Making Swimwear Samples

Hey Lovessss!! I haven’t been posting that much on IG because in case you haven’t heard I’M MOVING! I’m super excited and nervous about this next chapter in my life. I have been working at a fashion design summer camp, teaching sewing classes on the weekend, and trying to pack and get ALOT of things done before I depart.

Anyway I’ve wanted to sew an actual project for myself but camp and class has kept me busy. I’ve been seeing all of you make gorgeous swimsuits and reading your blog posts saying how easy the process was, so I figured I would give it a try! Before I decided on an official swimsuit pattern and fabric I wanted to just try out the process.. Which made me bring up the question.

How often do you make samples or test garments? Is it something you do for every garment or only the tricky ones? I will admit I used to think making a sample of something was unnecessary. I thought it was just a waste of time, why would I spend all that time making something I’m not going to wear. I thought I could just plan the project out meticulously, and then cut it.

For the most part I never had any huge fabric disasters following that method. LOL However as i move into more expensive fabrics and tailored garments, I find myself making samples of garments more and more. Honestly, making samples can have several advantages. You get to test out the fit, make any adjustments, practice different finishes, and in the end if you use a desirable fabric and you like the fit, you have a new garment! Which some people call a “wearable muslin.”

So with this swimwear thing I figured since I don’t require much from a swimsuit as far as support, this shouldn’t be too hard. I wanted to try all different stitches and finishes so made 3 pairs of bottoms. Let’s get into it!

The first pair is a classic panty style swimsuit bottom. This bottom is partially lined and to create it I used Mccalls pattern #6579. This pattern also comes with a boyshort and high waisted style as well. I made all the versions and I think they all fit me great. Let’s talk pros and cons. I like the idea of a partially lined bottom. That just means the front part of the panty is lined and the back is not. When I looked at my RTW swimsuits most of them were fully lined. Again I like the fit. I used 1/4 inch elastic to finish the leg holes. To have a super clean edge you can serge the edge of the fabric first, then add the elastic, but since these are samples I did not do that.

The second bottom is a full coverage high waisted bottom. To make these I used Butterick pattern 4526. I like the fit of these bottoms. Honestly full coverage high waisted bottoms are not my style. I like to show a little more skin at the bottom and I kind of feel my body is too petite for full coverage high waist. MY only con about this swimsuit is I didn’t really like the elastic casing. I just felt it was kind of bulky. Even though an elastic casing is what the pattern called for I just would have liked a less bulky finish.

The last style is one I like to call a cheeky high waist. This is a bottom I drafted from a bathing suit I already had. I loove the fit of this bathing suit bottom so I had to try to make it. A cheeky high waist is a bottom that is high waisted but some of your bottom shows and it has a higher cut on the crotch/ leg area. The ready to wear swimsuit I already had, the top was a waistband instead of a casing, so I wanted to do that. I love this method and I like how this bottom came out. I did fully line this bottom and I like that as well. I feel it gives the swimsuit a more durable feel. I think a waistband/facing is the best finish for this particulart type of swimsuit. it still fits great and is not as bulky as an elastic casing. !

The verdict. I think I have swimsuit bottoms down packed! After making 4 pairs and trying all the techniques I think the cheeky high waist and the classic panty are my favorite styles. When I go to make my real swimsuit the only thing I would change is serging the edge of the fabric first so the Legholes look super clean. As far as changes to the fit I dont think I need to make any! Im moving on to some top samples next. I will keep you posted!

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