Making any garment is an especially personal thing but the most personal and challenging for me is a bikini top or sports bra. 15 years ago I got breast implants to correct some issues that I had. Fast forward 11 years and I got pregnant which caused me to go from a 34C/D to a larger than a 38E. My boobs are the farthest thing from perfect, there’s scars, stretch marks, sagging, different sizes and on top of all that they’re massive, which makes me self conscious. As a single mom with one income, there is no time or money to fix the issues. Enter the obsession with all things lined with power net or techsheen.
When I saw the Alexandria I instantly got excited but not as a one piece. All I kept thinking was, bikini time and as self conscious about my post-baby body as I am I also realize that I am the sole role model for my son. The person who will teach him how to be a gentleman, respect and appreciate women. He doesn’t care about all the imperfections that I see because in his mind I’m a pretty awesome mom and this awesome mom needs a bikini!
So let’s start hacking
Then I realized that these pieces come to my belly button and my ginormous milk pillows do not allow for a simple “fold under with some elastic”. I would need an actual band and then what do I do about the back? So I started cutting, I cut to the patterns ‘shelf bra’ line omitting the elastic because my boobs would eat the elastic (have I said that I love powernet?!).
Cutting it down was perfect. That line was exactly where the flounce ended. I did add the elastic with my super awesome elasticator foot then I followed the same enclosure method as I showed in February in this blog.
I used tie strings that I cut 1.5″ x 20″. With 1.5″ non roll elastic for the back. I made the casing by measuring my back in the places it would sit. My almost 4 year old wouldn’t help with this part so I took the back of something I already had and measured it. Don’t forgot to measure it in a few spots since the elastic bands (two of them) will sit in different spots on your back. I cut the casing 4.5″ wide and 15″ long for the bottom band and 14.75″ for the top band spacing them about 1″ apart.
Before topstitching and finalizing this I tried it on. Now, I would say the typical “ignore the mess” but let’s get real. My life is messy! It’s filled with monster trucks, hot wheels, nerf bullets being shot at me, hair in a bun, sewing in my underwear while doing laundry, drinking a Diet Coke, trying to keep my sanity all while trying to drown out ‘Ryan’s toy review’ playing in the background
After I had the proper fit, I basted the front enclosure, I crossed over everything minus 2″. Now be forewarned, there were ten, that’s right 10 layers! to baste through. I basted with my serger, lower the tension, go slow and have some extra needles on hand just in case. The other option is to tack down the crossover and cut out all the extra fabric, which I’ll be doing on my next version. After basting I folded under and topstitched everything.
With an excited 4 year old , we jumped in the pool and put this top to the test. It’s sitting very high in my pits, I noticed this with majority of the other pictures that I looked at too, and I decided to revert back to my topstitching technique that I normally use.
Next step is to improve this version to fit me even better so stay tuned. If you’re interested in seeing this within a video just please post in the Facebook group and ask for it.