Royal Blue Beauty

Posted by Heather Hawkins

Are you guys loving Phee Swim Week so far? I know I am! I love seeing all these beautiful women in their gorgeous swim suits! The idea of sewing swimwear can seem scary (just like posting pictures of yourself in a swimsuit on the internet is!). But it doesn’t have to be! This Mama Camilla swim suit is only the second swimsuit I’ve sewn! Though, I do have a lot of experience sewing dancewear and gymnastics leotards.

Using quality fabrics will help your swimwear sewing go so much smoother and Phee Fabrics has a lot of quality fabric to choose from. For my suit I picked this gorgeous Royal Blue Circular Knit. I wanted to have fun with the color and try something different than the usual black bathing suit. I lined it with Nude lining which helps give a bit more coverage and makes the suit extra comfortable. Both the circular knit and lining feel great against your skin and are very smooth to the touch.

Circular knit is a great choice for sewing swim suits, not just because of its moisture wicking properties, but it’s easy to work with! It won’t curl and isn’t super slippery. I highly recommend using a rotary cutter instead of scissors to cut out your pattern pieces so you get a smoother edge (especially for the edge of the flounce as it’s not hemmed). I still like to use a lot of pins or clips while sewing just to keep my fabric right where I want it. And don’t be afraid to baste before stitching (especially if using a serger) to ensure everything is lined up.

Since this was my first time sewing the Mama Camilla I did sew a practice suit to make sure it was going to fit before using my good fabric. I found that even though I am shorter than the height the pattern was drafted for I liked the length without the ruching that the pattern calls for. I’m all torso and very short legs, which is why sewing my own swim suit is awesome! I can never find ready to wear one piece suits that don’t give me a wedgie!! So, what I’m trying to say is it’s a good idea to make a “muslin” and to try the suit on throughout the process. I did the same with the elastic lengths to be sure they were tight enough, but not too tight.

So, what are you waiting for? Order some delicious Phee Fabrics and get started on your swimsuit! You’ll be amazed at how you’ll feel in a great fitting, made by you swimsuit!!

Using Lingerie Sewing Patterns for Swimwear

Posted by Nicole Voegele

Hi. My name is Nicki and I can’t leave well enough alone! As soon as swim week was announced I was immediately thinking of all of the lingerie patterns I have purchased and sewn recently and how awesome those designs could be as swimwear. After trying to convince my trouble making self to use of one the many swimwear patterns I already own for over a week I gave in and ended up using not one, not two, but four lingerie sewing patterns to make my own swimwear mini capsule all out of Phee fabrics!

It was a whirlwind week of sewing but in the end I fell completely and totally in love with using lingerie patterns for swimwear and I am here to show you how you can do it too! The best part about using lingerie patterns to make swimwear? The patterns require minimum hacking but endless potential for unique and custom swimsuits!

Choosing a Pattern

First things first, we need a pattern to work from! When choosing a lingerie pattern to make into swimwear the main things you need to consider are fit (i.e. coverage) and support. I am a firm believer in people wearing whatever makes them happy but there are laws dictating how much of the body can be shown legally (bummer, right?!) so make sure you are choosing a pattern that won’t get you arrested (Unless that’s your goal. You do you boo.) and that you feel confident and comfortable in from the start, it will make all the difference in the end!

So what lingerie patterns lend themselves well to becoming swimsuits? In theory all of them but some will be easier than others to manipulate! Personally, I have had the best luck converting soft bra patterns, like the OhhLuLu Jasmine or the EvieLaLuve Willow bra, into swim tops and there are so many great free panty patterns available online that make great swim bottoms as well (Check out this post on for my five favorite free lingerie sewing patterns for some of them!). The use of underwires and channeling is an advanced lingerie technique so if this is your first experience sewing lingerie I would avoid those for now but just keep in mind that they are an option as you progress and underwire swimsuits are AHHHMAZING!

The second thing you are going to need to consider is support. Support can mean a lot of different things but for the purposes of keeping this easy let’s just focus on breast support for now. One of the biggest advantages of learning how to transform lingerie patterns into swimwear patterns is being able to use stronger elastics, underwires, and specific construction techniques to make the most supportive and flattering swimsuit possible for your unique body. If you fall on the smaller side of the breast spectrum this may not be as big of a concern for you but if you fall on the lager side look for patterns that have large under bust elastic, fuller breast coverage, and a wider back band to offer the most support. If tummy/bum support is more your game, look for one piece options, like the Jamie Bodysuit (pictured below) , or high waisted pantie options like Maxine from Evielaluve or the Ava Panties from OhhLuLu.

Adjusting the Pattern

No matter what pattern you choose, be ready to make a couple practice pieces (or more!) before cutting into your good swim fabric. Just like with any other kind of apparel sewing the right fit is key to a perfect product and not every lingerie pattern is going to fit every person right out of the package.

I would recommend making your first practice piece (or couple of pieces) for whatever pattern you choose out of the fabrics recommended by the pattern to get the general overall fit right and then make another practice piece, or two or three, out of swim fabrics before using your “good” fabrics. The stretch percentages between lingerie fabrics and swim fabrics can be very different, which could cause the swimsuit to fit differently than intended. There are some lingerie patterns I have had to muslin seven or eight times before getting the perfect fit so don’t get discouraged if it takes you a while, it is all a part of the learning process! Personally, I have found a consistent need for sizing up at least one size when switching from lingerie fabrics to swim fabrics when using lingerie patterns for swimwear. If you need help fitting bra or panty patterns the Bra Makers Forum group on Facebook can be a great place to ask questions.

Since many lingerie patterns are basically swimsuit shaped to begin with, you may not need to make any adjustments at all to make swimwear out of your chosen lingerie patterns beyond swapping out the types of elastic you use. If the pattern you choose calls for picot elastic, plush backed or regular, like most do I am going to very, very strongly encourage you to swap that elastic out for either fold over elastic (I like to buy in bulk from amazon) or swim specific elastic. Picot elastic just doesn’t hold up to salt or chlorine like these other types of elastic and nothing is worse than your beautiful swimsuit stretching out because you used the wrong elastic. Trust me.

If you are using swim specific elastic and can find it in the same width as the called for picot elastic you won’t have to make any changes at all to your pattern which is a total win and probably the easiest way to get started. If you can’t find the width of swim elastic that matches the width of the picot elastic, you will need to widen or narrow the pattern seam allowance to match the elastic you can find BEFORE you cut out your pattern pieces. Remember you will be folding the elastic in so you need to adjust twice to get the same end result. Example: If the pattern calls for ½ inch picot elastic and you can only find ⅜ inch swim elastic you will need to remove a total of ¼ inch of seam allowance from each edge where the picot elastic will be, ⅛ for the initial elastic attachment and ⅛ for when it is turned under and topstitched.

PS if you need help attaching swimwear elastic, check out this swim week SAL video!

If you don’t want to use swim elastic your next best bet is to use fold over elastic, or FOE. FOE is a great option for when you want a pop of color contrast, a sportier look to your suit, or are making something that will be fully reversible. Using this type of elastic almost always means altering seam allowance, however, which is off putting to some people but I promise it isn’t hard at all, again it is all about the math!

FOE doesn’t get turned in on itself like picot elastic does so if you can find FOE the same width as the called for picot all you have to do is take that same amount off your seam allowance. Example: if your pattern calls for ½ inch picot and you have ½ inch FOE elastic to use, then you need to remove ½ inch of each edge the FOE will be used on.

If you do not have FOE the same width as your pattern called for in picot you will need to remove the called for width plus or minus the difference in what you have versus what the pattern calls for. Example: The pattern calls for 1/2 inch picot elastic and you have ¼ inch FOE elastic, you will need to remove a total of ¾ inch seam allowance, ½ inch for the unturned area and ¼ inch for the difference in elastic widths.

Okay maybe it is a little complicated but that is what all those practice suits are for right?!

Beyond elastic, any other pattern adjustments you choose are totally up to you! You might consider adjusting the back closure of your suit top from a traditional hook and eye, which totally work and you do not have to remove if you don’t want, to a traditional swim style closure or adjusting to have no back closure at all. Or you may want to play with different strap options, crossovers, or widths to change the feel of your finished pieces in a big way or even mash different patterns to get a totally unique to you look. Both are super quick changes to any pattern but make sure you are practicing before you start cutting into those good fabrics!

So there you have it, the quick and easy breakdown of using lingerie patterns to make custom swimwear. If you have questions, I am always available to help but really there is no better way to learn than just to dive right in and get started! All of the patterns I mentioned above are tried and approved by yours truly so start with them if you are a bit nervous but have fun exploring this whole new world of sewing! Give it a try and I promise you be sewing your own swimsuits, and lingerie, in no time!

Want to see all seven of my Phee swimsuits from lingerie sewing patterns and how I made a completely reversible Made for Mermaids Mama Bridgette bikini top? Be sure to visit me at and let me know you came from Phee!

Sewing Swimwear for the Vertically Challenged

Posted by Mary Kaye Cole

Welcome again to Phee Fabrics Swim Week! I hope you are enjoying our blog posts here on the website and our posts in the Phee Fabrics and Phee Fabrics Sewalong FB Groups!I recently tested the Mairin Ladies Swimsuit by Sew A Little Seam. I used the Navy and White Matte Stripe Nylon Spandex and the Coral Nylon Spandex Tricot and came up with a very cute, somewhat nautical bikini with a ruffle neckline and bottoms that don’t accentuate my flat butt!

Easy Peasy! Right?





What in the world was a vertically challenged beginner swimwear sewing seamstress who loves ruffles but hates to sew them thinking when she signed up to test a bikini with a ruffle neckline? Apparently she was not thinking. But in the end it was a great learning process for which I am so grateful. Had it not been for the fact that I was testing, I might have gotten frustrated and walked away, giving up on fitting something that required altering multiple pieces. If I had given up and walked away, I wouldn’t be able to show you this photo of me walking away in my cute little somewhat nautical swimsuit! I crack myself up! Ignore me.

So this non-thinking, intermediate seamstress but beginner at swimwear sewing, pattern testing seamstress is going to share her bikini top fitting journey with you. Let’s start with all the things that make me vertically unique. I’m all of 5’ 2.5” on a tall day. I have a short shoulder to bust apex measurement, a high waist, a sway back and a short torso overall. We won’t talk about my horizontal challenges because that’s a whole different blog post!

Since this was my first time testing for Sew A Little Seam, I decided I should make the pattern exactly as drafted and written. Any time I test for a designer I’m not familiar with, I do this. Different designers use different blocks and that can definitely affect fit. Fit issues come up in testing…that’s part of why we test. But when I find myself having fit issues others aren’t having, that is when I start looking at my unique body and how the pattern fits in the areas affected.

When I made the pattern exactly as drafted, the first thing I noticed was that the binding for the ruffle neckline was way to long. So I shortened it. And I shortened it some more. Still I had this.

This was prior to adding the elastic to the neckline. The binding to elastic ratio was 1:1. To accommodate for my binding that was still too long, I shortened my elastic to slightly shorter than the binding. But that wasn’t enough. The straps felt loose and it pulled the armscye too high under my arm.

Isn’t that Raspberry Circular Knit gorgeous with that Black Circular Knit? Glad I have enough of the raspberry to make another like this! Off topic, I know. But Phee’s Raspberry Circular Knit is my favorite fabric EVAH!

Back to our saga…I talked with the designer about my concerns and she asked a few questions and came up with a solution that made me go “GAH!!!! Rookie mistake.” When determining what adjustments to make, I had completely neglected my vertical trunk measurement. My VT is 56 ⅝” but the pattern is written for a VT of 58 ½” – 60” depending on which of my horizontal measurements you are looking at. We decided I should take 1 ½” height out of the bikini top based on my VT measurement.

So that’s where I started. But when I folded my pattern piece to remove the height, I realized that wasn’t going to leave near enough room at the thinnest section of the back to accommodate the bra band elastic and a ⅜” seam allowance for the binding. So I used 1 ¼” instead. This is the area where I removed the height.

I thought all was good and I started construction. When I added the ½” elastic for the bra band, I realized once I folded this under I was going to be sewing my binding (and thus ruffle) on the bottom band of my bikini top. Not good. So I ripped out the ½” elastic (not the only ripping I did that day unfortunately) and used ¼” elastic instead. That turned out to be a good compromise. The thinnest portion of the back band is still thinner than the ruffle, but I think given the circumstances this was the best solution.

So I have my bottom band on and I get my bra cups sewn in. Time to baste on the neck binding and check that. With the neck binding basted in place, I realized I still needed to remove a small portion from the binding (and therefore elastic), but I kind of expected this considering (1) I have to make an adjustment in height from shoulder to bust apex in most patterns and (2) I had to remove a significant amount of length from the neck binding for my muslin.

Now for the easy part! I have all my adjustments made and all I need to do is sew on my elastic and ruffle/binding. Easy part my left foot! My sewing machine decided to show out! I adjusted tension, I rethreaded, I adjusted tension again, I even cleaned the bobbin area despite the fact that birdnesting is a sign of an issue with your top thread but I gave it a go, I rethreaded again and I adjusted tension again. This is the best she would give me.

That bitch!!! I finally gave up and said, “You win. I just cannot rip out any more bird nested triple stretch stitch today.” Luckily I have already finished the bottoms and actually didn’t have to make any vertical adjustments for the bottoms (or sew in any bird nested elastic stitching). I could have made a slight adjustment to the bottoms to accommodate my sway back and in the future I may. But I found that the cut of the crotch to provide enough coverage that I can adjust them slightly differently than I’m accustomed to when putting them on and they stay put without showing anything that ought not to be seen.

So anyway… I gave my sewing machine a stern look, tucked in all my loose threads, threw on my cute new somewhat nautical bikini with the bird nested top stitching and said “Hot Hubby let’s go take some pics!” And so we did!

Yay! You read the whole blog post! I appreciate that and hope you found my saga helpful. You deserve a one day sale on Black and white Stripes and yellow tricot.

Head on over to Phee Fabrics and buy your swim fabric, grab theMairin pattern at Sew a Little Seam and make those short girl adjustments!!! Or tall girl adjustments! Or whatever adjustments you need to make! Then post your beautiful suits in our Phee Fabrics FB Group! I bet they’d love to see them over in the Sew A Little Seam FB Group as well.

Happy Sewing!

Mary Kaye

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this blog are affiliate links. This means if you click this link and buy something I may receive a small portion of that sale.

New Challenges, Bikinis, and Ageism

Posted by Rachel Garza

I did it, y’all.

I made my own bikini.

Plaid Fabric: Nylon Spandex || Lining: White Techsheen
Notions: Amazon

One of my Me-Made-May 2018 goals was to create something that I’ve never made before. Phee Fabrics issued the challenge and made it easy to find all of the fabric that I would need. Jalie provided the pattern and amazing instruction. Wine gave me the confidence to take these photos.

{Just kidding… I didn’t really drink. Much.}

In going through this process and preparing for Phee FabricsSwim Week, I’ve been more aware of the gorgeous women in my sewing groups – real women – of all ages and body types, rocking their “me-made” swimwear with confidence and glamour.

What really takes these swimsuits up 10 notches is that they are custom made to fit each individual’s curves – or in my case, lack thereof. How lucky are we, as members of this international sewing community, to have the basic skills to make our own swimwear?! We’re not confined to the pre-sized boxes that the fashion industry tries to place us in!

It’s pretty darn empowering. And soooo much easier than I expected.

In my heightened state of swimwear awareness, I was pretty upset by the recent ageist drama over the Instagram post of 47-year-old Kelly Ripa in a bikini. One comment read, “Kelly’s gorgeous, but isn’t there a cutoff age where age appropriateness comes into play? Just because you can rock a bikini, doesn’t mean you should.”

I’m sorry, what?

Having just turned 40 myself, I began to reassess everything… is there some implicit code of swimwear appropriateness for women over 40? Who makes these rules? Would I suddenly be shunned at the pool for my love of playful prints, obnoxiously bright colors, and – yes – bikinis?

That moment quickly passed as I came to my senses and, ultimately, felt really sorry for the person that posted that comment. Age isn’t really the issue here. You know she’s struggling with her own ready-to-wear swimsuit. Gaping cups, see-through fabrics, and bottoms that ride up are definitely worth getting mad about.

I’ll think about her as I’m rocking my own wedgie-free bikini on the beach this summer… at the age of 40.

No more excuses, ladies! You can do this, too. Visit the Phee Fabrics blog during Phee Fabrics Swim Week to see more inspirational swimwear, read about others’ tips and tricks for sewing your own, and buy all of the yummy fabric you need to make it happen.

Go forth and make yourself a swimsuit!!!

It all started with a spray tan and a dream: Or How I Learned to Sew Swim Knit and Not Hate Myself; a photo diary.

Posted by Alyssa Moser

As of a week ago, I had never sewn swim wear. I mean not even repaired it. For the last five years my tankini has had a shoelace as a neck strap because I lost the real one…. That is how much I avoided swim knits.

Let me start by introducing my background. I’ve been sewing, practically forever. I’m 38 and learned to sew by hand in Brownies – probably around 7 or 8 years old. I would sew the buttons back on my school uniform blouses, and when I wasn’t stapling them back together, re-hemmed my uniform skirts. I was around 9 or 10 when my mother gave me a rudimentary lesson on her sewing machine. I was hooked. I have a very vivid memory of going to my grandmother’s house when I was about 10 and making my mom an apron for Christmas. It was green and white striped with lace. She still has it!

Fast forward to undergraduate – I went to UCSB as a theatre major! I was a playwright! (See this so isn’t my first foray into long windedness). As a theatre major one must be well rounded – meaning everyone had to take costume shop. I took mine the quarter of the musical – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas! We were to spend 2 weeks (TWO WEEKS!!!) on a sampler…. I finished mine in about 25 minutes. But that 10 week quarter is when I began to learn about pattern drafting, sewing with various fabrics, and making fun things!!

After graduation I began to work in film. My dreams of working as a camera department PA were dashed after the last pre-production meeting where-in it was discovered I was the only female PA and wardrobe needed help…. Apparently men cannot touch clothes….. Well that job led me to several other wardrobe jobs, including the one that is the point of this rambling.

I got my first gig as a costume designer on a low-low- budget horror film set in the desert!! We are a week in, and the props department is having one hell of a time finding a tent that is burnable. See, in pyro, the stuff they burn has to qualify under a wide range of standards. Plus the director has to like it. Well the decision came down that it needed to be created, but the prop girls didn’t sew. So, I drafted a pattern and sewed up a tent out of a pyro approved canvas in a crappy motel room overnight! The next day, they burned it! Yay! Then the director realized…. They didn’t get the establishing shots they wanted…… and a wind storm was rolling in, so production was going to be halted for an hour or so anyway.

That day I spent an hour, outside, re-sewing a tent, in gusts up to 80 miles per hour.

This swimsuit intimidated me more than that tent! (I TOLD you there was a reason for the ramble…..)

But I decided it was time to just do it. So, I scoured the interwebs!! I saw some really cute option, but knew that bikinis were out – no one needs to see me in one. A skirt I wouldn’t wear, and I’m too flat chested for the cute ruffly ones – someone might mistake me for a toddler!

Then I found one!! It was perfect! It was rated Intermediate, but I’ve sewn formal wear, so I can do intermediate (she says as she crosses her fingers behind her back). Behold – The CKC Patterns Freya!!

Now, I am pretty familiar with several PDF pattern designers. Meaning I hoard them like a magpie hoards shiny baubles. I HAVE sewn a few, I promise, but I own WAAAAY more than I have sewn. This was my first foray into CKC Patterns. I was not disappointed.

As per, The Fraya is a one piece retro style suit, with an optional ruched front body and optional hi low skirt. The neck options include cross straps or a halter. I chose to do the ruched body, no skirt, and a halter.

One of the great things that CKC does is give you a cut list for rectangular pieces! No pattern pieces to print, just measurements! How brill! Brought me back to my costume shop days. I got to play with my tailors chalk!

Ooh that reminds me – as this is a photo diary, I am going to show some hints and tips as well things I have picked up from the goddesses of the needle that I have encountered over the years. These are the brilliant women (and men, but mostly women) that have guided me through the craft over the many years I have been sewing.

For this project I used about 1 3/4 yards of black nylon spandex, and 1 yard of black swim lining from Phee Fabrics.

Let me talk about the fabric for a hot second. Prior to this project I have never sewn with swim knit nor swim lining, but I spent 13 or so years as a competitive swimmer and swim instructor, so I’m familiar with swim suit material. This sh*t is goooood! It isn’t see through, isn’t flimsy. It also isn’t too thick. The lining fabric is lovely quality as well! I have texture issues, and this didn’t rile them at all. So Phee Fabrics gets an A+ from this pool gal.

Here is where I broke a rule. I didn’t pre-wash. Pick your jaws up off the floor – I know!! It’s horrible 😉 I could pull out all the excuses, but I didn’t have time. I won’t be putting a swim suit in a tumble dryer EVER!!! If you do this – STOP. It is horrible for you swim suit and shortens the life span of it. If your suit is SPF rated, it reduces the SPF rating!!!


First step – pattern prep! I always gather my supplies:

Snacks, iced tea, and my current binge of choice! My tip– if you are a PDF pattern virgin, figure out what you prefer – tape or a glue stick. I am messy as all hell, so I use tape 😀

I am currently binging HBO’s The Wire: Idris Alba, Michael B. Jordan (at like 16), and so many “wait, wasn’t that guy in…” actors. It’s amazing. Between this and my favorite podcasts (“Crime in Sports” and “Small Town Murder”) I keep my ears and brain going when I create!!


So – I have all my bits and bobs together, Omar and Jimmy are working with the DA’s office to bring one of Stringer’s mopes down, and all is right with the world. I start by checking my print.

Every PDF pattern has a little box to check the scale of your print to make certain it printed in the proper size and scale. Usually it is a 1 inch by 1 inch box. If it is an international pattern, it can be a 4 cm by 4 cm box. My tip – DO NOT measure with a tape measure. They stretch. Use a ruler, it will be most accurate!

Though my fat finger (with a cute mani left over from my little bro’s wedding) is covering the 1, my box measured properly.

Don’t short yourself and skip this step, because you might actually short yourself, and a pattern off just 1/8th of inch can compound and be off up to a size, depending on how many pattern pieces there are!!


And Spiro is meeting with “The Greek” down by the wharf. This season was so stressful!!

Here is the first goddesses of the eeedle tip, from the genius stitchers I have learned from over the years: have paper scissors and fabric scissors. Paper will dull the hell out of your fabric scissors. Those orange and grey suckers I bought on Amazon for 2 for $4.75 or something. Yeh, I’m cheap. Or frugal….. more points in scrabble.

Now by this point you should know what size you need. I’m a red hot mess when it comes to sizing and I will fully admit it. I’m flat chested, but I’m chubby (technical term). I recently lost around 30 lbs, which just made the divide between my chest and hips/midsection more awkward. The upside of this pattern is that THAT’s OK!!! You pick a cup size and a body size! How rad is that?!?!?! When I first measured myself, I was between an XL and a 2XL, with a B cup. But because I am in mid-weight loss adventure, I decided to re-measure myself, because I was on the border. Good thing I did.


I cut out the XL pattern pieces. This pattern had the 5 curved pieces. And the straps were extra measured pieces.

I selected the halter option, so I cut 2 4 inch by 24.5 inch pieces of the swim knit.



Another AMAZING element of this pattern is the long torso adjustment. See, I lost the genetic lottery in the leg length department too. I’m 5 foot 5 with about a 26 inch inseam. The off the rack inseam for 5 foot 5 trousers for women is usually 32 inches……. But boy does my torso make up for it!!!! Yay!!

Now the term girth has different connotations, depending on where it comes from….. I’m keeping this PG rated……

For this pattern, girth measurement is around your torso, the long way. You start on your shoulder blade, go under your crotch, over your front, over your shoulder, and meet at your shoulder blade again…… It’s a window closer measurement if you’re doing it on your own. I’m sure I looked awesome doing it. Thank goodness my bunny can’t verbalize her judgy remarks.

My girth measurement was 5 inches longer than the girth chart for the XL (chart not shown). What that means, according to the pattern, is that I needed to add 2.5 inches of length at the “torso length adjustment” line on the front and back pieces.

This was the easiest pattern adjustment I had ever made….

I just took scrap paper from cutting out the pattern….


What…. You thought I wasn’t gonna show every step??!?

Check out those oh so straight cut lines….. yeh, I’m not a paper-cut-ologist….. kindergarten was a long time ago.

So, pattern is cut out in the right size, we have our long ass torso adjusted for, Spiro is being extra shady and dealing the Nick now instead of his uncle, but Jimmy and the gang are getting more wire taps, so we’re good to go!


Now, my pattern cut out methods may make some people cringe. I’m slightly old school. I don’t use pattern weights. I use clips and pins. Clips are even really new-fangled for me. My big tip – before you even start cutting – get all your bits and bobs together. It sounds silly, but it’s efficient. Make sure you have the right tools. I checked my items and realized that the black thread I thought I had, was a dark navy. If I had waited until after I cut, the shops would have been closed. I sound like a home ec teacher, but I speak from the experience of a sewer burned!!

The goddesses of the needle tip here – ballpoint needles!! Certain fabrics deserve special attention. Not all, but some. Like some dates deserve your fancy perfume and some get the Bath and Body works spray – This fabric gets your Electric Youth perfume! Don’t use the Sweet Pea on the swim knit….. Am I dating myself yet?

I tend to print out the instructions for patterns I will use again or for patterns that are more complicated. I knew this was going to be more complicated, so I printed them out to have at hand.

This pattern called for swim cups. Mine were a different shape than those shown in the diagrams, but swim cups all function the same.

Swim elastic – this was available at my local Joann Fabric. This is different than typical elastic in the way it looks. It looks different because of the underlying differences. Swim elastic is meant to stand up to chlorine, sun, salt, and sunscreen. Yep, sunscreen. It’s a b*tch on elastic. It protects your skin, but it can degrade elastic. Many lotions can.

This pattern required the body pieces cut on the fold. I could have saved fabric and rearranged, but I didn’t think about that til too late, and the East Side Boys were beating up up Ziggy and setting his car on fire….I was distracted…..

Another goddesses of the needle tip – use your iron!!! When a pattern tells you to press something – DO IT!!!!!!! It makes for a cleaner final product and it frequently makes future steps much easier! Also – make sure you put it on the correct heat setting. As this swim knit is a nylon spandex, I set my iron (filled with distilled water – goddesses of the needle tip) on synthetics. You don’t want to melt it!!


Holy crap it’s finally time to sew……2100 words in. See – I told you I could be long winded! Now I frequently stitch without pinning. It is a horrible habit, but it’s a tough one to break. BUT I did it right with this one. Because I really didn’t want to eff it up!

And as I never do anything half way, much like Jimmy McNulty driving up to Jersey to get that poor Russian girl ID’d, I pinned the hell out of this!! And I sewed slow, watching my stitches carefully.

When sewing with knits, you don’t want to stretch when you stitch. If you do, it gets wonky. Occasionally, it is difficult not to, but you try to avoid it. The upside of swim knit – it’s a lot sturdier than cotton knit!! Meaning – it’s easier to sew without stretching. Even around curves! The tight curve of the tie was a bit tougher, but the bust curves were gravy!

Now the bodice of this suit has a notch for the tie to go through. The pattern calls for it to be hemmed. Hemming a tiny notch of swim knit is like trying to get Omar to turn over his shotgun and stop holding up the boys in the towers….ain’t gonna happen…..or is it?

The goddesses of the needle have a trick to hemming icky fabrics or excessive amounts of fabrics. I tried it on the swim knit and it worked like a charm. Stitch a line approximately ¼ inch from the edge of the fabric, fold over at that line twice, press at that line, pin the hell out of it, and stitch!


It creates a nice arched notch. It appears to stand out, but remember, there will be lining, a lower portion added, and several other elements added to this section.


My most used sewing tool is my seam ripper. Without a doubt. It is also my most lost sewing tool. Correlation? I have not a clue.

Why do I speak of such things here? Well….. see Nick was going freelance with Spiro and “The Greek”. Sh*t got wild….. Ok not really. I just got a little crooked.

But Nick did go freelance with Spiro. He should have just stuck with Frank. Seriously.

Back to the suit. The cups were pinned to the wrong side of the lining. Then stitched around the edges. Not too difficult. I laugh in the face of not too difficult.

The goddesses of the needle always taught me to check, double check, then check again before construction of complicated pieces. Now, I pinned the cups “in place”, or so I thought. Then I checked placement, then I stitched, then I checked placement.

I apparently moved them when I was stitching. It happens. THAT is why the seam ripper is such a handy tool….. I removed the guilty cup, re-pinned, re-stitched.

SYMMETRY ACHIEVED!! I attached the bodices to the body pieces at the bottom of both the lining and the outer fabric.


The next step is VITAL!!!!! This is not only a goddesses of the needle tip, it a gospel! FITTINGS!!! If you don’t have your subject, and it is your first time making a fitted pattern, have their specific measurements. And I mean ALL of their measurements. And make a muslin of it. A muslin is a fully created item, in a cheaper version of the fabric, usually in a similar or identical fabric content. I fitted the top on me….It was a bit too narrow…..

See why fitting is so important? The nylon spandex of the outer material stretches about 75%. The lining stretches less than 15%. These cups are sewn into the lining, and are about 1 ½ inches too narrow. So what do I do? Scrap the whole thing like Col. Rawls wanted Lt. Daniels to do to the whole team trying to crack the docks case? Hell no! I’m just as crafty as those Baltimore PD detectives (I am trying to swear less at least!) I added a small triangular panel in the center bust.

I started with cutting a 2 ½ ish inch vertical slit in the center front.

I fit it up against my chest, to make sure this opened up enough for my lumberjack chest (just kidding, I’m built more like a linebacker than a lumberjack!).

It fit!

I stitched in a nice little triangle of lining fabric. It isn’t perfect. It’s almost perfect….. IT’S THE LINING!!!! Let us never speak of this again…..

But remember to FIT YOUR ITEMS!!! Or make a muslin, and then fit it. That way, you don’t ruin your pretties.

IT FITS!! The tiny adjustment made a huge difference. And it didn’t take very long. Ziggy only had time to screw up his life with a duck!!

Seriously. A duck. It had a rhinestone collar. He brought it to the bar. THAT was pretty wild.

Back to the swim suit!!

So we have a lining and an outer suit that fit appropriately across the chest. Now on to the decorative ruching!


This suit has an optional ruched front body panel. The instructions were not exceptionally clear, so I added ruching to the back as well…. I wasn’t supposed to, but I didn’t realize that. What is ruching? Ruching is an old French technique of gathering fabric. Simple as that. It sounds scarier than it is. It is usually gathered on both sides, so the gathers appear down the middle, creating a three dimensional look, and emphasizing contours of the form. It also hides a bunch of sins!

The first step of any ruching is a gathering stitch! I opening up the length of the straight stitch on my machine and ran it about ½ an inch away from the edge of the fabric.

I then pinned the halter straps to the lining bodice, sandwiched them between the lining and outer layers, and stitched the upper edges together.

The next step is the gather the gathers on the gathering stitch. Got that? My best advice is to lay the piece on a flat surface. It took a bit to make the ruching even. You want it to be even across the piece. Now this suit has a lining. The lining is also ruched. If I make this again, I will omit the ruching on the back piece and omit the ruching of the lining. It added a bit too much bulk. It isn’t seen and I feel it is superfluous and a waste of lining fabric.

When your ruching is even, it must be stitched into place. I used clips to hold the gathers, and then ran a zig-zag stitch over the edges, approximately ¼ inch from the edge. Make certain the final, post gathered length of the side seams of the front and back pieces match up.

There are a LOT of clips, but nothing moved! After everything is gathered and stitched, I stitched the side seams. Just a zig-zag down the side will do.


Now that the majority of the structure is complete, it is a good time for another fitting!! The crotch is still open, but if the suit is too short, now is a GREAT time to figure that out (adding length to a crotch is EASY when it’s still open!!).

Well hot damn, that looks like a swim suit!! This is where I realized that the ruched lining is unnecessary. I could have taken it all apart, and shortened the lining, but it was about 2:45 am (as the hair and lack of make-up will show), and I was okay with a ruched lining at that time.

I was NOT playing a dead body in the morgue on The Wire, but I was almost done with Season 2, and I was almost done with the suit!!


What? You thought I was done with lame, outdated, pop culture references? I’ve been referencing a show that went off the air in 2008. I could be worse; I could have been watching Buffy or Veronica Mars…..

I stitched up the crotch pieces, easy peasy… and now the most terrifying (or annoying) parts of sewing knits are bands. Necks, legs, arms…..they’re frustrating. These were surprisingly different.

And not in the “I swear I’m different now” way that an old boyfriend swears he is. These here leg bands went smoothly. They are a double fold over, but also double stitched. This is important, because swim suits that I have had in the past, the first place loose threads occur – the leg bands.

Now, what the hell do I mean by double fold, double stitched? Well it’s like this…. The elastic is stitched to the lining and outer fabric (a zig-zag), then folded over, and stitched again! Now, I clipped the elastic, gently stretching it as I went, and stitched slowly  tips from the goddesses of the needle that I follow every time I sew with elastic!!!!

Now, when you follow the rules of the goddesses of the needle, you end up with nice (not perfect, because my zig-zags are never perfect, which is why I never got promoted to goddess….) leg bands that look like they belong on an actual swim suit!!


The last step is putting the tie on the bodice. Now, this is easy. Tie it up all pretty through the notch! Easy as pie, cute as a button!

And most important bit – ONE FINAL FITTING!! I know what you’re thinking, “enough with the fittings already” but what if the legs don’t fit?! What if one leg is tighter than the other? See? These are real life drama problems! I know Omar isn’t coming through the front door to rob drug dealers sitting on my couch (there are NO drug dealers sitting on my couch!!!), but if those leg holes are too big, that could be ugly!!

And it fit! All is well and good!

Overall, this was a lot of fun!! I started out thinking it was going to be like sewing a tent in a windstorm, but it was WAY easier!! And I didn’t end up with sand in my hair either!


                                                Some final overall pictures:


Adding a Powernet Panel


I recently tested the Oasis swimsuit by Ellie and Mac, it has a halter top with a strappy back and two rise options for the bottoms. I hacked the suit a couple different ways, adding a powernet panel to the center front, withholding the leg elastic, and adding a band to the top of the bottoms instead of the elastic.

I lined the whole front with powernet, thanks to my 2 under 2 I need all the help I can get these days. Haha So…

  1. I cut out two full front bodice pieces, one from the leopard and one from the black powernet.
  2. Then I chopped the leopard down the center so it was two pieces.
  3. From there I measured out an inch from the center on each piece of the leopard and cut off that fabric. The top gives the illusion that I only used the powernet to do the center panel but hacking it to be able to use powernet in the whole top gives SO MUCH support. Did you see my cleavage? You might have to really look but it is there thanks to the powernet LOL. I haven’t had cleavage since 2015.
  4. Alright so after you have trimmed down your leopard I folded that center seam under a half inch and clipped. You can do your opening as big or small as your comfortable with. I have a pretty wide back so the 3 inch opening in the front wasn’t a lot for my stature.
  5. I then laid the leopard pieces on top of the powernet piece on their respective sides basted around the outsides edges to make one piece.
  6. The last step is to top stitch the leopard to the powernet where you previously fold it under and you’re done!

You could do this hack with any of the colors of powernet or techsheen which means the possibilities are basically limitless!