My Make-9 challenge contained a bikini and I was determined to make one. In the end, I made two: one for myself and one for my daughter. I found gorgeous floral polka dot lycra at Flextex that I immediately wanted to use for both projects. In addition, I got some contrasting pink lycra from Eurokangas.
Suuri Käsityö 6/2018 bikini for me
This pattern came in sizes 34 to 54 and I made the size 36. Unfortunately, it suffers from terrible photography. You can see only little bits of the garment in the picture on the magazine. The tiny line drawing didn’t help, so I decided to use the pattern as a basis only and come up the rest by looking at some existing bikinis. Besides, the basic string bikini tops don’t feel supportive enough for me. Therefore, I went for a sturdy elastic band to keep the bikini top firmly in place.
My old bikini had lined cups with foam inserts, so I decided to use the same idea in this bikini. I bought an old bikini from the Recycling centre to get cheap bikini clips and got a neat pair of foam inserts at the same time (and to be honest, I was too lazy to go all the way to Helsinki for such tiny things).
My coverstitch machine has been working nicely after I had it cleaned and maintained and thus I used that with the binder attachment to finish all the edges of the triangle cups and to make the halterneck ties. Just to be sure I enforced the cup edges with swimwear elastic. The bottom edge of the cups was meant to form a casing to the string bikini string. I cut the cups smaller and fitted them by pinning them temporarily to a piece of elastic.
The band was easy to make. I first zigzagged the elastic to the band fabric and then zigzagged the band to the right side of the cups. Then I turned the edge of the band around the elastic to the wrong side of the bikini and finished the band with coverstitch. You can see most of the structure in the picture underneath:
The bikini bottoms were quite standard with a lined front and cute ties at the sides.
I was surprised that the bottoms didn’t have any elastic. I was not going to trust them without so I attached swimwear elastic to all the edges before turning them and finishing with the coverstitch.
Finally, this isn’t a bikini top pattern I can really recommend after I finally though it easier to look at existing garments to figure out the process. I have no idea whether the pattern would have worked had I actually followed the instructions. I like the bottoms though that fit nicely and look cute.
Ottobre design 3/2018 girl’s bikini
This bikini pattern came in sizes 92 to 140 cm. I thought I could cut the size 140 cm to make the bikini last longer. I should have remembered that Ottobre patterns usually have room for growth. The resulting bikini looked huge on S! Luckily it was fairly easy to fit the bikini by pinning the edges to the correct size as I had the sense to fit the bikini before I had sewn on all the edgings.
I love the ruffles and the skirt that attaches to the bikini bottoms. I did not have enough of the patterned fabric so I ended up cutting the back piece of the bikini top from the pink fabric.
Sewing this bikini was finally fairly easy. As the lycra doesn’t unravel, there was no need to finish the edges of the ruffles or the skirt. I also knew enough to use a super stretch needle to avoid any skipped stitches.
The summer has been really cold and rainy here in Finland and I was already thinking that we should leave testing these bikinis for the next summer. But then today it was finally sunny and we went to the beach at the family summer cottage. S didn’t mind the cold water at all but dove in fearlessly.
One, two, three and down she goes!
I must admit that I stood or walked in the thigh-high water for several minutes gathering courage to dive in! Finally, a muddy and slippery bit at the lake bottom provided enough help and I slipped and went in! The water didn’t feel that cold once you were in but I only swam for a few strokes to test that yes, the bikini worked for swimming, too. Then I was back on the beach enjoying the sun and watching the kids that didn’t seem to be bothered by the water temperature at all.
I was really happy with how this bikini turned out. S loves it too and has been pestering me for a while to get the chance to wear it. This is a pattern that I can warmly recommend!
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