Well, this summer hasn’t had enough swimming by my standards – but the fault for that lies in the weather and the fact that by the time the skies cleared and the wind stilled I was back to university and placements. But in theory, summer and ocean swims are inseparable in my head.
My making has crept a long way ahead of my blogging these days, but I now have a functional camera so we at least have a chance of catching up (once I take stock of what I have that I haven’t photographed – it’s hard to keep track, it’s been so long). But here’s one of the things I’m most proud of: swimming togs!
I’ve been intending to make a pair for a long time, but I’ve also been terrified of it. So this is an achievement. There are a million things I’d do differently (starting with having a machine that caught every stitch…) but I feel amazing when I wear these, and I don’t think any of the issues are major enough to redo them. Certainly not at this stage of the summer… We’ve had many days of superb swimming weather recently, but they started at about the point where I went back to class for the year, so these have only seen the sea a handful of times.
The fit is, well, ok. It’s good enough to wear, for sure, but the cups are too shallow and the bridge too wide for my chest, resulting in slightly less support (while being simultaneously far better support than any swimwear I’ve ever owned). I’ve also already graded the cup size up from the largest offered, and need to do another, so I’m slightly underimpressed by the pattern sizing options. I wear DD-E bras, so my bust size is large, but not actually that big. I expected better of a pattern advertised with 5 cup sizes, to be honest.
I also had a difference of about 6 sizes between my underbust and my hip measurements, which seemed excessive to me. I am pear-shaped, and normally I find my hip measurement is one size larger than my waist which is one size larger than my bust. This was not that. I get that different designers use different fit models, but actually one of the reasons I chose to do a bikini instead of a one-piece was that I didn’t want to fluff around with grading between that many sizes. (The other was that I wasn’t making a muslin because of lack of similar fabric, and width is a lot easier to fudge once you’ve constructed it than length is.)(I did fudge the width a bit, in the bottom half – it really needed width taken out at the back princess seams, but because of my construction it was easier to take it out at the side seams. I haven’t transferred it to my pattern yet, so Let This Stand for future Rowena – 3/8″ off each back princess seam please!)
I spent some time on pattern placement. This is way more obvious on the left cup than the right. I’m pretty happy with the colour combinations, as chosen over the internet, as well. And the flowered fabric, which I didn’t intend to buy.
(OK, that’s a story I probably do want to tell. I bought this fabric from Pitt Trading in Aus, and my experience with that was pretty mixed. They sold the fabric for a good price (+1 point) and when it came it was good quality (+1) but I had to change two of the fabrics I ordered – I ordered about 5 different fabrics, for me and two sisters – because they were on the website but no longer available (-1) and we had some emails back and forth that they took as long as a week to reply to (-1). It ends out even, I guess.)
In my ever-so-lengthy bramaking experience (three. Including this.) underwires truly are the most fiddly step of bramaking, and foam cups do make them more difficult. Foam cups are worth it if you’re going to be swimming in this and nothing else though. Definitely. And I really like the edge finish on the cups you get (you see that lovely 1/8″ line of fabric on the edge of the cup? Beautiful).
A personal style musing – I’ve never worn a bikini before in my life. I love this one. I still feel like there’s a good amount of coverage, but I also feel absolutely stunning. I feel this pattern does all the good things for my curves. I am not self-conscious swimming in this, and I do feel beautiful. (Side note – recently I’ve switched from feeling self-conscious and ashamed when people mention my belly – which is a surprisingly common occurrence – to feeling angry. My body is not their business.)
That’s enough for today. I’ll leave you with a photo of my most beautiful plants – ka kite ano!
(Another time I’ll talk about medicine and becoming a doctor, ok? I have many thoughts)