Swimsuit Sewing 2013: So, So Close

Bombshell Swimsuit ruching

How was your weekend?  I decided to bite the bullet and cut out my Bombshell Swimsuit last Friday and made a lot of progress on it over the weekend, but not enough to actually finish the suit.  The ruching was a little time-consuming but totally worth the end-result, and assembling the suit with the lining wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be.

Giving my Bombshell Swimsuit some bewbs

I even gave my swimsuit a boob job, hahahahaha.

Here’s where I ran into trouble – the elastic, as seen below:

Why do I keep getting this rippling with my swimsuit elastic? This is for the neckline

It's even rippled when I first attach the elastic

These are photos of the elastic going across the top of the suit bodice.  See how it’s rippling?  The fabric even looks like it’s stretched in the first photo, but I didn’t stretch anything at all when I attached the elastic to the fabric (I blame my presser foot and inability to adjust the pressure on my machine).

After consulting the sewing think-tank that is Twitter (thank you soooo much to Katie, Laura, Heather, Dixie, Brooke, Gillian, and Leila), I ripped out the elastic and steamed the elastic and fabric, letting it rest for awhile and recover its original shape.  Then, I reattached the elastic and stretched it slightly while stitching, resulting in the elastic being about two inches shorter across the chest.  Here’s what I got:

Still gaping :(

(Cue “wah wah wah” sound, or Nelson from The Simpsons saying “ha ha!”)

Yes, it’s a boob shot.  But you can see in the picture that the rippling is gone, now it’s just gaping across the chest.

Here’s what I think – I need to size it down on the sides because it’s too big in the chest.  When trying to decide what size to make, I used what my bust measures wearing a bra as the number to go by and cut out a size 8 for the top, grading it to a 10 from waist to hip.  However, I think I should have gone with a smaller size because there’s no way I measure that without some oomph and padding.  Even though I added push-up cups to the lining (hey, it’s a Bombshell Swimsuit, after all), it’s still not cutting it.  My chest is too narrow for the width of the bodice.

So, with that being said, I’m going to take out the elastic (for the sixth time, no joke), lay my bodice on the original pattern piece, and cut the suit down on the sides by the bust since the back fits perfectly.  I’m really hoping this works!  I’d love to wear this to the beach on Saturday.

(PS: I did try my suit on in the shower and there was no sagging or funky issues other than the above mentioned, hooray!)



  1. June 25, 2013 / 9:29 pm

    I love the idea of trying it on in the shower! Brilliant! I hope you get the sizing sorted out, because it's going to be so cute when it's done!!!

    • June 27, 2013 / 10:59 pm

      My mom told me a story of when she made a swimsuit from gingham fabric back in the 60's or 70's – she tried it on in the shower and it sagged like crazy (of course)! I had that in the back of my head when I was making this, I didn't want to get to the pool and be embarrassed.

  2. June 25, 2013 / 9:36 pm

    indeed – brilliant on trying it out in the shower!!
    Also a good heads up on the potential sizing issue – I haven't cut mine out yet but will pay attention to this.
    Hope you get in finished in time for the weekend!

    • June 27, 2013 / 11:00 pm

      It was weird being in the shower with a swimsuit on!

      I think it's prudent to measure your bust without a bra on if you typically wear a padded/push-up bra…I would have gotten a better fit if I had done so.

  3. June 25, 2013 / 10:29 pm

    your fabric is awesome! looks like you're so close, hope you can resolve the gaping! love the idea of trying it on in the shower. that cracks me up, but is sooo smart!

    • June 27, 2013 / 11:01 pm

      Thank you, I got the idea for the fabric combo from a swimsuit I saw online. Glad there's no sag-factor!

  4. June 26, 2013 / 12:04 pm

    Love the color and the polka dots!

    You are so close with the fit! I don't know that you need to take it apart and recut – can't you just use a few safety-pins to pin some out of the side seams on the outside? Then all you need to do is measure what you folded out and restitch the side seams. You can just transfer your measured amount to your pattern for next time. Don't make it harder than it needs to be – "alterations" are still allowed. =)

    Can't wait to see it completed – it's going to be so cute!

    • June 27, 2013 / 11:02 pm

      Seriously Brooke, you are the best!! I'll do just that – you have a very good point about not" making it harder" 🙂

  5. June 26, 2013 / 1:28 pm

    I can't wait to see this finished! Your fabric is perfection.

    • June 27, 2013 / 11:02 pm

      Thanks, I got it from The Fabric Fairy!

  6. June 27, 2013 / 1:03 am

    I think I took the elastic out of my Bombshell Swimsuit 4 or 5 times. It is worth it, and the next time you make it you will know which size to cut in the chest from the start. I'm making my navy with white polka dot swimsuit next! I love the red and white you've done here.

    • June 27, 2013 / 11:03 pm

      That makes me feel better knowing it's not just me that had elastic issues – I used soooo much thread sewing this swimsuit. Navy and white polka dots will look really cute, I'm sure!

  7. June 30, 2013 / 3:39 pm

    Super cute fabric! I've nominated your blog for an award. See my blog notchesandnotions.blogspot.co.uk

  8. Anonymous
    July 6, 2013 / 2:50 pm

    I used to teach swimsuit sewing in the 70's and 80's. The elastic should not be a 1:1 ratio along curves. You want to have it a slightly shorter length than your swimsuit edge, divide it and the edge in quarters and stretch from quarter to quarter to fit as you sew. Use a smaller zigzag. Instead of stitching down the middle of the elastic when you first attach it, stitch along the edge that is matched to the edge of the fabric. DO NOT use regular poly elastic. It will be a mess later. You need 1/4" braided cotton elastic. Hope that helps! Annette

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