This project started with this blue dress. It’s really slinky, with a high lycra content, in other words, perfect for swimwear.
I actually bought this a really long time ago in the Children’s society shop in Upminster (£6.99). It was brand new with the tag attached.
I always had swimwear in mind for this but it wasn’t until Heather released the Bombshell swimsuit pattern that this dream really became a plausible reality. I know I’m probably the last person in the world to make this pattern, but whatevs. It’s a superb pattern and I can’t recommend it enough.
Having never made swimwear before, I was unusually sensible in making a wearable muslin first to get the hang of the techniques. Heather’s posts on the construction techniques are spot on and easy to follow, even for a swimwear nOOb like me.
I managed to squeeze my View A out of 1.15m of dark blue dancewear fabric. For the lining I bought some really thin light blue synthetic knit that was described as ‘stockinette’, it worked a treat.
Happily, the fit of this “test” version was almost perfect. I made a few mistakes topstitching the neckline but I don’t think anyone noticed. The ruched section front and back covers a multitude of sins, making this probably the most flattering swimsuit I’ve ever worn.
Incidentally, I also made a co-ordinating beach cover-up/robe thingy out of some African wax print fabric I bought back in London. This is a really simple shape to make yourself. It comprises a rectangles for the back, sleeves and belt, and two rectangles with the corner cut off for the front. The belt was folded in half lengthways and topstitched. I made the entire thing on the overlocker in about 20 minutes. The hem and edges were just overlocked, not even turned. I used white thread and it co-ordinated, so I left it like that.
Anyway, back to the bright blue version.
Once I’d cut the pieces of the dress apart, there wasn’t enough for a View A or B bombshell, so it had to be a bombshell biniki. In fact, there wasn’t a section large enough for the ruched section without piecing, so I had to shorten it a little to fit it in. So my bikini front and back aren’t quite as gathered as my muslin, but I don’t think it impacts the design overall.
The inside front had to be pieced (below) but that’s not visible, thankfully. I used the same lining as I did for the muslin.
To go with the bottoms, I made a quick triangle top. I actually used the ties from the original dress as the ties for the biniki, but these can easily be made. You need one long tie (that ties behind your back) and two shorter ties (that tie behind your neck).
Here’s a quick summary of how I made the top.
1. Cut four shapes for the triangles, or two from fabric and two from lining.
2. Place two triangles right sides together with one of the shorter ties sandwiched between them at the point of the triangle. Sew the triangles together, leaving a gap for turning. Remember not to catch the tie anywhere in this stitching other than at the triangle apex. Do this for the other pair of triangles too.
3. Trim the edges, clip the corners and turn the triangles the right way out and topstitch the hole closed.
4. Fold the bottom of the shape over and sew it down at the edge. The idea is to make a tube that the long tie can run through.
5. Thread the long tie through the triangles… et voila!
Here’s how the bikini turned out. I took these pictures at the Kenyan villa we rented, which was basically paradise on Earth (with a private pool).
I’m quite happy with it, and with my first swimwear makes overall. I foresee more bombshells in my future!