When I created my #2018make selection I wanted to put a pattern in that I thought would really push my sewing boundaries. I saw the ‘Henrietta’ costume from Measure Twice, Cut Once and I just fell in love with the design. Since having children my body confidence has dropped and I feel very uncomfortable in a bikini. Often the swimsuits on offer can be frumpy but the Henrietta just ticks all my boxes.
The Supplies: I already had this lycra in my stash. I bought it several years ago on eBay with the intention of making my husband a cycling jersey, but he wasn’t impressed with how bright it was. I bought all of my supplies from traders on eBay. I had one afternoon free and it was a great onestop shop to get everything. I went for some pink scallop picot elastic to match the flowers on the fabric and I choose to go for elastic specifically recommended for swimwear. I have found clear swimming elastic but when I saw it in the shops, its quite flimsy and I don’t it would stand upto the chemicals in swimming pools for long. I also bought the sports power mesh online from Santex Trading.
The Pattern: I printed the pattern off at home and it was quick to put together. When I took my measurements it matched up with my usual dress size 10. However I have seen comments about the length of the bodice being short. So I looked at the finished garment measurements and decided to go up one size. With the fabric giving stretch I know there would be some differences between the finished measurements and how it actually fit (no one wants a baggy swimsuit) but my gut told me to just go up one size. The swimsuit is basically only 3 pieces so with that optimism, ahead I went with the sew.
The Sew Up: This is my first Measure Twice, Cut Once pattern and I found the instructions to be broken down into clear and short steps. The instructions are accompanied by simple illustrations which weregreat for me to get my head around sewing in the power mesh. Adding the elastic around the leg holes went smoothly thanks to the tips given in the instructions. I did forget to use polyester thread to begin with and I wondered why it was skipping stitches and breaking. When I changed to polyester thread it solved those problems. I used a zigzag stitch to finish the edges, a detail that looks great. The only part that I got really confused with was adding on the picot elastic. The back has many angles and I really struggled to manoeuvre around the points and get the elastic to sit flat. In the end I cut the elastic at the triangular ends on the back and at the front straps. This hasn’t resulted in the tidiests of finishes but most of the mess is hidden with the loops that are added on after. Turning through the long straps was a nightmare! I don’t have the recommended loop turner so I tried to just push the ends through. I used a knitting needle to turn them and it caught some of the lycra at the ends but as the straps are so long I could cut off where the lycra was pulled and it didn’t effect it.
The Finished Costume: I am truly chuffed with how this swimsuit has turned out. It’s not my neatest garment and I can see the faults but I pass over these when I look at how it fits. I have no issues with the length of the bodice, I’m pleased I went with the next size up. The back detail is incredible, it gives me enough coverage but makes me feel great in it. As soon as I put it on, I knew instantly that I wanted to make another. Next time I’m going to shorten the straps slightly as they are still a little long when its tied up. I still have quite a lot of this floral lycra left and my girls have both requested tankini’s in it to match. Watch this space for a family photo of our matching swimwear!!! (If I have enough I might even include my husband)!