Whim Swim Sewing: OOP McCalls 8813

I have no idea why. But, I was going through my patterns, found this old swim pattern and just decided to make a fitness swim suit and was done in less than two hours. I have ‘regular’ swimsuits purchased recently from eBay. They are underwire bikinis and great for fun time at the pool. But, not great for swimming laps. I have to highly recommend eBay if you are a non-traditional US size (i.e. small band, large cup). Those Brits and Germans make some really cute swimmers (Freya, Panache).

The swim top is an Out of Print (OOP) McCalls 8813 … such an old pattern. It comes in one size per envelope with the seam lines marked on the pattern. I’ve only seen that in vintage patterns! I bought it in a size 12 years ago after seeing Trena’s review of the bottom. LOL. I wasn’t even friends with her when she made the bottoms.

The pattern comes with A/B and C/D cups. I used the C/D and made a 1 inch FBA. Based on the envelope, I should have sewn an 8 on top. But, I bought this pattern in a 12 before I understood FBAs. So, when I make this again, I’ll reduce the band size by about two inches, add another 1/2 to 1 inch in the FBA and use power netting. I need the support. For the underbust elastic I used 3/4 inch and the upper bust 1/2 inch.

Actually, next time I might make the princess seam halter version. I have so much swimwear fabric and this was a quick make. It was all very slapdash. I was too lazy to get my twin needles and don’t have two spools of black (well, really dark grey since I’ve been out of black for a minute) thread that I zig zagged stitched for the topstitching.

Interesting note. I was complaining about the lack of swim lining in a one of my new suits and a friend said she’d never had a swim suit that was lined. Whaa?? Who would buy or even sell an unlined swimsuit!?!


  1. Love your bathing suit! A suit with cup sizes – what a great idea. I agree on the Brits knowing how to make a supportive bra top (and bras). My bathing suit tops are Panache and Freya. Good stuff.

    I am off to blog about the bikini top I made my daughter tonight. She is a DD/DDD, an I didn’t have a cup sized pattern, so I just winged it!

  2. Wow you brave girl – you look great though! I actually have the same pattern however mine does have multiple sizes, so I think it’s a bit newer.

  3. I agree about unlined suits – but I have definitely seen people wear them! My 8-year-old daughter tried on an unlined suit once and immediately declared it “inappropriate” and it wasn’t even wet – I took the opportunity to point out what was causing the problem and now she always checks suits for linings before trying them on.

  4. Come to Australia, most swimsuits aren’t lined. Then go to this link http://wickedweasel.com/en it will give you an idea what the beaches are like where I come from! You look great, by the way and your swimsuit is as cute a a button.

  5. Cute bikini! The pattern for the top can be used to make a regular sports bra, right? Maybe with wider shoulder straps.

    @carol OMG, the tagline “barely covering girls” is spot on!

  6. I make unlined swimsuits on purpose. Why ever would you line one? If your background isn’t chalk white nothing much shows. Besides I use my swimsuits to swim in water, not to tan near it :-). But I much prefer a suit that dries quickly and doesn’t bunch up. And as a seamstress I much prefer to sew a single layer.
    Perhaps you don’t have good quality swimsuit fabric? elingeria is good, I’m sure there’s good stuff in the US too. If you get.no-lycra poly knits that resist chlorine, they’re heavy enough not to need lining. Get yourself a Jalie pattern too, while you’re at it :-).

  7. I love your suit, it’s super cute.
    I had one type of bathing suit without lining. I had to wear it as part of the uniform for work (lifeguard/swimming instructor) in high school. The fabric did not stretch like regular swim wear, it did not go sheer. It actually developed holes before ever getting remotely sheer. The big problem was that there was no cling to them and thus no support at all. None. Women got into the habit of wearing a sports bra underneath.

    • Yes. I can see that! My one piece suits have no lining and NO support. That’s why I decided to start wearing fitness two pieces. I guess the more fashion fabrics come a little thinner.

  8. Catalina swimsuits manufactured a suit in the 1980s that was BEAUTIFUL: a white maillot with a huge orchid printed on the front. I knew the commercial artist who painted the design for them. She later saw someone local wearing the suit at her apartment’s swimming pool — and she was so proud to see her work on a real body! — until she realized that the suit was unlined. When it was wet all you could see was the orchid, shiny and glowing on what looked like a naked body. She had not known beforehand that this was the intended effect (and maybe Catalina didn’t know, either). I have always chosen reliably opaque fabrics for bathing suits since then. Usually I do line them.

  9. Wow. Just…wow. There are some bikini waxing specialists in Australia making some serious cash. Sadly, I am 3 times the age of anyone in any of those pictures and I have the body problems to prove it-I’ll take some lining and some structural support too, please! LOL-and nothing sheer!

  10. Love this! I just bought another swimsuit pattern during the Kwik Sew sale, even though I don’t need a suit. I need to find some swimwear fabric, though.

  11. Hmmm, funny. Now where did you get the idea to make your swimsuit this week? Especially after saying you just bought two on Ebay. 😉

  12. FEARLESS — that’s what you are! Both in your sewing projects and in posting your bikini shots. the swimsuit turned out great. Linings in swimsuits? If the color was NOT light, there often was no lining except just the crotch. Until they invented those power-net tummy-holding linings – something you definitely DO NOT need!
    Maybe I just never bought high end suits until I needed the tummy-thingy.

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