In case you missed it, last week I shared a post about sewing my first ever swim suit as a tester for the brand spanking new Take the Plunge swimsuit from Patterns for Pirates that I was completely in love with. Its a one piece swimsuit with about a million different styling options and was a heck of a challenge for this newbie to swimwear. Throughout the test period I made four different suits, two of which were complete goners, and I learned a lot along the way that I wanted to really quickly share with all of you!
- Basting is so not optional – When a pattern suggests basting layers together, I will admit I usually skip that step and go right to sewing. Call me impatient, call me lazy, call me whatever you want but I really dislike basting. I learned the hard way a couple of times that basting when it comes to swim fabric really isn’t optional. Swim fabric tends to be slippery beyond belief and without basting your suit will be a hot mess in no time! ( Trust me, this is what ruined one of my suits!!)
- Buy the right dang elastic – 3/8 of an inch or 1/4 of an inch, swim specific elastic is what your pattern is going to call for and for the love of all that is good in the world bite the bullet and buy the right elastic. If you want all your bits and baubles to stay in your swim suit come beach day this is so important! Swim specific elastic is also designed to stand up to chlorine better than regular elastic, that is why it’s more expensive and so important to making swimwear.
- Pattern weights and a rotary cutter are your best friend – Once again, that fabric is slippery and if you’re anything like me attempting to cut it out with pins and fabric scissors is going to leave you with misshapen pieces and a strong desire to yell a whole host of inappropriate words. Using some pattern weights (or Diet Coke cans if you’re cheap and a caffeine addict like me) and using a rotary cutter and mat to cut the pieces out will give you much better looking pieces and make it much easier not to move the pattern around when you’re cutting.
- Take your time – Go slow, check your seam allowances, pre-stretch your elastic, read and reread the instructions. Seriously. Do it. There will be a lot of layers going all sorts of different ways and you will mess it up. It happens. But taking your time to double-check what you are doing and can help you avoid so many heartaches and so much wasted fabric.
- Leave your iron put away – Ever smelt burned spandex? It’s not pretty and the smell lingers for hours. Just do yourself a favor and don’t even bring out your iron, swim fabric doesn’t need to be ironed anyway. Promise.
There you have it! my five best tips for other newbies to sewing swimwear! Anything you think I missed? Let me know below so we can spread the knowledge!