Kwik Sew 3503
Misses' swimsuits have lined front and regular or high cut leg openings finished with elastic. View A is strapless, has shelf bra lining, and top edge finished with elastic. View B is halter style with ties that tie at back neckline and has lined upper front with gathers under bust. I made View B
I used both the small and medium sizes. I'll explain that in-depth below.
(Front view. Excuse the hair, it was a pretty windy day)Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Absolutely, but I changed the bodice so it looked slightly different. I'll go into that later:)
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I have to admit they were fairly easy to follow. I've heard that KwikSew had some of the best swimsuit instructions. They're pretty uncomplicated and written very clearly. In addition to the instructions I did some of my own research and used the following information:
* The Singer Sewing Library Book "Sewing with Knits". There's a great 10 page section in this book on sewing swimsuits.
*Fellow Seamstress websites--I only saw a couple
*Looked at PR reviews of this pattern
(This is the front view. Excuse my modest tugging at the front .)
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
*I liked that the pattern was easy to sew and only consisted of 4 pieces. I liked that I only had to add elastic to the waist and leg openings.
*I didn't like that the pattern was only partially lined (front lining only) and didn't have instructions for bra cups. But I was able to remedy both of those problems myself.
A swimsuit fabric I purchased from Jo-Ann fabrics. Unfortunately I don't know the fiber blend. I think it's the traditional lycra blend. This fabric was great to work with but when I cut it out it rolled up like crazy. This was no big deal, just had to pin it down alot.
(This is the back view. When I took this pic I hadn't yet topstitched the upper back bodice and the legbands since I forgot I needed two spools of thread to topstitch with a twin needle. Can you say brain fart!!!! After a quick JoAnn run I was able to finish the job. You can see my topstitching in the last picture below.)
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Although I really liked this pattern, I made a bunch of changes to put my own personal touches on it and to refine the fit. After making a muslin I noticed I needed to make the following changes:
*When I first made my muslin I cut the size medium. This turned out to be slightly too big so much to the point that the bodice was drooping and the seat of the swimsuit was sagging. So I thought I'd grade down a size and based on Amy VG's pattern review of this pattern added a few inches on the side seam for some additional circumference.
So when I cut out my swimsuit I used 2 sizes. I cut out the size small everywhere except for the side seams and the bodice. I graded up to the medium size on the side seam to give me a little extra circumference in my waist. I use the medium size bodice so that I would have ample bust coverage.
*I reduced the length of the pattern 2". I took 1" off the 2 shorten/lengthen lines marked on the pattern. BTW, I traced my pattern on plastic sheeting (the kind used by painters--I think it was 4 or 7mil thick)
(The 4 Pattern pieces. You can see where I shortened the front and back pattern pieces.)
* I wanted to add bra cups but was puzzled about how to go about it so I went to look at some RTW swimsuits in Wal-Mart. That's when I noticed that the swimsuits that didn't have sewn in bandeau's with bra cups had either the cups sewn in between the bodice fabric and lining or they had bodice's with 1" or so slits in the bodice lining in which bra cups were added. I liked the idea of adding and removing my bra cup so when sewing my bodice fabric to the lining I left open 1 1/4" so I could add bra cups and take them out when I washed my swimsuit.
*I lined the back of the swimsuit as well since the pattern only called for lining the front and the bodice. I don't know why they didn't include the back piece since it was easy to do. Of course I cut out the back lining piece from the back pattern piece and sewed it in the same way. Then I stacked the torso pieces in the following manner, aligning the crotches.
1. placed front swimsuit piece right side up
2. laid back swimsuit piece wrong side up, on top of the front piece
3. laid back swimsuit lining right side up on top of back swimsuit piece
4. laid front swimsuit lining on the very top
(here are the layers pulled apart so you can see them)
(here are all 4 layers sewed at the crotch with a zigzag stitch. I think I did double stitching for reinforcement)
(Once you pull them apart you will see the bottom front of the swimsuit is lined and so is the bottom back. And of course the crotch seam is concealed. I continued with the kwik sew instructions by basting the linings to the fabric.)* I overlapped the bodice 2" or so to give me a little more coverage. With me being shortwaisted, the original plunging neckline was pretty severe.
* FYI these are the stitches I used to assemble my swimsuit: I used the small zigzag stitch to attach the lining and bodice and to attach the lined bodice to the bottom half of the swimsuit. I serged the swimsuit torso front and back pieces together. I also used the zigzag stitch to attach the elastic to the leg opening and waistband and then I used the serger to give a clean finish to the elastic. There was so much stretching involved with the elastic that I felt comfortable zigzagging it in first instead of trying to stretch it and serge it on at the same time. I then used a twin needle to topstitch the elastic down. This was the first time I used a twin needle (can you believe it? ) and I loved the neat finish it gave. I have to admit the topstitching was my favorite part. The only I didn't like about topstitching the front waist band is the blue thread shows through on the lining side. Not really an issue, I'm just being picky!
(Here's the inside view of my swimsuit. You can see the topstitching on the leg opening and the waist as well as the side seams.)Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I definitely will! I really like the style and unfortunately when I initially went searching for swimsuit patterns there weren't alot that suited my fancy. This one stood out because it was refined and sexy without being too revealing.
I strongly recommend this to others, especially if you want to try your hand at sewing a swimsuit for the first time. I would say the most challenging part of the swimsuit was adding the elastic and that wasn't too bad, especially if you're used to handling elastic. Just make sure you get elastic that's especially made for swimsuits since they're better at handling chlorine, saltwater, and every other sewing element better.
This was a great pattern and I learned alot! Fitting and sewing a swimsuit of this style wasn't even difficult. The next time I make this I'll probably add back 1" of length to give me a little extra wiggle room. Whenever you add lining to a swimsuit you can lose a little stretch, especially if you don't use the stretchiest swimsuit lining. Outside of that, I'm super satisfied with the results!!!
Hope this post was helpful and please let me know if you have any questions:)