and it takes A LOT for me to like the style, colour and fit of a swimsuit. With a few changes, this one was good right out of the envelope. It’s a one piece, which I wanted, and it has flattering gathers at the front to hide all evils. I removed the gathers at the back though – I’ll explain that later. The colour … well it’s a wild purple print! Purple is “my colour” as I have discussed before. The sizing was a bit big, I used shorter than recommended strips of elastic, and I sewed the side seams in with a 1 inch seam allowance, and not a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
So let’s get into some detail about this pattern …
I used McCall’s M6569. I purchased this pattern a while ago because it had so many options. I chose to alter the style of view C a bit – it’s the navy blue one on the envelope – one piece, gathers in the front and the back – but I chose not to use the side ties and I added straps around the neck. I also cut out the bikini bottoms in a black 4 way stretch Tricot, just in case the purple print turned out to be too much. I could always switch out the black bottoms for the purple print bottom. Turns out I didn’t use the black bottoms – I love the purple print!
Now … let’s talk about sewing Spandex. I used a new ballpoint/stretch sewing machine needle. I practiced with all my fabrics first, checking the tension and length and width of my zig zag stitch, and stretching my fabric slightly as I sewed. Stretching a bit as you sew gives you a seam that doesn’t break but stretches with your fabric as you move. I tried to keep my pins in the seam allowances too, as sometimes they get caught and leave holes in your fabric. Also, I didn’t use cotton thread, only polyester. I did use some stabilizer in the one pattern piece, the band around the cups, to reduce the stretch in that area.
Inside and outside of the front pieces done.
Sewing the lining to the back at the back crotch seam so that the inside looks seamless.
Next morning, with every intention of finishing my swimsuit, I was met by Sophie at my machine. (Her saying No, you’re not. Me saying Yes, I am.)
I had to physically move Sophie to another sunny location.
The pattern instructions told me how long to cut the elastic but I found that length to be too loose so I shortened every elastic strip by about 1 1/2 inches. I sewed them on with my usual zig zag stitch, slightly pulling the elastic to fit the fabric.
I’ve heard other sewists complain that their vintage sewing machines can’t sew knits. I learned how to sew on a (now vintage) Singer 347 Stylist. It wasn’t fancy but I do remember sewing my favourite pink pants and top on it – out of a slightly stretchy polyester. It took some practice, but it worked – just like with this Singer 421G.
I think I have already mentioned that I took most of the gathers out of the back of my swimsuit. I didn’t want any extra fabric “back there”. As I didn’t realize that I didn’t like all those gathers until the back piece was all completed, I had to find an easy way to remove them without starting all over again. The swimsuit back, with the gathers picked out was still a comfortable length, covering my back. But the lining then ended up too short, so I added fabric by cutting across the waistline and adding in a strip of fabric. There are visible seams there now but they are on the inside so no one will see them.
I did end up with a bit of a gap at the front bodice neckline that was fixed with a pinch of the fabric and a bit of hand sewing.
Dolly got the pleasure of modelling my swimsuit for photos, after I tried it on to ensure that it fit and looked good on me! Too bad she doesn’t get to model it in Mexico – haha – I will be!
On the left is the back of the swimsuit, on the right the front. You can see there are less gathers on the left/in the back. My changes worked out well.
Another side shot …
… and the back .
Now this McCall’s pattern also has pieces to make a cover up. Basically two rectangles sewn together. Unfortunately the only purple in my fabric stash is this lace. It’s nice, but I’m not sure it is right for a swimsuit cover up.
So answer me this – Should I buy some other fabric to make my cover up? Maybe a light cotton? a light terry towel? Something that dries quickly? What do you think?