Monday, March 21, 2011

Making a Swimsuit - Constructing the Bottoms

Oh sweet jellybeans, the bottoms are done! And if you've survived making the top, which isn't so bad right?, then the bottoms will seem like a breeze.

When last I left you, I'd finished the tank portion of the tankini, and all that was left was to whip up the -ini. Well, we had an interesting weekend full of stomach flu and lovely weather, so when we weren't inside tending to illness, we were outside cleaning out garden beds and getting the yard ready for spring. Trust me when I say, the bottoms take 30 minutes or less to construct.

As a reminder, I used Kwik-Sew 3608 for the bottoms, the same pattern I used in my first tankini. This time, I cut the Large because the Medium really liked to cut into my flesh, not an attractive look.

First, I serged the lining to the fashion fabric around the sides.

Serged the crotch seam together (pictured), then the side seams (not pictured).

Measured the clear elastic according to the Kwik-Sew instructions, and managed to finish with exactly the right amount of elastic! Whoo-hoo!

I followed the instructions to zig-zag the clear elastic to the leg openings, not stretching it along the front leg openings until you got down near the crotch, and then stretching all the way around the back. Essentially, you want stretch where you really want the bottoms to cup in and not flap loose, which is your crotch and bum.

Zig-zagged clear elastic around the waistband. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of these steps, but they are the same as the technique used in making the bust cups.

Turned the waistband and used double-needle to top-stitch waistband and leg openings.

Voila! Try it on, see what you think.

You know what I think? The Large definitely fits better than the Medium I made for this suit, but there are a few minor adjustments I could make next time.

I think the crotch is a touch wide. There's a bit of adundance in fabric down there and frankly, that isn't an area that's flattering with extra fabric. So next time I'll shave off 1/8" on each side, that should take care of it.

Other than that, I am pretty happy with how they turned out! I forgot to add a second pantyliner (I was concerned about modesty with the giant white dots) but so far I think it's going to be ok. I can go back and stitch one in later if I think it needs it.

So there you have it, a swimsuit with the process documented.

I've thought of a few edits to my prior posts, so if I go back and add them I'll be sure to add them in a different color so you can see what I realized after the fact.

Thanks for following along with me! Now, I must take a break from swimsuits. If I see another piece of lycra, I might want to hurt somebody. STEPPING AWAY FROM THE MACHINE.


  1. I don't know what is more amazing: that you made a swimsuit or that you put pictures of your butt on the internets! You look great, by the way. Still sugarbusting?

  2. You do look great and I am so appreciative of the tutorials. I'll be back when my pattern gets here!

  3. So wonderfully done. This suit could have cost you dearly at the stores. I paid 100.00 dollars last year because I had to have a suit. I am going to try to make one, thanks for posting this. You look great in your new suit!

  4. First, I want to tell you that your bathing suit is adorable!
    Second, I want to thank you for your tutorials. When you started posting I was in the midst of making my daughter two swimsuits for a school trip to Catalina Island. (tomorrow!) I have made swimsuits for her before but picked up a few tips from you, like the elastic around the derriere!
    Thank you!

  5. I have been wanting to make a swimsuit for awhile now....and am totally inspired!!! Thanks!

  6. So I'm actually taking a swimsuits elastic out to change it (it's kind of dissolving in places!) and wanted to let you know that you were spot on with the regular thread in your needle and the wooly nylon in the bobbin. That's exactly what I'm seeing! Genius!

  7. Great job documenting the process! You're right, sewing a swimsuit isn't all that hard once you get going. I love your print and the fit is great!

  8. Way to go Heather. As you can see from all the comments this was a fantastic tutorial series. I know I am inspired to try a little harder to sew the things that I find difficult to buy for myself.

  9. Thank you for posting this. I have a question about the bra cups: how did the ones from Joanne's compare with those you bought online?