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Sticker shock

2012 July 27
by elizabeth_admin

So now that I live on the left coast and have easy access to scores of beaches and a pool, I have come to the realization that owning only one swimsuit is not gonna cut it.  My current suit, a brown one piece with rushing in the front, is over 4 yrs old.  It’s a great style for a post baby style with the ruching, but it was expensive.  I just looked online for something similar and the prices were astronomical, like $230 for less than one yard of fabric.  How is that sane???  Maybe I should get into the swimsuit biz — seems pretty lucrative.  Hmmm…

But it got me to thinking.  A while back I won a giveaway that Wendy put on for a swimsuit pattern and I dug it out of my pattern box this morning.  It’s McCalls 4301 an OOP pattern.  I asked my sewing group on Facebook if I was in for a huge learning curve with specialized sewing skills in making swimsuits.  Everyone said it was pretty easy.  So I think will attempt it.


I can see that it’s available on Ebay and Etsy if anyone wants it.  It’s a pretty basic one piece which is what I want.  I think I will add ruching to the front at the side seams.  I will use view A as my starting point.

This morning I found some swimsuit fabrics on the Michael Levine online store.  They had a pretty decent selection.  I bought three pieces and some solid fabric for lining.  Click on the pictures for links to the Michael Levine site.






I also bought some swimwear elastics from Sew Sassy, 3/8 inch cotton elastic (for the arm, neck, and leg openings) and 3/4 cotton elastic (for under the bust).

Now I just have to wait for it all to arrive.  *tapping foot impatiently*  I think I will distract myself with a simple knit top today because it’s my birthday!

Happy sewing everyone!

18 Responses leave one →
  1. July 27, 2012

    Ahhh, Happy Birthday! I admire that you’re going to sew swimwear, I’ve never tried to sew a bathing suit in the past even though it has crossed my mind. Your fabric choices are lovely. Have a great time sewing!

  2. July 27, 2012

    Comming out of lurkdom to say Happy Birthday. Looking at your home pictures you have a beautiful place to celebrate

  3. July 27, 2012

    Happy birthday! I love vintage envelope art. The perky posture and permed hair (speaking about the model in the lower left with striped top and solid bottoms) remind me of this little gem from Drew Barrymore when she hosted SNL a few years ago:

  4. July 27, 2012

    Happy Birthday Elizabeth!!! and happy San Diego living!!

  5. M-C permalink
    July 27, 2012

    Swimsuits are pretty easy if you’re used to sewing with knits. But if I were you I’d start with a pattern that has a hope of fitting a specific size. Jalie, Kwik-Sew.. And the great vintage Stretch and Sews if you can get them. But not McCall..

  6. July 27, 2012

    Happy Birthday! I hope that you have an amazing day. And look new sewing journeys to take…I bet you’re turning out swimsuits by the dozens!

  7. Betsy Hockaday permalink
    July 27, 2012

    While I would love to make a suit, I have had good luck with Hapari Swimwear ( and they are having a sale :)!

    The beach in Coronado is wonderful!

  8. July 28, 2012

    Happy birthday!

    I’ve never made swimwear, so I look forward to hearing about your adventures sewing it.

  9. July 28, 2012

    Hope you had a great birthday!

  10. Judi permalink
    July 28, 2012

    Of course you can make a swim suit….you make everything else! Happy birthday weekend!!

  11. July 28, 2012

    I recently picked up M5400 because it had cup sizing. YEARS ago I took some stretch sewing classes that included swimwear. One of the tips I learned was to get the swimsuit wet in the shower before you considered it finished because things can stretch and sag when wet and there may be more adjustments. Other than that, they are quite easy. Have fun. Happy birthday.

  12. MsMcCall permalink
    July 28, 2012

    Happy Birthday!

    I also second the advice: use a Kwik-sew pattern! I used a McCalls swim pattern first, and it almost put me off the whole enterprise. I bought a kwik-sew pattern and I’ve made it up 3 times! They really are worth the trouble and expense for instructions and good drafting. Once you’ve done one or two with Kwik-sew, you’ll be able to get through the crappy instructions in the McCalls without too much fussing.

  13. July 28, 2012

    Happy birthday! is having a Kwik Sew swimsuit sewalong at the moment. She’s made up a few lovely swimsuits. Can’ t wait to see.

  14. July 29, 2012

    Oh happy birthday to you happy birthday tooo youuuuuu (I’d sing it but really you don’t want me to!). Here’s to new swimwear for way way way less than $230. Oh and I’d go Kwik-sew too. Definitely.

  15. Jan permalink
    July 30, 2012

    Happy Birthday (again!) and I can’t wait to see these suits. Great fabrics.

  16. July 31, 2012

    Happy (belated) bday! I love that your move is taking you i9n a new sewing direction too!

  17. July 31, 2012

    I’ve made a few swimsuits for myself and my girls. I highly recommend Kwik-Sew…they have a current pattern with a ruched belly…I made two. It’s great! I actually wouldn’t recommend the style of suit for the pattern you have, considering you’re a little larger busted (and ummm…mature, like me!). The Kwik Sew style has an underbust seam which gives good support and not the boobs mashed to the chest look of the one piece tank style. The hardest part of sewing swim wear is that every fabric is different, as far as stretching and what it does when wet, so that can make it tricky for fitting. But it’s worth it!

  18. August 1, 2012

    How did I miss it!? Happy belated Birthday Elizabeth 🙂

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