Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The 3 C's of a Modest Swimsuit

Today is our last day of school.  Hallelujah!!

Our pool pass is purchased and we're ready to go.
With all the FABULOUS weather we've had here over the last couple months
here in MN we started making swimsuits clear back in March.

More than a few weeks ago when I was having daughter #1 try on a tankini top that I had put together
we came up spontaneously with the 3 C's of Swimsuits (or modesty in general)

Cute, Comfortable, and Coverage

With all the swimsuits we make that is exactly what we are aiming for at our home. 
I might also have to add a 4th C:  constructed well.

We tried out this new pattern:  Kwik Sew 3672, which I have had in my stash for some time.  We love this skirt--used it earlier this Spring on all the Chevron skirts--but hadn't yet made the top.

Love it!  This is probably our new favorite tankini top.

It is probably the most comfortable tankini top ever.  Technically it is an "activewear" pattern--like a tennis top or for yoga, but I'm telling you it makes an awesome swim tankini. The coverage is so great and it sews together rather quickly too.  It is very similar to this Land's End tankini top, which I am going to use for inspiration on a couple alteration ideas including some color blocking on my next tankini.

I had to try it out on my daughter first to see if there were any kinks in the pattern that I would need to adjust before making this for a custom order I had.  The only changes we made were to add length (that is the norm around here) and then included bra cups along with the bra shelf.

I've already made 5 of these--one each for daughter #1 and #2, 2 for me and one for my custom order, who has already worn hers, loves it and wants another one.  This might just be our new go-to tankini pattern.

Hamming it up for the camera--showing off the swim bodies.

Here are what their swim short will be like that match the tops.
I didn't make them put them on for the "shoot".

And here is the top on a not-so-skinny-minnie: a.k.a. me.
We're wearing sunglasses to be incognito.

Ahhh!'s going to be a good one.


  1. Thank you for this inspiring blog.. we're getting rid of our pool this year and I'll be forced to swim at the community pool.. with my own pool it didn't matter what I wore.. now I have to come up with new suits that are the 3 C's you mentioned.. I'm going to dig through my patterns for a nice top like you're making and shorts to go with them.

  2. I really like that top! As a busty gal though, I've never worn a suit without some sort of bust structure/seaming. I wonder what it would be like to wear this sort of suit? It would certainly be a lot quicker to sew....maybe it would be good for in our hot tub anyway.

  3. Have you ever put bra cups in a swimsuit? I made my first tankini top but my daughter wants more coverage than just the shelf lining. Any suggestions?

    1. The bra cups that I use and can get quickly are ones from Jo-Ann's: Soft molded bra cups. I put them into bra shelves for myself and my oldest daughter (15 yr. old)

      Usually I get the shelf put in and the suit mostly, if not completely done, and then have the person try it on and then position the cups as best I can where they need to be.

      Carefully pin it in a couple spots while the person is wearing it and then after they take it off you can see where they should be sitting and adjust a bit here and there.

      I just use a zig zag stitch and sew the bra cup to the lining.
      Sometimes you will have to stretch the lining a bit to have it all fit where you want. That's fine.

      Adding bra cups to a fully lined suit can be a little more difficult, only by the fact that you'll have to hand sew the bra cups in or line it, still add the bra shelf (thus ending up with 3 layers of fabric at the bust) and then put them in.

      There are other bra cups you can order online for smaller busts and cup sizes. I'll be getting these to use for my 12 yr. old.

      My cousin Tiffany uses these all the time and loves them--for both her 13 yr. old and herself.

  4. Hi,

    Just wanted to say thanks for all your tips on swimsuit and knit sewing. I'm a quilter converting over to sewing clothing and the two worlds can be pretty different.

    I've used many of your tips on suits for me and my two daughters, and recently even made a road trip to Mill End Textiles per your recommendation. The only swimsuit fabric I could find locally was so ugly and matronly that not even my grandma would wear it. So anyway, I drove an hour to check out Mill End. What an interesting mix - part quilt store, part warehouse, part thrift shop! I was happy with my purchases (and still am, really) but was a bit bummed when the cashier told me they had 'bags and bags' of swimsuit fabric in the back that they just didn't have room to display. I almost asked if I could just go back and dig through but I wasn't brave enough! Next time maybe. SO wish there was one in town so I could 'haunt it' like a thrift store.

    Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks to all three sisters who post. Good inspiration for both clothes and quilty things. :)

    1. Which Mill End location have you been to? The one I usually go to in Crystal, hasn't had much selection of anything in the way of swimsuit fabric in the last couple months. Not that I really need any more but I do find it a bit annoying. I like to browse at least. The ladies there at that Mill End are great about helping out and checking the back, at least for me.

    2. Oops! Sorry that above was from me, Renae. I'm at my parents.

    3. I went to the one in Rochester. I live in La Crosse, WI so that one was closer for me than anything nearer the Twin Cities. They had a table of 'regular' swimsuit fabric that was mostly solids and/or a few uglies or things based on whites. (Honestly, who would wear a swimsuit made of white?! Transparent when wet?!) But then we found a bin in the back of 'remnants' which had lots of prints. Definitely had its share of uglies in there but we found a few good ones in the mix. Maybe I'll ask next time if they'll share whatever stash they have in back.

  5. I love how high the neck is, and the support looks like it would be great with the way it comes together in the back. And you look "skinny minnie" to me! You look amazing!

  6. Here's hoping a comment on an old post gets noticed...
    I LOVE these suits. Just exactly what I'm looking for for my 9 year old daughter who is no longer able to find anything that covers her in the store. I've never sewn bathing suits before, so may I ask a few questions? Do you just use regular (quality) thread? Will it stand up to the chlorine? And do you use a pattern for the shorts? Looking for something super simple....

    1. The shorts I've sort of made up my own pattern based off some workout shorts.

      As for thread I just use Coats and Clarks or Guterman. I haven't had issues with thread getting destroyed by the chlorine. Usually the girls grow out of them first or the fabric gets worn first because of use.

  7. just bought this for my first leotard i'm making .............wish me luck...praying I get it right now that i picked up hints on your site I feel more confident thanks



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...