I first made my Measure Twice, Cut Once ‘Henrietta’ swimsuit back in February, which you can read about here, and I was so surprised to find that it didn’t actually use up much fabric! I used some Lycra that was in my stash which I had 2m of and I wanted to put the leftovers to some good use. My daughters were over the moon with my swimsuit and instantly that asked for some swimwear so I just mentioned that we could have matching and the idea was born.
I first began to look on Pinterest for children’s swimwear patterns and there were many useful tutorials. However I was really nervous about self drafting and getting the sizing correct. Because the Lycra has a great deal of stretch and you have negative ease in the garment, the sizing can get confusing. I looked at the Big 4 patterns but there were none that would suit both a 5 and 8 year old.
My last stop after some google image searches was Etsy and in particular looking at gymnastics and sportswear patterns. I can across tumblentwirl which is an independent sewing pattern company for leotards, gymnastics wear, dance wear and swimwear. They have over 200 PDF patterns which are mainly for girls and pre-teens. Together we agreed on the Swimwear Separates #1 tanking/bikini pattern.
Using the measurement chart, my youngest was a size 5 and my eldest was a size 9 so after a quick PDF sticking session I was able to begin. I learnt so much from making my own swimsuit that this time I was more comfortable when adding in the elastic. The girls requested ties so I extended the elastic and covered with the pink Lycra. The ‘Love the Sew’ – Swimsuit episode also gave some fantastic tips to give a professional finish to the elastic edges and I feel that the finish on the girls bikinis is much better than my swimsuit. I didn’t line their bikinis with power mesh, only the crotch area of the bikini bottom for comfort. Even after measuring the girls against the chart, they are a snug fit, but actually that maybe the best way for swimwear.
So after making the girls, I had to complete the family sewing adventure with something for my husband. He joked that he wanted some ‘speedo’ trucks, so that’s what he got! I didn’t buy a pattern for his trucks, I just self drafted from a pair of his running briefs. I added an elastic waistline and power mesh in both the front and back pieces.
On our family holiday to Portugal we stayed in a private villa with a pool and it was the perfect opportunity for us to all wear our matching swimwear together. The girls were super excited to see us all matching (the embarrassment hasn’t come to my eldest yet!) and looking back at the photos, I love it!! Matching family outfit are the future.