Posted in sewing

Surf’s Up/ Bottom’s Covered: Jalie 3351 Swim Shorts and Burdastyle Rash Guard

While in Bali (one week to go!)  I plan to take two or three surfing lessons (with a likely needed massage in between).  A friend who did Fulbright in Bali warned me to take a rash guard for lessons. After googling ‘rash guard’ I figured out it was just a tee shirt from swim fabric. I was always so confused when I saw people in tee shirts swimming. Turns out they are great for sun protection and you want a rash guard for surfing so your skin doesn’t get roughed up on the surfboard.

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Armed with this knowledge, I turned to the Burdastyle 7/2014 #113  bike dress pattern I used on my  biking honeymoon to the Netherlands. It has the look of a raglan / sporty style. And, is blessedly already altered for me. I say blessedly, because the last thing I wanted was to feel like I had an ace bandage on my bewbs and this was already FBAd. To make it a shirt, I overlapped the skirt portion and the bodice at the waist, and marked off an additional four inches into the skirt. I think for a ‘traditional’ rash guard that also provides full back sun protection, I needed an additional 8 inches.  Mine is a little too short and shows the white waistband I used on my shorts which tends to make it look like a maternity bottom.  But, for a few days of surf lessons and tubing on vacation, this will more than suffice.

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Alterations: I eliminated the center front zipper (don’t think I’ll need the venting) and didn’t have a more ‘sporty’ zip on hand. For the neckline, I skipped the one as drafted by Burda and used the fashion fabric to make my neckband. I needed this top to be a bit snugger than the cycle dress version, so I was just really generous in the sew line vs seam allowance. Oh, and I shortened the sleeves a bit from my dress version.

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I’m wearing a cup sized bikini top from Freya underneath (god bless you Europe and your 34F sized swimwear). I think I could also easily wear  a non-cotton sports bra and be fine too. Other than being a a little too cropped, I’m pretty pleased with this top. I think it’s also a totally legit coverup option too while at the pool or beach. And, being in a Muslim country (ETA: Bali is mostly Hindu. Indonesia is mostly Muslim) and not feeling 100 about my body, I’m more comfortable in this than my two piece.

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I am an unabashed lover of the Jalie  9796, Multi Sport Skort. I made several a few years ago when I biked to work and ran on a semi-annual basis.  When I knew I wanted to take a surfing lesson in Bali, I figured the Jalie 3351 swim shorts would be cute and coordinate nicely with a rash guard.

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I made a size Z at the waist and graded to a BB at the hip. As I’m really measuring for hip measurement at my thighs (where I am widest) I wish I had gone down one more size at the waist, slightly slimmer at the hip and made a sway back adjustment based on my muslin. But, for some reason I ignored it and just plowed on through. For my actual version, I did shorten the crotch length by 1/2 inch — possibly too much?

The shorts have built in, full-coverage briefs, which I made out of white (with the knowledge that in MILLION years I wouldn’t need the fabric to make a white swimsuit). The waistband uses elastic inside unlike the skort. So, it seems a bit more secure in the water (drag, water weight)

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Usually in shorts I get chub rub with the inner thigh riding up. I don’t have that problem with these. While I like the pockets, I can’t see myself using them for swimming. I suspect things would come out. But, as running shorts, those pockets are legit.  I would also make these minus the briefs as athletic coverups for poolside activities. I think this pattern is a real winner.  Together with the rash guard, I felt appropriate for a Muslim country,  good for water sport activities and doesn’t feel like I had on my mother’s skirted swimsuit from the mid 80s (it was HIDEOUS). Lord have mercy. I just realized I AM my mother’s 1980s age!! Sigh.

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I found myself looking at more swimsuit fabric online when I was done with this outfit. Then I remembered I’ve had this Roxy fabric for at LEAST five years.  My stash runneth over because I still have red, black and some gold swim fabric! That said, a good reason to keep a stash. You can have everything you need when you want it!

PS: We had a “Latkes and Rum Punch” holiday party back in December and my tripod got swept up in the CLEAN EVERYTHING movement. So, selfie stick and cell phone camera are at work here.


Posted in sewing

Roxy Print Swimmers and Elastic Guidance

Here is hopefully my last swimsuit for the summer from my Roxy material.  I know. Three sets in less than two weeks! I’m still tweaking the pattern 🙂

Since I’m changing the width here and there, I thought I would share the Singer Sewing Activewear guide for adjusting elastic below. I reviewed the book in full.

I have both rubber (left)  and swimwear  (right) elastic and I now prefer rubber. It’s much thinner and lays nice and flat. It’s also easier to sew / top stitch through with fewer skipped stitches. I purchased mine from Sew Sassy.

Guide below from Singer Sewing Reference Library: Sewing Activewear

Leg Opening:  Use elastic  2″ (5 cm)  smaller than cut leg opening

Waistline: Waistline, minus 4″ to 6″ according to how snug you want it to be.

Armhole: Measures to cut edge

Neckline: For a snug fit in low, scooped or V neck, use elastic 1″ to 3″ shorter than cut edge of neckline


For knickers, Singer suggests sewing the elastic flat at the front and putting the stretch to the back (so it will grip there). I’m glad I found that tip!


Above is the inside of my top. It’s lined with swimwear lining and has powernet (just in the front for this one) as interlining.

And, for activewear, I think I prefer a zig zag stitch instead of the twin needle stitch. I used a zig zag for the bikini top and twin needle on the bottom.

Finally, there was a wadder in all this swim suit sewing

I tried to make the halter from the same pattern (above). I’ve never been a big fan of halter tops on me. I think I’m too busty and don’t like things that knot around the neck because of slippage and comfort. But, this design was just too much material after my FBA and not nearly enough support. I looked like two small bags of pennies hanging around it there. It was quite sad. Yes, yes. It doesn’t look like it’s low enough in the front, but I had to really pull at the halter straps to lift me up. The design just didn’t work for me.

I said this on Facebook recently. But, for real. If you want to save money sewing, make your own swimwear, coats and underwear. My suits cost less than $10 each. And, they *fit*. I do have RTW swim that’s a bit racier but really like making my own fitness swim suits.

And now, I’m putting away my ball point needle. I have some sewing for hire to complete this weekend and I have GOT to start my officiant dress ASAP.


Posted in sewing

The Olympics Made Me Do It

It appears I sew swimwear every four years.  That’s when I bought the bulk of my swim fabric. I’m an obsessive Olympic watcher and seeing the beach volleyball players and divers make me want to swim.

For this iteration I used a poly lycra Trena donated to me about a year ago. The pattern used is the same fitness top from the out-of-print (OOP) McCalls 8813 and the view E bottoms (string bikini).

On the top, I added another 3/4 inch FBA for a total of 1 3/4 inches. I also took two inches out of the band width to try and get closer to my size. For support, I added power netting and 3/4 inch elastic for the underbust.  I (still) lined the top and lined the front of the bikini bottoms. 

For construction, I used my elasticator foot on my serger to apply the swim elastic and topstitched with a twin needles and my walking foot. The tops definitely has more support now and a bit of compression too. Marta asked if this could work as a sports bra. My best guess is ‘yes’. But, I’ll be honest, my sports bra is a ridiculous $60 affair from Under Armour.

The bottoms… well, let’s just say they are a little early 2000’s high waisted! They are not at my navel, but hipsters are more flattering to my heavy bottom half. Here’s a comparison of my Patrones bottoms with these.

I can’t be bothered to sew a second bottoms right now. But, I want to merge these two patterns. The McCalls has great rear coverage but I like the height of the Patrones.

And if you worry I’m sewing to be sewing… I’m back in the pool. It’s too hot to run and my gym has a really lovely pool. Maybe what this really means is I need to have a beach weekend soon.

Posted in sewing

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!?!

Posted in Uncategorized

Mid Course Correction

I’ve decided to make a different coat for the Coat Sew Along. Why? Well, I’m short the fabric I need to make the full-length trench I had my heart set on and I decided to find a pattern with raglan sleeves since the fabric might be difficult to ease.
Burda Easy Fashion Magazine, Fall 2007/ Winter 2008 edition (sold out from GLP News, but maybe available through GCNEws?
I’m going to make this coat #1F. I’m going to extend the sleeves to full-length. The origami trim will be the reverse of the fabric so I can show off the stripes. Easy Fashion is only available in German and Russian from GLP News. But, I am sure I can sort this out (I have the German edition).

I should get cracking on that muslin soon, hunh?

I also made a muslin of swim shorts today from a 2005 Patrones (July-August #234). It took 5 minutes to trace and 5 minutes to construct on my serger. Attaching the elastic on my zig-zag maybe took 20. I had no idea swim shorts were so easy. It’s just ONE pattern piece! There is *no* side seam!

I’ve always wanted to wear swim shorts, but they never seemed to have enough coverage over the cheeks and always seemed so tight around the thigh (think sausage in casing). There is some wrinkling in the crotch (believe me, the direction of the stripes down there were unintentional) that I wouldn’t mind eliminating. But, I’m not sure the cause.

These were made using some sweatshirt fabric I had laying around.

  • I added 1/2 inch to the length of the leg and two inches to the center back seam to accommodate for my full seat
  • Removed one inch from the center front so they would sit a little lower on the waist
  • I traced the largest size, a 48.

I don’t know that these are the MOST flattering for my body type. But, I love the coverage, the no-ride factor and the sporty feel. I’ll work on a muslin for a top soon.

My water is back on! But, I’m still stripping paint from the front door. Maybe painting by next weekend.