The Sophie Swimsuit
Posted on 16 June 2017
These are some of the things I may or may not have done while procrastinating taking photos for this blog post: cleaned the cat box, watered the plants, went grocery shopping, threw the ball for the dog, and emptied the dishwasher. Because NOBODY likes looking at pictures of themselves in a swimsuit.
But I've gotten a lot of questions about my Sophie Swimsuit since finishing it last week, so I wanted to share all the details! Plus, I did some serious blog-stalking before starting in on my swimsuit in an attempt to learn everything I could before jumping in head first...I'm sure I'm not the only one!
I got my printed fabric from Spoonflower and I am SO happy with it! I ordered the Sport Lycra. It's higher quality than I expected and isn't sheer at all. It has more of a matte finish, instead of the shiny, slippery feel that some swimwear can have. I pre-washed in cold water and let it air dry, which is how I care for all my swimsuits.
The design is Painted Protea Floral by micklyn and it's absolutely beautiful. My jaw literally dropped when I got it in the mail! That said, there are so many amazing prints on Spoonflower...I could get lost for hours! It's so fun to find such unique patterns and florals that I haven't been able to find in my local shops. I'll definitely be ordering from them again for special projects.
Full disclosure - I've never sewn swimwear. I've never sewn lingerie. I really had no clue what I was doing! Because of my naivety, I decided to purchase the Closet Case Patterns online course for making the Sophie Swimsuit. It seemed a little pricey initially, but given that the swimsuit pattern is included and I learned skills that I will be able to apply to a lot of my sewing, it was totally and completely worth the money!
I really can't say enough good things about this course. Heather goes into every step in detail and being able to visualize the process instead of just seeing it on paper made a huge difference. She talks through all the materials you'll need and different fit adjustments you might want to make. Honestly, I barely even used the instructions and mostly just followed along with the course since it was so inclusive. Heather is just so encouraging - I felt like I could tackle anything!
With all the notions required for this pattern, it does feel like a bit of an investment to get started. However, you'll probably have enough of everything left over to make another swimsuit or some lingerie! If you're doing the online course, watch the section on materials before buying all your notions! I found it really helpful to find out more about what was required before trying to find all of them online. I ended up getting everything I needed from Sew Sassy - they have a huge selection!!
I had originally planned on making the one piece swimsuit, as I'm not feeling 100% about my weight at the moment. But I knew I'd be going to Las Vegas and would be getting a good amount of sun...and since I'm trying to get a little color before the wedding next month, I figured I should probably show a little more skin...
I also measured pretty differently between my waist/hip and underbust. Since I hadn't made this pattern before and didn't really want to make a muslin of the one piece, being able to cut different sizes for the top and the bottom made it much easier.
I can't stress enough - buy enough bra foam to make a practice cup!! You'll thank yourself later. My measurements were in between sizes for the cup, so I used a bra that fit me well and measured the underwire based on the chart included in the Closet Case Files class. That put me at a size 38 underwire with a 31" bust, which calls for a size 4 cup. I made a practice foam cup and it was SO small! I remade it in a size 5 and bumped the underwire up to a size 40 and it fit way better.
I didn't make any additional fit adjustments on this version, but next time I need to re-look at how the cradle lays. It doesn't quite lay flat against my chest and I think it could provide a little bit more support and shaping if it fit better.
Instead of the thicker halter straps that are shown with the bikini top on the pattern, I opted for the skinnier straps in order to make them removable. I used two smaller s-hooks.
I personally don't find high waisted bottoms all that flattering. I mean, yes, they hold you in more than lower waisted versions, but if you're going to go high waisted, I feel like you might as well just wear a one piece. But to each his own. I just decided I wanted a lower waistline.
My waist and hips are about a size bigger than my underbust and I didn't want them to be too tight, so I cut a size 12. To lower the waistline, I simply took 5 inches off from the top of the pattern and recalculated the needed length of elastic by measuring the circumference of the new waist, added an inch for seam allowance, and multiplied it by 90% (as directed in the pattern). It still hits about an inch too high, but that's a pretty easy fix.
I think I'll probably re-do the bottoms to be a little more comfortable. Right now, the way they hit in the leg digs in a little bit. I'm planning on re-drafting them to be a little more boyshort than hipster. I also want to try making the elastic a little bit longer so that it doesn't cut in as much - maybe only 95% of the circumference?
There are a few projects that I feel like have really challenged me and increased my sewing skills and this is definitely one of them. I haven't had this much fun sewing in a long time and I couldn't wait to keep going as I was working on it. I already know that I want to make a one-piece version too! Inspiration is ready and waiting for me to cross a few things off my to-do list.
This pattern looks complicated and advanced. But while you definitely need some sewing knowledge, you really don't need to be an expert. A serger is helpful, but Heather gives you the instructions for completing this whole project on a regular sewing machine too. If you're considering making your own swimsuit this season, I highly, highly recommend starting with the Sophie Swimsuit and Heather's online class!