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The Fabric Maverick says...Swimsuits can make a sane woman go crazy!

March 25, 2008

Swimsuit season is around the corner. If you are taking a cruise, it may already be here for you. Women have been known to cry when they try on bathing suits!  Here are a few tips to selecting the type of suit that fits your figure best:

·         For hip and tummy problems choose a color and a print that flatter your skin tone. Use your hair color and eye color for reference. Choose fabric with at least 20% spandex to minimize flab. Choose blocks of color to distract from wide hips and  tummy bulges.

·         For the bosom choose fabrics that have a texture to emphasize a small chest. To minimize a chest, choose a tank top style, choose a dark top.

·         One piece suits are a good bet for most figure types.  Where the body comes in, less is not always best.

·         Bikinis should be left to the very young or the most optimistic.

Making a bathing suit makes a great deal of sense. Many women are different sizes on the top and bottom. A pattern can be adjusted to accommodate those differences.

Here are ten sewing tips from Susan Wigley at Paragon Patterns:

TIP 1: When you apply the swim wear elastic, lay the elastic on the bed of the machine with the fabric on top, then serge the elastic on.

TIP 2: If you are fortunate enough to have a cover stitch machine, use it for all of the hems.

TIP 3: If you don't have a cover stitch machine, use a twin needle for all of your hems.

Tip 4: Sew the side seams from the bottom to the top on both sides to avoid twisting.

Tip 5: A Serger will produce the best results for sewing the seams, however, if you don't have a serger, use a zigzag stitch set at 16-20 stitches per inch. You can also use a straight stretch stitch, set at 10-12 stitches per inch.

TIP 6: Always check your Swimwear Lycra for the greatest stretch before you lay out the pattern.

TIP 7: Lay out the pattern with the greatest stretch going around the body, regardless of the grainline indicated on the pattern. (Often times the greatest stretch is on the cross-grain, rather than the straight grain).

TIP 8: If you can find 4-way stretch Swimwear Lycra in the colors or prints you like, use that.

Tip 9: Always use Swimwear Elastic, Clear Elastic or Raw Rubber Elastic for your swimwear to get best results.

Tip 10: Always use ball point needles when you sew swimwear fabrics to avoid tearing holes in the seams.


Now all you have to do is select a pattern and some swimsuit fabric and create something beautiful.


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I do water aerobics and make a bazillion basic swimsuits. Everything you said is good but there are a couple more tips:
1) Line the entire suit - not just the front - and use regular weight swimsuit fabric instead of "swimsuit lining" fabric. Lining the whole suit means no seams touch your skin, the weight and support are extremely comfortable and the suit lasts longer and stays in shape better.
2) NEVER put your suit in the washer or (god forbid!) the dryer. No soap whatsoever - not even "swimsuit" soap. Rinse carefully after each use and hang to dry. (How dirty can it get anyway!!)
3) If you swim in a chlorine pool, don't worry about the type of elastic you use. The swimsuit fabric will wear out before the elastic does. If you can't manage the serger insertion as suggested, just use a zigzag stitch.
4) I would rather use a zigzag to sew it down than a double needle. It is faster and easier to manage the tension. Cover or double needle does look nicer, but I've never had anyone even notice the type of stitching unless I pointed it out.
5) Don't bother with the "bra". Too much work and does absolutely NO good whatsoever. If you fully line with regular swimsuit fabric you'll get all the support you need and it will be more comfy. I write this speaking as as 48DD.
6) Too heck with dark, dreary, sensible colors. If you are heavy, love your body and get whatever fabric that strikes your fancy. I am a great big woman and was self-conscious 16 years ago when I started doing water aerobics at a gym full of the young and fit. I learned to my joy that no-one cares what you like like if you are happy and having a good time. Most people are too worried about themselves to worry about you and think you look perfectly fine. It's confidence that makes you look good so get that striking floral pink and orange if that's what you secretly crave.

Where can you find a variety of swimsuit patterns?

Hi...appreciate the tips very much.

I am 42 and wore a store purchased bikini during a winter retreat in the desert. I think I looked fine and my bf liked it a lot. I think it's OK to wear a bikini when you are older...the question is your body type. I still have a waist and am think in the middle so it's OK.

What I do have trouble with is the styles right now. I am a thin but pear shaped woman. That means I have waist and small on top but tend to be wider on the bottom. I have larger thighs than most women, specifically the top of the thigh. The best swimsuit for my figure is a higher cut one, which is hard to impossible to find now because it's not the style. All I see is the straight across or god forbid, the "boy shorts", which is not flattering on women like me because it makes us look wider. I wish they provided a more diverse style instead of one.

A high cut bikini is way more flattering for me than a low cut one piece.

Anyway, that is why I'll shall be making my bikini. I found a higher cut bikini that I like and I will be making that.

it's just quite right about women swimwear fabric.Swimsuits can make a sane woman go crazy

I just wanted to leave a quick comment to thank you for your post! I really like your blog site!!! Would you mind terribly if I put up a backlink from my site to your site? Keep up the great work!

Wow Impressive!
Your blog is very informative. However, it is pretty hard task but your post and experience serve and teach me how to handle and make it more simple and manageable.
Thanks for the tips& Best regards.

nice post. Thank you for share.

I have a blog very similar to this one. You share some insightful info on the topic and I was wondering if I could reference your website on my blog?

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