I can fully admit that I never ever thought I would sew a swim suit for myself. Not because I don’t like to swim or because of being self-conscious, but because I was a competitive swimmer and I couldn’t imagine myself making something that would be quality enough to actually swim in. I grew up in a swim suit. I spent hours every day swimming and every weekend at a swim meet through college. But when the Megan Nielsen suit (Cottesloe) kept showing up in my Instagram feed I couldn’t help but be curious. I loved every version I saw. And then mid summer when we finally booked our beach vacation I knew I had to make it happen. I loved the idea of being able to control how it fit. Making it just right so I felt covered enough was a big thing. I feel like there are tons of store-bought bikinis available that are just not quite modest enough for something I’d want to wear in public. Plus I almost always wear a one piece, body surfing anyone?! I love being active in the water, so a bikini wasn’t something I had much experience with.
My supplies came in and I got to work. It was definitely not as hard as I thought it would be. The construction itself was quite straightforward. Megan has a full sew-along on her blog as well, which is what I referenced while attaching the elastic. So if you’ve sewn a t-shirt I definitely think that you’d do great making this suit!
I loved wearing this on the beach. I was comfy and I felt good wearing it. Plus it was kind of fun knowing I made it! I did manage to do some body surfing in it. The straps came down a few times, but the waves were pretty strong, but other than that it was perfect for swimming in! I love how the straps are wide and the back is open feeling. I’m used to a different style back, but I found this one to be soooo comfortable. I was surprised!
The only change I made was to use View D but lower the waistline down on the bottoms. I just moved the waistline down by 2″.
I’ve got a couple more cuts of swim suit fabric that I ordered from Spoonflower (Sport Lycra basecloth). My kids are even asking me to make them a suit, so maybe I’ll sneak in making another before summer is officially over here!
Pattern: Cottesloe Swim Suit (View D)
Fabric and lining are both from Cloth Story
Elastics and padded cups are from Fabric Fairy
I’ve been making a few summer wardrobe staples these last few weeks. I did finish my pair of chambray Spring Shorts after writing this post. Although I actually haven’t worn them yet. Go figure. I’ll save those for another post.
I was very excited to see Helen’s Closet’s newest pattern, the Ashton Top pop up in June. It seemed like such a versatile tank! I really like that it has both bias tape finishing and a facing option. I really wanted to give the facing a try to see if I could get over my hang up with facings. I just have memories of them popping out of the neckline as a child.
So for my first go I grabbed this triangle pink chambray that I had bought from Drygoods Design a few years ago. It was too pretty to sit around any longer so I washed it and cut out the Ashton! I think I got ahead of myself in the instructions, so I ended up doing a bias tape finish even though I had intended to do facings. Ah well. Ended up that after finishing I decided that I needed a few fit adjustments. I knew from past experiences that I’ve always wanted to try a broad back adjustment. So I gave that a try after following along with this video (and obsessively checking a few others). I did a quick muslin after making the broad back adjustment to the pattern pieces. I also moved the lower part of the armhole slightly lower and dropped the neckline a small amount (maybe 3/8″).
The second tank turned out really well. I remembered to do the facings (ha!) and I really love how it came together. It seems like the fit adjustments were pretty good I think. This tank is comfy and I feel comfortable in it. The triangle version is a bit snug across my shoulder blades, but I think I’ll still wear it, that print is too good! I’m really glad I gave the Ashton a try and super excited about the broad back adjustment working! yay!
Pattern: Ashton Top by Helen’s Closet (she’s doing a whole month of hacks this month, Ashton August!)
Fabric: Chambray with Triangles from Drygoods Design (this print is long gone, but she has an amazing selection of garment fabrics) and Liberty of London I’m pretty sure I bought years ago from Jones & Vandermeer.
Ooookay, so this is a testament to how long I can hold on to my favorite fabrics. Does that happen to you? I love hanging on to a favorite and waiting for when inspiration strikes and the fabric gets used. This is what happened with this fabric! I remember I bought it thinking I would make shorts with it??? Not sure how that would have turned out, eeeek!, but I’m glad I waited! This is the Cheater Print (a cheater print is a single fabric designed to look like patchwork) from Ellen Luckett Baker‘s first(?) collection with Kokka from 2012, called Stamped. I, of course, had bought and used a lot of the designs from that collection: Scallops, triangles, circle flowers and now this cheater print. Yep, guess I liked it!
Runaround Bag – Circle Flowers print || Tablet Case from my book, Handmade Style – Scallop print || Gingham Tote with rounded pocket option from my book, Handmade Style – Triangle print (Gingham Tote photo credit Holly DeGroot)
So I was digging through my fabric trying to get it a bit more organized (and cleaning out a bit for my annual sewing retreat with my friends) and came across this beauty and knew that I had to put it to use. Summer time sewing is a bit more limited and so a project like this Wool + Wax Tote is quite rewarding to make. With the scraps I made a coordinating zippered pouch which is always fun. I think I might be satisfied only making these totes with pouches for the rest of my sewing life. hahaha.
I used my Natural leather handles and attached them with rivets. If you’re curious about rivets I have a post here that explains a bit more and has links to sources. The contrast bottom is a waxed denim from AL Frances Textiles on Etsy. To keep things really simple I used Big Sur Canvas in Natural for the lining. For me I think I could use this for lining every bag. No need to add extra interfacing which is always a plus. And it coordinates so well with so many fabrics (plus it comes in a ton of other colors, too).
Pattern: Wool + Wax Tote (available as a stand alone PDF or as part of a collection in my Everyday Essentials booklet) and improv zippered pouch.
Fabric: Cheater Print (from Stamped collection) by Ellen Luckett Baker, (see Ellen’s latest collection here, looking forward to it later this summer/early fall!!!), Waxed Denim by AL Frances Textiles, lining is Big Sur canvas in Natural by Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Natural Leather Handles in my shop, Brass rivets from Minkus Margo on Etsy