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