan on making more, and it's a really easy make that anyone can throw together! But to answer your question I cut a long, skinny strip, serged (but zig-zag would work too) the long edges together, right sides facing, then turned it right side out using a safety pin so they are basically long tubes. Then just knotted the ends, but you could add beads or something cute, too.

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  4. You look so strong! Swim on, gorgeous!

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  5. looks gorgeous on you. and can i just say you are looking amazing! what the heck have you been doing, because i think i need to jump on that bandwagon asap.

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  6. Oh my goodness, I miss the beach. And I never thought of myself as a beach person, but I think I always took for granted growing up next to beaches. There really is something about the sun and the salt that makes you feel so wonderful. And you LOOK wonderful. What an awesome swimsuit model. Pretty nice bathers too. You've almost convinced me on string bikinis. ;-)

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  7. This looks like the perfect string bikini! I'd love to live so near the beach - where you live looks so gorgeous from all your posts. You may have just given me the boost I need to get my string bikinis back out for this summer!

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  8. Absolutely love this! Got to make my own!

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  9. Sara | An Elemental LifeJune 3, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    You go, lady! You look awesome, your suit looks awesome, and I'm jealous of the sun and the beach. :)

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  10. You do actually have a great bottom, fyi. I love this on you. I feel way too fleshy and reubenesque in a string bikini but I do admire them on other people. They are really the easiest, breeziest way to greet the ocean. Unless you are blessed with my gigantic booty, which would eat a high cut bikini bottom for breakfast, haha.

    WHEN DO I GET TO HAVE BEACH DAY WITH YOU??!

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  11. Hey Nicole! It actually dries very quickly and holds up to salt water and (I only get to the pool a few times a year) chlorine well as well. I'd imagine it would pill if you sat on concrete or something else rough, but I've been pretty happy with how it's held up.

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  12. Thanks girl!!! Ha! Yes, I'd be lying if I said I didn't occasionally experience a wardrobe malfunction with my string bikinis! And glad to know there are fellow cheeky ladies out there!

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  13. Hey Rachel! I'm so glad I helped give you the confidence to post your bombshell - which is GORGEOUS by the way, and you LOOK gorgeous in it (I swear, that suit is magical - it looks good on EVERYONE!) I was really nervous about doing this post and kept second guessing myself, too, but then my husband reminded me that I wear this out in a public place all the time, so what's the big deal? And I DO really believe that swimsuits and beaches and pools are places for fun and happiness, not worrying about our tummies or bums or thighs. All the better if that mentality can carry over into the rest of our lives! xoxo

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  14. Hey Thanks Caitlyn!!

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  15. Oh thank you Kelli!!! Wow, what a compliment! I've been debating doing a more in depth post about my exercise routine over the past... 6-9 months or so, but it just always feels so silly!

    If you're curious, I work out at home with Fitness Blender - all their videos are free and can usually be done in a small space: https://www.fitnessblender.com/



    After I just messed around with their videos for awhile by myself I decided to do one of their 8 week programs which are $10 and I just repeat it until I get bored, then I try another one.


    I haven't changed my diet, because the thought of that stresses me out! But, really, thank you for the compliment! I've been trying not to focus too much on the superficial outcomes (i.e. how I look) and instead on how I feel, but it's really nice to hear that the benefits aren't all in my head too!!

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  16. Thanks Debbie!! Yes, I think I'm one of those people that gets antsy if the nearest coastline is less than a days drive away! But you're in Kansas! You should come on down to the Texas beaches when you're feeling like some sun and surf. I'm sure it's totally underwhelming compared to Australia, but it's something!

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  17. Thanks Kathryn!! It's funny, it's only as I've gotten older that I've become more comfortable in a string bikini! And I DO love living near the beach, I try not to take it for granted!

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  18. Thanks Sarah! I thought navy would be a slightly different take on the classic black bikini. Plus it's all I had on hand! Ha!

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  19. Thanks Hannah! I hope to do a quick little tutorial the next time I make one, so maybe that will help - but they really are so easy you could figure it out yourself!

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  20. Thanks Sara!!

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  21. REUBENESQUE GIRLS IN STRING BIKINIS ARE MY FAVORITE!!!! But I totally hear ya! And perma-wedgie is the least comfortable thing ever!


    Seriously, beach day with you sounds like THE MOST FUN!! True story - since I have off Sundays and Mondays I usually make Monday my beach day because it's less crowded, but I often see the same people there and there is one group of absurdly tanned, peroxide blonde women with gigundo ta-ta's in teeny tiny bikinis made out of things like gold lame who always roll up with a cooler full of chilled wine and make a day of it, chatting and reading magazines. Yes, my beach schedule is the same as the off-duty strippers. And everytime I see them I'm like "they've got this thing figured OUT!" So what I'm trying to say is - LET'S PARTY LIKE THE OFF-DUTY STRIPPERS!

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  22. I made my first string bikini when I was a kid! My grandmother showed me how to make my first one out of a couple of old bandanas my grandfather used to use as handkerchiefs when I was staying with them one summer and forgot my swimsuit. Our biggest mistake was skipping elastic on the bottoms and using shoelace drawstrings instead - turbo wedgie hell - but I made it to the pool and had a great day despite it all. You've got me thinking about re-visiting the string bikini. Love your color choice!

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  23. Yes!! I couldn't agree more - the amount of people that see me in the bombshell every time I hit the beach is certainly more than follows my little blog!! The Bombshell is the perfect pattern to jump into swimmers sewing! Your bikini is fabulous - and yah for posting - it is high fives all round for sewing swimmers this week - Oh she dabbles posted a fabulous one too!

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  24. http://www.ohshedabbles.com/2015/05/beverly-twisted-bikini/

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  25. You are a total babe!! I just got from from a quick beach trip. So I concur with your scientific study :)

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  26. Isn't there something about how if two people do the same study and come up with the same results than it can be considered fact?? I'm pretty sure that's somewhere in the Scientific Method... Anyway! We should publish our findings :)

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  27. You are so beautiful!! What a great bikini for the beach! Not sure I have enough guts to wear one let alone make one!

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  28. YES. love the beach attitude, love the suit. agree that, though it seems counterintuitive, sometimes less fabric is MORE flattering - less to potentially cut into and highlight the errant lumps, maybe? i dunno. anyway, i want this suit so a tutorial type thingie would be super great! even after having 3 kids the bikini is calling me this summer...they're just fun to wear. whatever. my mom used to garden in hers. :)

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  29. I love your write up, photos and bikini! It's winter here now but I just bought the Soma pattern in anticipation of summer.

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  30. spottedpardaloteJune 5, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    Oh Sallie I'd love to hear more about your exercise routine. Whatever you are doing really works. You look gorgeous, fit and healthy! And I want to look/feel that way too! :)

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  31. You made the bikini before going to the beach, in the same day? I would have never made it to the beach, not while the sun was shining. Great bathing suit! Love the colour and the simplicity!

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  32. You look so great in these photos. It's the salt, sea and self confidence and a really flattering bikini. Go beach days! x

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  33. Thanks! I'm so inspired -- bikini time!!

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  34. Great suit!! I'm also not a full bottomed fan. I hate that diaper feeling and have made even my high waisted bathing suit bottoms a little more "cheeky". I'm super impressed with how fast you made this one!

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  35. I could really use some good beach vibes right about now! Such a cute suit and I'm super impressed you made it while having your morning coffee lol! ...I'm impressed but not at all surprised, especially with your known sewing talents :)

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  36. This is so awesome! I still have not gotten over my fear of swimwear fabrics, but you are giving me courage! You look amazing in your suit- well done!

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  37. I am envious of both the bikini and beach! Where I live, the sea never warms up more than +15C. So my beach time is less fancy than yours. Thanks for sharing some sun through your blog :)

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  38. DAMN GIRL! Look at your Michelle Obama arms! You look amazing! It's funny, I"m not into cheeky suits, but I hate any bottoms with a higher rise because they make me feel like I'm wearing a diaper! Fit is just so personal, isn't it? I am SO jealous of your beach-- I bitterly miss my southern California days because beaches out here are crowded and crappy. Maybe it's time for a Texas road trip! ;)

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  39. gah, I'm so landlocked I forget what the beach is like! But your story gives me fond memories of childhood summers spent in Ocean City with my aunts and uncles... laying on a big pink beach towel reading through all of Nancy Drew. My grandmother had shelves of 1960s mystery novels and I was such an addict. So detective stories + sand + salty water + falling off bikini tops = lots of childhood happiness.


    p.s. cheeky bikini is my favorite, too.

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  40. Gosh, I'm a bit jealous of your living near the beach! It hasn't really been summer weather around here either... But anyway, that's a darn cute bikini and it looks great on you!

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