More Swimwear Hacks

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I have had so much fun this summer creating swimsuits! I love being able to create ideas that I see. You can check out my first swimsuit post of the summer here. This back of this top is inspired by a swimsuit that I saw at the pool the other day! Both the top and bottom for this suit are modified from the original pattern. For the top, I started with the Greenstyle Creations Power Sports Bra. No surprise there, right? This bra fits SO well I am having a hard time venturing out. The bottoms are the Greenstyle North Shore high waisted bottoms.

I chose a solid color for both the top and bottom since both would have enough detail to not need any additions. I have bought swim fabric from The Fabric Fairy previously (see this post), and decided to order again because of their large array of beautiful solids. I went with the Waterfall Nylon Spandex that can be found here.

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For the notions, I used nude swim lining from Boho Fabrics for the bottoms. I had both white and black on hand from The Fabric Fairy, but decided to go with the nude for the color of this suit. I used 1/4″ rubber elastic from Boho Fabrics and 3/8″ rubber elastic and clear elastic from The Fabric Fairy. Both places carry both sizes of rubber elastic.

I’ll start with steps on how I created this top!

To begin, I used the solid front hack that I mention in this post. This works for me because I do not need the extra space that the front seams create. I made sure to add 1″ length to the top (both front and back). This is because I used 3/8″ elastic on the bottom and not a band… more on this later.

 

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I cut the piece out as usual. From the center fold, I trimmed off the middle about 1/4″ (so 1/2″ total). I then made sure to cut one piece 1/4″ shorter at the bottom per the instructions, so the seam at the top folds back (2nd photo).

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For the back, I began with the hack that I did here. Basically, it is instead of the strappy U back, the straps meet in the middle. This shape works better for my body and shoulder blades. Again, I added about an inch to the length of the piece to accommodate the bottom finishing technique, and trimmed 1/4″ off the bottom of the inner piece. I also cut off part of the sides to accommodate the side straps. This length can be to your preference, just make sure your straps are the same length, plus added seam allowance on each side.

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Next, I made the straps. I made the two shoulder straps, and another two long straps that I cut shorter for the front and sides. I always add an inch or two more than I think I’ll need to be safe. I used four straps on the front, about 1.5″ long, and my side straps were about 2.5″ long, 4 on each side. I used my 1/4″ rubber elastic in all the straps to give them added structure.

I usually serge on my elastic as I enclose the straps (wrong sides out). I also serge one end closed. To turn it, I use a chopstick, starting at the serge short end and push it through, carefully pulling it through and checking every couple of inches. After, I slide out my chopstick and voila! This also created a closed end for if I have exposed straps/drawstrings.

After I had the long straps assembled, I started with the front. I cut my straps for the front and placed them right sides together on the center. Don’t forget to keep in mind spacing for seam allowances when closing the top and attaching and flipping up the bottom elastic. You’ll need about 3/8″ on the top, and about 1/2″ on the bottom. I then placed the inner piece on top, making sure to line up the BOTTOMS of the outer and inner pieces.

I then clipped and basted this together. I flipped it out to check placement, and finished the edge with my serger.

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I repeated these steps for the other side of the front. This time, the straps will already be spaced and in place since they are attached to the other front pieces. Make sure they line up straight and no straps are crooked (like my bottom one in this photo!).

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I again made sure to check placement after basting.

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Moving onto assembling the back.

I started with attaching all eight straps to the middle back piece at the same time. I used the same techniques for spacing the straps from top and bottom and lining up the outer and inner back pieces at the bottom.

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Again, I made sure to baste in place and check spacing and that the straps were straight before serging together.

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Then I moved onto attaching the front to the back.

I placed the front piece on my workspace.

I took one side of the front and opened it up, so everything else was laying on the opposite side. Then, I took the back piece (make sure both the front and back have the top going the same direction) and placed the straps for the corresponding side right side down. Everything else is smushed in the middle.

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Then, bring the front inner piece around to go on top of the straps (the photo above shows me starting to bring it over. Everything else will be smushed inside the front inner and outer of the SAME side. Again, baste first, open it up to check for alignment, and then sew or serge together. You’ll now have one long piece.

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I then took the final outer front piece from the unfinished side and placed that on my workspace right side up.

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Again, I placed the back piece with side straps right side down onto the outer front piece. Make sure that your top is not twisted and everything is still with the top up.

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Again, fold the inner piece of the same front piece over the straps and clip into place. Baste, check placement, and turn right side out. Your front and back are noe attached as one piece!

 

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Moving onto the straps. I like attaching the back of the straps first. This way it is easier for me to slip the top on and check placement of my straps. Attach the two shoulder straps to the back piece per the pattern instruction on the strappy U back. Make sure the straps are facing right sides together! Again, I baste first to check placement and make sure one didn’t slip.

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Next, I went ahead and finished the back top. I used 3/8″ clear elastic on the two edges between the shoulder straps and the side straps. Make sure your seam goes right up next to the straps so there isn’t extra fabric left. You can always baste at this step and turn to check that no extra fabric is gaping.

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At this point, I tried on the top to measure the shoulder straps and how much (if any) I needed to cut off for the perfect fit.

Take extra care that the straps are not twisted and right sides are together. You’ll attach these straps per the strappy option in the instructions.

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I don’t have a photo for the next step, but I closed up the top of the front piece in the same manner as the back. Again, pay attention to where the straps and seams are. You may need to cut off more fabric than the pattern suggest to have the edges line up nicely.

Again, feel free to baste before sewing closed!

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Yay! You’re almost finished!

Now, there are two options if you want to insert cups. You can either insert them at this step, or do what I did (I forgot) and cut tiny slits on the inner fabric after everything is assembled. I’ll show a photo of that later.

Now, you’ll need three pieces of 3/8″ elastic to close up the bottom (the front right, front left, and back). I cut my elastic just short of the measurement of each piece, maybe 3/8″ to 1/2″. If doing this again, I would cut it about an inch longer, and SLIGHTLY stretch the elastic as I went (see two photos below).img_1624

I then serged each elastic to the wrong side of the fabric. As you can see, my elastic slipped and there is a small space without elastic. This is why next time I will cut it a little long so I have something to hold onto, trimming after it was attached!

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The final step for the top is to turn under the elastic and sew it closed with either a zig zag stitch, twin needle, or coverstitch. I went with my coverstitch machine for this suit. You can see when the elastic is finished on the bottom, that now that straps and the elastic are all lined up!

Bonus: if you want removable cups, you can cut a small slit in the inner pieces to slide your cups in (shown in photo above). I have not had a problem with it stretching or running at all, but again, I also don’t have a lot up there to put strain in it!

Way to go! You finished your top! I love how mine turned out, and it made all the hard work worth it. 🙂 This modification is great because you can choose to only do the strappy front, or only the back, or both!

Now onto the bottoms! These go MUCH quicker than the top, I promise.

I used the high rise bottoms from The North Shore pattern and added 4″ to the main pieces. The inner lining is cut as normal height to not have extra bunching of fabric. I also cut a piece of 1/4″ elastic the same height as the pattern.

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Attach the side seams per the instructions. After the side seams had been sewn together, I attached 1/4″ rubber elastic to the side seam of the main fabric.  I stretched the elastic as I sewed, but when the elastic is relaxed, it creates the ruching look. Another way to do this would be to baste the side seams together, pull one thread to create the ruching, and then while bunched to the desired height, sew your side seam with a stretch stitch or serger.

The front and back are attached per the instructions. The leg bands are also attached per the instructions. For the waist, instead of adding a band, I used 3/8″ rubber elastic attached to the lining side and folded under and topstitched in the same manner that the leg elastics are attached.

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That’s it for the bottoms! I do love them, but am learning this summer that I am liking the look of the scoop bottoms of this pattern on my body. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next time. 🙂

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Whew! Thanks for following along! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below! I hope you love this suit as much as I do. The color also looks great with this suit, so I have been mixing and matching the tops and bottoms all summer!

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The Power Sports Bra is here.
The solid front and back hack are here.
The North Shore Swimsuit is here.
The Fabric Fairy is here.
Boho Fabrics is here.

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As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments! Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers!
Caitlin

Follow my journey on Instagram, Pinterest, & Facebook!

*Some of the links above may be affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission off your purchase. There is no additional cost to you! Thank you for supporting Luna & Laika!*

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