No one likes to play favorites. Actually, some of us do. I don’t know about you but with a closet and dresser full of clothing (er, BURSTING with clothing) I still find myself going to those “faves.” You know what I mean: The only pair of jeans you look for in the stack, the “go-to” tank and that perfect dress!
They are the MVP’s of my wardrobe and I realized that this is true for my swimsuits. I love a simple black bikini , and in fact I have owned one that I always go back to since 2007!!! This might be because it was the same time I lost some weight as an adult and changed my lifestyle to keep it off (even now 🙂 )
But everything has a season and this swimsuit has run it’s course. It was time to move on but this time I wanted to sew my own! I basically sew all of my clothing (aside from socks – I own a pattern though of course, lol!) and I know that #memade will always fit better than RTW at this point. But there are SOOOOO many swimsuit patterns and I feel like every time a new one releases I want to buy it (most of the time I do 😉 )
Well the idea of making a ton of different sets was overwhelming, so I decided to start with the bottoms. I actually have a few different styles of RTW tops I like for now that will go with a plain black bottom. I wanted to try out a variety of styles and cuts to see which I liked best and here is what I found.
Sew a Little Seam – Mairin Swimsuit – Low Waist, Mid Cut Leg – https://www.sewalittleseam.com/product/womens-mairin-swimsuit-pdf-pattern/
Patterns for Pirates – Minute Maillot – high cut leg (hacked for bottoms only) – https://www.patternsforpirates.com/product/minute-maillot/
Swim Style – Celeste Bikini Bottoms (high cut mid cheeky) – http://swimstyle.com.au/product/celeste-bikini-pattern-women-xs-to-3xl
Ellie and Mack – Oasis Swim Bottoms – High Waist – https://www.ellieandmac.com/collections/adult-swimwear/products/womens-oasis-swimsuit-mix-match-pattern
5 oo 4 – Ultimate Bikini Bottoms – Low-rise, High-Cut leg – https://5outof4.com/product/ultimate-bikini-bottoms/
I used @pheefabrics Black ciruclar knit and swim lining for all of the bottoms except for the Ultimate Bikini Bottoms. For those I used the last scraps of my Navy Tricot that were left after last months sew here. The circular knit has great stretch and recovery as well as coverage. I honestly do not think you would need to line them, but I did in order to be consistent with the pattern instructions.
All 5 patterns were written well, sew up in very little time, use minimal fabric and notions and fit true to size based on the charts and my measurements. Most had various rise and leg options as well as coordinating tops, if I decide to be brave and start on those soon! You really could make a drawer full of bikinis with just these patterns and a couple of yards of fabric, lining and a elastic – all available at here (affiliate).
So did I find a fave? Well, I think I figured out some styles I prefer. I have never owned a high leg cut suit but really love the way the P4P Minute Maillot bottoms cut on the legs. The waist needs a bit of tweaking, but I am not good at hacking patterns so this is something I can definitely work on. I also like the more cheeky cut of the Celeste but would not want to wear them if I was chasing a toddle at the pool or beach. However, these would be my “go-to” vacation bottoms. The 5oo4 Ultimate Bikini Bottoms and Sew a Little Seam Mairin were closest to my O.G. ready to wear and I can see why – they feel and fit like a classic bikini underwear does for me. Not too low, not too high – just enough coverage to make me feel like I can run around or lounge and catch some sun.
Lastly, I know some swim fabric can be tricky to work with – it’s thin and slippery. Not the case with the circular knit from @pheefabrics! It is a great introductory fabric if you have never sewn swim, and while I have a serger and coverstitch machine, I sewed these patterns almost exclusively on my regular machine!
I hope that this helps show the variety of patterns and options out there and that you too can find your new “ride-or-die” bikini bottoms!