Coast-to-Coast III: One Down, Two to Go!

Dear Dana,

I absolutely ADORE the suit you finished for Goose! Super cute, and so motivating for me–I can’t slack off now, since you’ve already got results! I did have a realization, though, that once I’d stitched my suit, I’ll have to *gulp* try it on, and I’m thinking today’s not the day. So I did a little side-trip to the least threatening (meaning: most forgiving) of the three suits I have planned: Miss M’s, our three-year-old.

She is thrilled, beyond all measure. I like the overall shape, which I drafted as you did: Sharpie and guts. This might be as close as my pattern-loving heart ever gets to bungee jumping, but I felt so rebellious and unfettered!

I used my machine’s stretch zigzag stitch for the major seams

and then finished them off with the serger.

My copy of Fabric Savvy recommends using wooly nylon in the loopers with the serger, but I used our regular thread and it seems to have retained the necessary stretch. I’m not super certain what the wooly nylon is meant to achieve–do you have any idea? I’ve never used it before, but have a few spools I inherited from Sandra, so obviously it’s something used by Those In The Know.

Elastic: I went with standard elastic, right out of the stash. I love that you had no trouble finding the good stuff, but when faced with a whole other trip to the store with three kids in tow, I determined that our swimming in the lake and at the beach, with the occasional Slip-N-Slide (like today) was unlikely to dissolve the standard elastic before she outgrows this suit. Since it’s sort of a prototype anyway, I’m hoping my laziness works out for us!

The straps are constructed of two strips of the same fabric, folded in on the edges and folded again. They seem to have plenty of stretch and the fit was pretty simple to adjust.

Next time, I’m thinking an adorable ruffle or maybe some kind of pleating. I love what Su did on hers, and can totally see a girly detail like that for these dots.

Things that worked:

  • Rather than making casings for the elastic, I stitched it on the inside and then folded it over, and stitched again. This is how I used to do my diaper covers, and it’s always worked great.
  • I finished with a twin needle, which I hadn’t used before, and am really happy with how professional it makes everything look.
  • Following the curve on the template swimsuit gave a nice shape to the back–her last suit fit like a sack, and I wanted this one to follow her body a little better, mostly so there would be fewer places for sand to hide. Seems to have worked well!

Things I’m planning to improve for the Beta version:

  • The original suit has a little gathering at the neckline that I didn’t gauge accurately, so the new one gapes just the teensiest bit there, but overall I’m super pleased with the results. The gape at the neckline really bothers me, even if she doesn’t care at all. I think a ruffle there would help, but I’d also like to give the elastic a little more stretch.
  • I took WAY too few step-by-step photos. Am already planning out the suit for our teen, so I’ll be better behaved on hers!

Looking forward to seeing what you’re cooking up for yourself! The weather here is scorching, so I’d best be getting busy on my own. The girls begged and begged me to join them under the hose as we were taking photos, and I was sorely tempted. Once I’ve got my sassy new suit, I won’t have a reason to say no!

Talk to you soon,

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  • Jess
    August 6, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    How great is that swimsuit? Can we do this again next summer? Seriously? too bad I already hit up old navy for more than enough swimsuits this year…

  • dana
    August 10, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    yay! CUTE! It turned out great. I'm debating if there's going to be a Beta Version in my repertoire. :).
    Great tips, great info, great photos! Fun!