Pattern Review: McCall’s 4301 Swimsuit or how not to spend $230 on a swimsuit
I was able to get my trusty photographer, Jack, to take some pictures of me in my new swimsuit, despite his headache this afternoon. Are all 5 yr old boys this dramatic? It took quite a bit of coaxing and a promise he could play with the iPad though.
Pattern Description: Palmer & Pletsch Creative Tank Swimsuit with different design details for each view. I chose the simplest one to “muslin” this pattern, View A (but without the 80’s scrunchie and large bangle). I also used the bra and front lining options.
Pattern Sizing: Sz 14 with cup sizes for A/B, C/D and DD. This is an older pattern judging from the envelope art and “accessories” shown as well as the single size per envelope. It’s out of print, but you can find it on Ebay or Etsy. I made the C/D cups and found the FBA to be just the right amount of increase and room.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes! Except for the fact that I did not use a metallic solid fabric.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Very! They are step by step with great tips and suggestions along the way.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
- Loved the simplicity of the pattern
- Loved the different cup sizes
- The instructions were awesome
- I also like that I could change up the design with the other views.
- AND, they included lining options like crotch and bra, bra only or bra and front lining with separate pattern pieces for each.
Fabric used: A print swim suit fabric with 2-way stretch from Michael Levine’s online shop, Low Price Fabrics. Most were about $10/yd, like this one. I bought 2 yds of this one so I could muslin the pattern first. I made the front without the C/D cup pattern piece and there wasn’t enough room for the girls.
Pattern changes or design changes made: As I mentioned above, I tried the pattern without the FBA, but then used the C/D cup pattern piece. Other than that, the only thing I changed was use a wider seam allowance for the shoulder straps by 1/4 inch to raise the neckline.
Any problems encountered while sewing this pattern? All problems encountered were strictly user error. Unfortunately.
- I screwed up the construction order by sewing the side seams too early, but it didn’t cause much frustration in attaching the elastic to the neckline thankfully.
- My serger and sewing machines (both the Featherweight and the Viking Emerald) HATED the swim elastic. HATED IT. I was so disappointed to not be able to use my serger to attach the elastic. It would have been so much faster and the differential feed would have helped to make it look so much more profession. Cidell has an elasticator foot (photo credit to Cidell) and now I think I need to get one. I ended up using the teflon foot that came with my Viking Emerald and controlling the feed by pulling in front of and behind the presser foot.
Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction? I used them all!!! I used the Featherweight for the darts, the Viking Emerald for all zig-zagging, the serger for the construction, and the coverstitch for topstitching of the neck, arm and thigh edges.
Will you sew it again or recommend it to others? Yes, I might make it again, but I did buy a couple of other swimsuit patterns too from Kwik Sew and want to try those out first before I return to this one again. If I do make it again, I will add 1/2 to 1 inch to lengthen the pattern in the torso. I feel like the bodice is drooping a little from stretch to accommodate my length. I do recommend it to others if you can source it. It’s a great basic swimsuit with a lot of different views and lining possibilities. The different cup sizing is amazing and the directions are really worth it.
Conclusion: This is a great swimsuit with different variations to try. Attaching the elastic takes some practice to look professional, but once you have that down, making a swimsuit is super easy. I love that I paid under $20 for swimsuit (fabric and notions included) when the RTW one that just wore out cost me $200 two years ago and now retails for $230 on-line. Sewing swimwear is definitely economical and so worth it. You get to choose the fabric and fine tune the fit. And you don’t have to break the bank. What can be better than that?
And now for some photos of the swimsuit on me. (I can’t believe I’m doing this!)
I’m off to test my suit in the pool. Wish me luck. I hope there are no wardrobe malfunctions, otherwise the construction workers next door will have an eyeful.
Happy sewing everyone!