Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Soma swimsuit and bikini

So I made a swimsuit... and I never thought I would. Then why? Because I had the fabric... good enough reason for me. I won two meters of fabric of my choice from funkifabrics. Originally I had the idea to make a sports bra and some leggings. but when the fabric arrived I knew it had to be a bikini and bathing suit.
The perfect bikini for actual swimming 

So I did what every good seamstresses does and I googled swimsuit patterns, and was blown away with how many seamstresses/bloggers made a bathing suit! (And how many of them posted pictures of themselves wearing it on their blog.)
I had a difficult time choosing a pattern but eventually I opted for the Soma swimsuit by papercut patterns. The pattern is a bit more expensive then what I usually pay for a pattern but since the fabric was free I thought I would splurge on the pattern. And I'm glad I did. The best thing about the pattern is that it has three different versions, a one-piece, high and low waisted bikini bottoms and two different bikini tops.

I only own bikinis because I have never been able to find a fun one piece in my size. Retailers assume you want to wear a bikini if you are a smaller size or are that athletic that you want a bathing suit that is made for swimming laps in the pool but doesn't necessarily look nice. The reason I want a one piece is because I burn easily and a one-piece means one less area to put sunscreen, yes I'm that lazy. I wanted a fun bating suit that fits well and looks good.

Because I had never sewn a bathing suit I made a trial version, from my good fabric. I learned that using the right elastic is important. And I discovered that using good thread does makes a difference. I started with a small bit of thread from my grandmothers stash. The thread was old and apparently that does make a difference. When I was sewing my machine skipped a lot of stitches and when I used the gutterman that I bought it didn't do that anymore. I never finished the top because the finish was not neat enough for my liking. The bottom part looks fine so I'm keeping that one but with an other top, I still have enough fabric to make a new one. 

After the trial version I decided that I liked the other top better so I made that one. I made the top in a size small and the bottom in medium. The top fits well, its a bit snug and that makes it difficult to put it on and of. The bottoms where to big, I was worried that they would fall of in the water so I mad them 3 cm smaller on each side. This suit is lined with an other fabric, a thinner swimsuit fabric that I bought on the market in Maastricht. The trial version was also to big but I didn't make notes and I forgot. I bought it on a whim because I was surprised to find it on a market. I thought it would be super difficult to find. 
The fold over elastic was even easier to find I went to my local shop with the hope of finding elastic in maybe white and black. I was already thinking of ways to dye it. But no I ask for fold over elastic and she pulls out about 15 rolls of of brightly colored elastic. I used the technique that they explain on the papercut blog for covering elastic with fabric. I didn't want to buy an other type of elastic and at first I wanted to use the fold-over elastic for the shoulders straps as well. But that type of elastic was not firm enough. For the bikini I measured them myself and only realized they where to long when I had sewn them on. I thought it was to much work to unpick them so I sew them together. And I like it a lot that way... they are very secure and can't fall of my shoulders whilst swimming. 

I guess this is the longest (rambling) post I have written and I should start working on them sooner, considering that I started working on the first bikini in spring break. 


  1. Oh, lucky you! Funkifabrics has a lot of great fabrics and I always wanted to buy some but never did because of the rather high costs. :/ But some day I will order there, I think it's really good quality fabric, right?
    I like your swimsuit and I'm totally with your reasons why to wear one, but I'm in love with the bikini! :) Great fabric!

    1. Yes I'm very lucky, that is not all I have won on sewing blogs lately... The fabric is amazing quality, the recovery is great and the colors don't fade. 10 days in the sun and the water and it looks brand new! I was so happy with the prints, I also like the fabric from the bikini more. I would advise you to line the bathing suit with a different, thinner fabric otherwise it gets bulky (the downside of high quality fabric).

  2. Hi Nathalie, I came across your post on the soma swimsuit while looking at some examples of the pattern in the internet. I am now working on the soma bikini variation two and yours look really nice. Is it comfortable? Did you use cups for the upper part? Also, I love your one piece swimsuit! Good job! I think I'll try that one next. Medi, www.sewinprogress.com

    1. Thank you! I didn't add cups to the bikini, the cut of the top with the long line under the bust makes it supportive enough without and the fabric that I used was nice and thick. Also make sure you have enough negative ease, if it fits nice and tight it gives a good support. I have read on a other blog (can't remember witch one) that she used 3 or 4 layers of fabric instead of foam cups. But I would not recommend that because on my machine it was already difficult enough to sew over the seams. Good luck!

  3. Good job dear..you looks beautiful .I really like your collection .
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