Confession: I was supposed to make this last summer.
But the holiday to the beach came sooner than I could cope with and the muslin had been cut but no sewing had commenced. Then, there was winter and no need for a swimsuit so the lovely emerald lycra I'd bought, and the rubber elastic I'd had a friend in bristol hunt down for me in a hurry (fabricland sells it if you were wondering) got shoved in a bag for a while.
New year, new beach holiday planned, and I knew I had to get it made this time, not just because of my previous failings but also the fact I've gained some weight since I last bought a bikini about 4 years ago! Once again I laughed in the face of deadlines, then panickedly started sewing up that muslin with a week to go. Thankfully it was a much faster make than I'd anticipated and on top of that I didn't need to make a single adjustment. I was surprised, as I expected to remove some length, and because I'd cut the pattern a year ago when I had less knowledge of pattern sizes, but no complaints here!
I was so chuffed with the final result. It is easily the nicest swimwear I've ever owned and fits like a glove. The only fit niggles is the crotch might be slightly too wide, as well as the halters which come a little far towards the back. I could have made these smaller in length as well.
Would I make another? Yes as far as successful sewing goes, but living in the absolute middle of the country there's not a lot of occasions for beachwear.
I used far less fabric than the pattern called for. Ignoring the layout plan, I squeezed it into 1.3m of 60" width fabric, which includes the lining as I couldn't find specialist fabric. I cut a size 8 body, but 6 halters/cups. I also measured the elastic and only used 3.5m, and I would have squeezed it out of one spool of thread if I hadn't had to rip a little. I used a light colour for basting so they'd be easier to remove which probably took another spool of the other colour. I found the fabric in Royal Fabrics in Leamington Spa, which was the only place I could find (at the time) selling lycra. The choice was pretty limited to half a dozen plains but luckily I loved this colour, so all was good. I can't remember the price of it, maybe £7-10 a metre?
So anyway, I know what you really want is to see me in my smalls and I shan't disappoint so prepare yourself for lots of flesh, a little sunburn, and a whole lot of squinting into the sun. I even went to the beach for the shoot, and I didn't even have the "warm-up" cider I thought I'd need to do this, so be proud people!
We took the photos on Woolacombe beach on the beautiful North Devon coast.
Firstly, doesn't this kinda work as a top as well? Yes, yes, off with the skirt!
So here we have it, one bombshell swimsuit in all it's glory! The colour isn't properly represented here I'm afraid, you'll have to believe me that it's a real emerald green, not teal/sea green like it appears here.
Trying out some awkward poses before the swim....
Pervy boyfriend shot, but a nice detail of the back ruching and the modest bottom covering design. Seriously, the teeny weeny bikinis I saw on the beach that day! Unreal.
I am very delighted to report that I went full on swimming that day and the cossie held it's own! Absolutely no problems at all, I was kept nice and snug! The above is what happens when you pull down the skirt bit too much and ruin the ruched effect. Whoops.
I added cups from an old bikini into the halters to avoid smuggling tic tacs and they worked a treat, but they really do need to be tacked down as I skipped this step and found them rising up the cups all day, but it's a quick job (with important results!)
Finally, me with the seagulls. In my head, I'm (a slightly more shy) Rachel McAdams in my vintage swimsuit on the beach in the Notebook. If you're a bird, I'm a bird! God I love that film.
AND.... now I need to make a costume like hers, headband included. Maybe for next summer, yes?