Saturday, 1 March 2014

Swim wear, summer retrospective part 1.

One of my sewing goals is to become accomplished at sewing swimming costumes. Unfortunately, I am definitely in the happy hands at home group when it comes to the inner layer - my coverstitch control is very poor on nylon lycra binding!
However, after 2 months of enforced practice, I am feeling pretty happy with my work on rashies. (Sun protective swim tops)
Daughter the second's rash top became suddenly transparent and shapeless in the alarming manner of this fabric when the lycra wears out. Naturally this occurred whilst we were not at home, on December 23, and I was faced with the unappealing prospect of buying RTW on Christmas Eve in order to keep her un-sunburnt. Fortunately, I had previously cunningly arranged to desert my family (in-law visit) and to meet  the delightful Sharon in the Surrey Hills fabric district, and there just happened to be a nice piece of remnant nylon lycra at the Fabric Store. This was my only purchase at the Fabric Store, but I did find rather a few nice things at Tessuti that may make an appearance later.
Clearly I was energized by meeting with such an accomplished seamstress and possibly by eating Portuguese custard tarts, as that afternoon I braved my mother-in-law's sewing supplies (I must buy her myself a new quick-unpick to leave at her house) and made my daughter a new rashie. I drafted the pattern myself because I had none with me (how did this happen?) and made the whole thing on a very basic conventional machine without even a stretch needle.
Amazingly, this worked. I didn't even get tunnelling on the hems.


(I hand basted to attain stripe matching).
The rashie was well recieved, and a form fitting version to wear to swim training was requested.
Swimmers for my nieces' new children were also requested - a Christmas  afternoon project accomplished by tracing the new dollies' existing nether garments and winging it for the tops.


Originally, I used elastic and zig zag for the leg and waist openings, but this was very fiddly. For the second and third pairs I used a doubled piece of the nylon lycra as waist and leg bands, which was not only easier, but gave a neater finish. Niece the third pronounced the garments to be "just like real swimmers", so I am hoping for a new sewing convert.


Once home again, I used my TNT rashie pattern,

Rashie pattern

For the first version I added racing strips up the side and undersleeve to minimize chafing (and so I didn't have to trace out the next size up, lazy seamstress that I am).
There is not a photo of this particular version, being royal blue with lime green accents and seemingly never out of the swimming bag/washing machine, but I got a bit carried away and made her a few more versions, adding piping and contrast as the fancy took me.


My favourite is this pink one with piping in addition to the colour blocking.


The solid colours are all chloroban fabric from Stretchtex, and the brown on blue print is a scrap aged about 4 years orginally from Lincraft in Brisbane city. It is the same print, and seems identical quality to a Speedo fabric that was available in RTW swimmers that year. I visit this shop with a hopeful attitude about once every 3 months, but I've not seen any good nylon-lycra there since.

This abundance of swimwear made daughter the first's wardrobe appear substandard, which clearly meant that I should make her some new things too.


She now has a new set of active wear swimmers to co-ordinate with last years' retro bikini.


The swim pants are from Butterick 5551 (must be OOP as I last used it about 5 years ago and it was old then)
They have piping in the side seams and a printed fabric waistband that is invisible in this photo but rather cute. The pants are unlined as the  black chloroban fabric (Stretchtex) is very thick. The printed fabric is from the Remnant Warehouse 2012.


Her second version is to co-ordinate with some RTW board shorts - it has white piping,  a white stripe up the side in chloroban, and the main fabric is again from Remnant Fabrics in our 2012 Easter shopping trip.


After all this success, I had another go at swimmers for myself. This was an interesting and less successful experience, so I will leave it for another post.

Stashbusting statistics - pre 2013 fabric around 4 meters for 5 garments.


Summer Flies said...

Oh, they are all so nice. I love the floral ones in particular. Your daughters are beautiful! I don't find much fabric to like at Lincraft in the city (or anywhere for that matter). It is well overpriced and (how could it be) the staff seem less interested than they do at Spotlight! (although I've had good service at the latter lately).

katherine h said...

These are really cute rashies, and you have saved yourself a bundle in sewing them up. My favourite is the black / blue tartan combo.

Marie said...

Love the piping detail - it really elevates it from the ordinary.

Mary Nanna said...

Cute! Love the piping details. Your girls look very fetching in their rashies.

Kristy said...

Great work on all the rashies - those things are so expensive!

Allison said...

Cute rashies! They look so professional with all the details you have incorporated into their construction. I am currently working on two bathing suits for my sister so I share your pain in that department. Which cover stitch machine do you have? I have a Jamone Coverpro CP1000 which is making me crazy with skipped stitches. Does your do this or do you have better success in that department?

Bernice said...

These look fabulous. I think I've set myself the goal to get good at sewing swimwear for the last few years and haven't even picked up a piece of lycra out of my stash yet. I think rashies are a great place to start.

Dorothy said...

They're all lovely, and how patient you are to sew dolly bikinis - they're adorable

Sewtime said...

Love them, especially the pink one and your other daughter's outfit.

fabric epiphanies said...

I really like them as well. The fit is spot on. The pink one is my favourite also.

Joy said...

What a nice variety of swimwear - they look very RTW, especially with the piping. Your girls are very lucky.

Anonymous said...

You are such a good seamstress!

I have a bunch of swimsuit fabric from the eLingeria closeout that I will never use, it being quite the wrong colour for me. Do you think you might want it? I can send you pix.

Meigan said...

These look great. Rash guards are great for using small bits of spandex. I really like the colorblocked one too!

Sue said...

These are so much better than RTW! Lucky girls.

velosewer said...

These are much nicer rashies than you can buy anywhere.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful collection of swimwear (rashies?). Especially sweet were the three dollies wearing the same fabric. I have been struggling with sportswear fabrics, especially finishing the leg and armholes. (Sun) Hats off to you.