August may be winding down, but the sun keeps-a-shining! We here at Sprout are not quite ready to kiss summer goodbye, so Spoonflower designer trizzuto is here to show us how to keep the summer-vibes around just a bit longer! Join Theresa in this two-part Soma Bikini Swimsuit tutorial featuring a #SproutHack variation on the SOMA bikini top. Read part one below to make bottoms and look out for the top hacks on part two on the blog tomorrow.
Did your heart skip a beat when Sprout Patterns announced they were introducing swimwear from Papercut Patterns this season? I know mine did. With three variations to choose from, the hardest part was deciding which version to go with, and which print to choose from in the Spoonflower Marketplace.
Because there’s nothing terribly tricky like ruching or underwire in this suit, it’s very accessible to all levels of sewists. You don’t even need a serger! Just a trusty zig zag stitch on a basic home sewing machine. If this is your very first time sewing a swimsuit or even sewing with stretch fabrics, please do not be intimidated. Find yourself pulling your hair out? Just leave me a note in the comment section so I can address any questions or issues you might be having. I promise I’ve had them all myself at one point or another so I can walk you through it!
Picking a design is easily the toughest part. And you thought it was going to be inserting the swimwear elastic — HA! I had my heart set on this gorgeous watercolor tropical print from Crystal Walen, but the scale wasn’t quite right for a swimsuit. Did I give up? Heck no. I sent the designer, Crystal, a short message on Spoonflower requesting the scale change for my project. She was super quick to respond and before I knew it, she had gotten back to me with the changes and I was ready to order (thank you, Crystal!). Do you ever work with designers to tweak and modify designs for your projects? Most are happy to oblige and as a Spoonflower designer myself, I love any opportunity to create something custom just for a particular maker’s project.
Picking the suit version
Soma Bikini Swimsuit Variation B has a really lovely segmented seam and center triangle details. Plus the high-waisted bottoms have got all sorts of vintage pin-up girl vibes — very hot in swimwear right now and flattering on all body types. Alternatively, Soma Bikini Variation A and the one piece version have very cool triangular strap details and a plunging v-neckline. The top portion of all versions is stunning and will work beautifully on many body types, however if you require a bit more “oomph” and support in your bikini tops, I have a few hacks you’re gonna want to know about! In this sew-along two part series, I’ll show you how to create the high waisted bikini bottoms as shown on the original pattern, and for the top, I have a few pattern hacks (one for each version) that will result in a much more supportive top.
As I mentioned before, it does lack any kind of underwire or channeling. The fix? We’ll go over how to easily add thick halter straps and covered elastic strapping to your Somas, so you can fight gravity and feel supported without having to add foam cups. Because let’s face it, you’re going to want to get a lot of mileage out of your new me-made suit — so you should feel like your most fabulous self while wearing it. Let’s get started!
Once your Soma suit arrives in the mail from Sprout Patterns, the first thing to do is to throw it in the wash (don’t procrastinate, do it now!). No need to add soap or anything like that when pre-washing your fabrics, just a quick rinse in the washing machine will do the trick, or you could even submerge it in the bathtub or sink. The key is to get the fibers completely wet, then dry again to remove any shrinkage.
Sport Lycra swimsuit fabric (from Sprout Patterns)
-Fold Over Elastic(FOE) – for one piece and Bikini Top Var. 1
A note about lining: your swimwear lining should have a ton of stretch and be made of lightweight, waterproof fibers (often a poly / spandex blend). You can also use Spoonflower’s Performance Pique, which is what I did for my second version of the suit. Performance Pique is super lightweight, stretchy and soft against the skin. I also used it to make my Bombshell suit last summer and it’s still holding up strong a year later (as is the Sport Lycra! No fading in sight).
CUT INTO YOUR FABRIC:
Lay flat and cut out your Sprout pattern, taking care to cut right on the edge of where the pattern is printed. The seam allowance is included (1 cm) so no need to worry about that. I like to use a rotary blade for cutting out the long edges, and sharp fabric shears for the rest. Because Sprout fills in the blank yardage with extra printed pattern, you’ll have a ton of left-over remnants to make fun little things. Make sure to save those pieces because we’ll be using them for our ‘Sprout Hack’ in tomorrow’s post.
TIP: Cut out the printed labels for each piece of your pattern and pin them on so you don’t forget which piece is which!
CUT OUT YOUR LINING:
Cut out your swimwear lining. To do this, I simply laid the lining out onto my cutting mat, then placed each of the outer main pieces on top, pinned them down and traced around them with my rotary blade.
Don’t forget to clip all of your notches! This will help you align pieces correctly so you won’t have to use your seam ripper quite as much (trust me, you’re going to be using it at least once or twice. That’s okay though, it builds character).
ASSEMBLE THE BOTTOMS:
STEP 1: Start by laying your bottom pieces on top of each other in this order:
-Back bottom right side facing up
-Front bottom right side facing down
-Front lining right side facing up
-Back lining right side facing down.
Pin together at side seams and crotch seam and stitch together those seams through all four layers using a long zig zag stitch. Trim back any excess seam allowance using pinking shears and pull through so that the lining is on the inside. All of your seams should now be enclosed.
Using a zig zag setting, stitch all your remaining edges together right on the very edge to hold together as one piece.
Start stitching your 1cm / 3/8” wide swimwear elastic around your leg openings on the lining side of pant using a zig zag stitch. Pull on your elastic as you sew (especially around the back of the leg opening) to create tension. This will prevent your bottoms from gapping — not a pretty sight and very difficult to go back and fix once you’ve sewn your bottoms up. The instructions do say to only add a ~slight~ bit of tension, but I recommend a little more than that to ensure you prevent gaps.
Once you meet where your elastic started, cut it off so that the two ends can butt in together and zigzag the two ends together.
Repeat for other leg opening.
STEP 4: Roll the elastic edge one time toward the lining and stitch down with a zig zag stitch.
Repeat for other leg opening.
Repeat steps 3 & 4 for your waist opening using 1cm/3/8” wide swimwear elastic (unless you’re sewing a one piece).
I’d say you’ve accomplished more than enough for one day! Join me tomorrow as we tackle the bikini top.
Extra credit: Recreate these bottoms in stretch lace (or any other 4 way stretch fabric) and add a gusset to create a snazzy pair of me-made underwear!
Get inspired by some of the Soma projects others have created on Sprout, and be sure to share your creations using #spoonflower, #sproutpatterns, and #somaswimsuit!