Monday 1 February 2021

The Forest Mint Swimmers

It's summer, so it's time for new swimmers!

The pattern is a Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity, S8928. I had been looking for a nice one-piece that was simple and practical. I almost flicked past this pattern when looking in the catalogue because it is paired with a poorly styled and underwhelming-looking caftan, but then I noticed the interesting colour blocking. 

The lycras are both from My Hung in Hurstville. The forest green was a remnant piece which made it an easy first pick for half the suit. I then spent probably half an hour carefully looking through all My Hung's lycras to find just the right complementary colour including rich rose pinks and different purples and blues before settling on this slightly shimmery mint. It does have a higher sheen, but because it is in the same family of greens-with-just-a-hint-of-blue the shine is not distracting. I had considered using a third lycra for the leg bands - I have some bits and pieces in my stash - but in the end I felt adding a major contrast would take away from how well the two greens complement each other. 

This time I didn't make a straight size unlike for most patterns. I'm both long-waisted and have particularly small shoulders, so I needed it as small as possible at the top but it needed to reach all the way to and fit properly on my hips. I started from a 4 at the shoulders through to the high waist, then gradually lengthened and widened to reach an 8 at the crotch, while the leg band pieces I cut out in size 6. The result is suitably snug but with enough length to reach and cover properly.

I followed the instructions closely, except for the lining. The pattern as written is self lined, but I thought two layers of centre seams would look and feel far too bulky, so instead the main front and back pieces are lined with swimsuit lining. To make sure I cut them out the right size, I first sewed the two front and two back pieces together so I could use them to trace the lining fabric. This made sure everything lined up correctly and I didn't end up with straps starting or ending in the wrong place. The leg bands I did as the pattern suggested and self lined with lycra, which gave the swimsuit a neater finish both inside and out.

The instructions were straightforward and mostly easy to follow, apart from adding the elastic to the leg bands and sewing the crotch seam. The main fabric and lining pieces are sewn separately before being sewn together at the legs. The elastic is then stitched to the leg lining so it is encased in the garment. To join the crotch seam it is pulled up through the neck between the lining and main fabric and sewn in a circle. It was a bit confusing and I needed to reread the steps a few times, but the actual process was very easy in the end. Because the lining and outer are made as separate pieces I did some additional stitching at the top of the leg bands on the inside to keep them together and stop one sliding out of place.

I sewed this up almost entirely with my overlocker, which worked incredibly well. It made sure all the edges were neat, and the lining was far less likely to slip out of place than doing a zigzag stitch on a normal machine which avoided any unevennes with the fit. The elastic is stitched in with a zigzag stitch, using matching threads for each side and paying attention to make sure I started and finished the stitching at the centre seam. 

While this summer has been wetter meaning there have been fewer days to wear it, I did get to try it out last week on a 38 degree day. It held up well in the water, and the lycra didn't feel too hot to wear. Hopefully there will be some more sunny days and it can get some more use before the end of the season!

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