Finally, some photos of my finished Bombshell!
I LOVE this swimsuit, and I love this pattern!
I really enjoyed sewing this, and the pattern and instructions were really easy to follow. Given that this is only the second item of clothing I’ve sewn, and I’ve never sewn with stretch fabric before, I was really please at how quickly and easily it came together. I also really love the shape and the cut of the swimsuit, and the extra coverage it provides, particularly as the places that I seem to catch the sun most on holiday are all around the edges of my bikini bottoms – this covered all those bits up nicely. And I just think it looks great!
My measurements put me spot on the size 10 of the pattern. I made a toile of the lining to check fit, and also see if I needed to shorten the body at all. I decided to shorten it by about half an inch, just at one of the shorten/lengthen lines. I didn’t bother shortening the outer layers at all as I figured I’d just end up with slightly more gathering instead!
I got everything I needed for the swimsuit in Fabricland in Reading. I think the fabric cost me about £4.99/m, lining £5.99, and swimsuit elastic for a mere 8p/m! I think that, in all, the swimsuit probably cost me about £20 to make. And given the I couldn’t get. Decent bikini for that price when I was looking, I’d say that’s a bit of a bargain!
The bikini cups – man those things caused me problems! I bought some when I bought my fabric – it was a little hard to tell in the shop what size I needed, but got some that looked about right. But the shape of them was just…weird. They were way too shaped and pointy, and there was basically no way that they were going to fit me. I had a look in all the other local shops I could, but couldn’t find any more anywhere (they all had multiples types of shoulder pads, but no bra pads!). So I decided to try and get a bikini top from a charity shop and dissect that. That wasn’t easy either – most charity shops only seem to sell bikinis if they are new and haven’t been worn, which means there are very few available! Finally managed to get myself one for £3, which I proceeded to chop up.
These ones were much better. Had almost as many issues pinning them in place (carefully!), and I then couldn’t get my fabric to ‘smoosh’ flat so that it moved with the cup. I eventually gave up/got it as good as I could, and sewed them in. They look fine, but I discovered when I wore it that I’ve actually sewn them in a bit low. I also think I could do with a bit more support in there. Unfortunately, one end of the gathering thread snapped, after I’d finished the edge and put the elastic in. I didn’t have the time (or the inclination) to take the elastic out again so that I could re-do the gathering, so I tied it off and hid it with the bust tab, and just hoped it held up! I think I’m going to completely re-do the bust when I get time. Looking at the photos, I realise that it looks fine, but I just wasn’t overly happy with how it felt when I was wearing it.
I decided to encase the crotch seam on the swimsuit, which Heather Lou gave some instructions during the sewalong on how to do if you wanted to. I wasn’t bothered about how it would look inside, but I knew it would probably annoy me when I was wearing it. I couldn’t quite figure out the instructions initially, but I got my head round it in the end. It looked something like this when it was sandwiched together before I sewed the crotch seam.
The only slight change I made from the pattern instructions was to add a bit more stretch into the elastic at various points. I originally did one of the leg holes with the 70% suggested (after a section with no stretch), but when I tried it on, but buttocks just did not feel ‘cupped with love’ as promised! So for the other leg, I took an extra 4cm of the elastic once I’d marked 70%, and that felt much better, so I ripped the first one out and re-did that the same. I also realised that I’d topsitched the first one when I shouldnt’ have, as it’s done all in one go later, so I corrected that as well. I did add stretch to the elastic around the top – about 80%, as suggested, although it did stretch slightly more as I was sewing it. I kind of wish I’d put a bit more in, especially under the arms, as it felt a little loose. Having said that, I didn’t notice so much when I was actually wearing it on holiday, so perhaps it was just me being overly pedantic when I was making it!
The straps on my swimsuit have also stretched a bit as I’ve worn it, but I think that’s due to my fabric. Unusually (I think), my swimsuit fabric is actually thinner than my lining fabric. I might re-do the straps with lining as well, to make them a bit more resilient.
True to the name of the boat, we did see some dolphins on the trip, swimming along the bows. Unfortunately, my camera chose that moment to completely mist up on the inside of the lens, so all of my photos of them are just a big blur :(
I really put the swimsuit through its paces on holiday – swimming in the pool, the sea, jumping off boats, snorkelling, floating round in a giant rubber ring…and I’m pleased to say it held up really well! And Marcus did a wonderful job of capturing all the escapades on camera. Incidentally, I love having a waterproof camera!
The suit is an absolutely perfect fit, although it’s not one to put on in a hurry/when your skin is already damp/you have slightly burnt patches around the bum area – I did find myself having to wriggle into it rather, I don’t think my seams have much stretch in them, and the gathering makes it a bit hard to pull on from the outside! Fits like a glove once it’s on though!
I am also really pleased with my overlocker, which I used to do most of the seams on the swimsuit – it works beautifully, and I can see myself getting a lot of use out of it. When doing the centre and side seams on the back pieces, you end up with one overlocked seam on top of another one. When I did the centre one, I realised I hadn’t lined it up close enough when doing the second one, and as a result, some of the first one was visible in the seam on the outside. I fixed this by just going over the seam again, a bit closer. It happened a bit on the side seams as well, but I didn’t bother going over again – I didn’t want the seams to get too chunky, but they’re also pretty much hidden by the gathering on the outside.
As well as the swim suit, I used the overlocker to do a rolled hem on the edge of the chiffon I’d bought to make into a sarong. It was really easy to set up to do the rolled hem – about 4 hours before we needed to leave, I sat down to try and figure out how to work it, less than half an hour later it was all finished! I used a drop of seam sealant on the corners to stop the edges coming undone. This held up well, and provided me with a little protection from the Greek sun!
And now unfortunately I am back home, and back at work, and despite the fact that it is (unusually) hot and sunny here at the moment, our office is so highly air conditioned that I sit there with goosebumps! Oh to be back on the beach again! Luckily I have another excuse to wear my swimsuit this weekend, and if the sun decides to hang around for a while (fingers crossed!), it will see a good few outings more this summer.
As an aside, I even managed to have matching toe nails and swimsuit this holiday! Quite by chance actually, my sister, who is a beauty therapist, did these gel nails for me a few weeks before we went away, before I’d even bought my fabric! A month on, and they’re still looking great! If any of you happen to live down in the Christchurch/Lymington/Bournemouth area, and want any waxing, manicures, pedicures etc doing, do look her up at Pure Mobile Beauty Therapy – she’s just handed in her notice for her part time job to do this full time, and I’m a little bit proud of her :)
And if you need any more convincing that you want to sew a Bombshell, you can see all the other beautiful Bombshells which have been created over on the Flickr group.