This swimsuit was a massive challenge for me, mostly stemming from the fact that it’s not a swimsuit that offers a lot of bust support. Heather did suggest making view B for more bust support, but to be honest it’s not really my style, and I was terrified about the prospect of side boob.
I cut out a straight size 16, after consulting with Heather, because my measurements matched those of the 16 exactly. Unfortunately, despite me being free and easy with the seam allowances (my sewing machine hates 1/4″ allowances, ok?) it was still too big. I did briefly try on the lining to check the fit, but the lining was so flimsy and stretchy that it was impossible to tell how it would fit when it was all sewn together, so I just hoped for the best. I took in the side seams another 5/8″ each, since they were the only seams I could really get to easily, and although this improved the problem, it didn’t altogether eliminate it.
Does this swimsuit make my butt look big? Answer: Yes, yes it does. The gathering on the bum area tends to droop down and sag at the leg opening, which isn’t a very flattering look.
The gathers don’t work well across my belly, either – they tend to slide to above and below my tummy curve. I’ve heard of people having this issue with a particular Vogue dress that has gathering across the bust – it tends to slide to either side of the boobs. I know bloggers have fixed the dress problem by wearing a slip with it, or adding an extra piece of material to the bust area. Since neither of these fixes can be applied to a swimsuit, I guess I’m doomed to slippery ruching.
With regards to bust support, I very nearly threw the whole thing in the bin and gave up on it. I tried lining the bust with foam cups I cannabalised from a bra and sewing a strip of elastic under them, but it really didn’t help at all. I just had better-shaped floppy boobs! I took all that out, and tried on the swimsuit with an old strapless bra. It looked so much better, but it wasn’t until I saw Heather’s post on support issues that I thought about sewing it in to the swimsuit.
I cut off the hooks and eyes and sewed the back band halves of the bra together (mine was an old bra from when I had a 38″ band, I’m now a 34″ so I could afford to lose some of the band), and then I sewed the whole thing into the swimsuit, straight through the lining and main fabric. I know that was a lazy way to do it, but you can’t see the stitching on the outside, really, and there was no way in hell I was taking the whole thing apart to insert a bra that might not even work.
Here is a photo of the inside of the bust part of my swimsuit. I only sewed around the top of the bra, not the bottom, so it’s easier to adjust while I’m wearing it. It doesn’t function as well as a proper strapless bra, because the back of the swimsuit dips down instead of running straight across, so the cups sit a little lower than I’d like and don’t offer as much support. Still, it looks a hell of a lot better than it did before, let me tell you!
One drawback of sewing in the bra the way I did, however, is that the swimsuit is quite difficult to get on over my hips. It’s do-able, for sure, it just takes a few minutes of wriggling! Unfortunately, though, I need the bust part of the swimsuit to be that tight, otherwise again, there’s just not enough support.
I think this project ends my flirtation with sewing swimsuits. It’s just not practical for someone with a large chest, and I think I’d do better just buying a high end swimsuit manufactured for large chests, by Freya or Panache or one of the British brands. But you live and learn, and it sure was fun to make the suit, and I know I’ll get some use out of it this summer!