This is going to be a long post so I'm breaking it into 3 parts -
Before I start, I would like to point you to the some of the many resources that I've got on blogland which had helped me greatly in sewing this up.
Creative chicks swimsuit tips which I find my useful tips on sewing the elastic and different kinds of swimsuit design that we can use.
Zaaberry's Swimsuit Tutorial is very informative as she goes step by step on how to sew a one-piece swimsuit for her girl. She included a pattern too.
Dana's tutorial on Swim wear sew along has some helpful tips and I use her tutorial on diaper cover.
You can read up and decide for yourself which style to sew up and then jump in the tutorials from these sites. If you like my tankini with attached skirt, read on to see how I do it.
Get these supplies ready before you sew:
1) stretch needle
2) stretch twin needle
3) swimsuit elastic (the regular woven 3/8" elastic I got says for "swimwear" so I just use it)
4) swimwear fabric like lycra - I got these from the shops at Chinatown.
1/2 yard lycra in skin tone for the lining. 1 yard of black polka dots
3/4 yard of pink ruffle lycra
My twin needle broke twice so I had to break the sewing mojo during the KCWC to buy more! Spotlight carry it for $9.95 each so I was quite hesitant to get more. But, the good news is I found a local sewing shop that carries all kinds of sewing needles and sewing foots, at very affordable price! If you are interested, let me know and I can share the address with you. Bought twin needles there at $6.20 a piece!
Why Tankini with attached skirt?
Like I said in my last post, I was not allowed to sew the one piece swim wear since my girl refused to wear them. She also didn't like the black polka dots lycra that I bought for her and instead prefer the pink ruffle one that I had plan to use it for the younger sister. Since I only got 3/4 yard, I have to plan really accurately in order not to waste it. The yellow ruffle tankini that Dana made for her girl is cute but my girl prefer to cover her butt. I wanted the tankini to have some shape so that it don't float up when she jump into the water so it had to be quite tapered and flare a little at the hip.
You can either trace an existing swim suit that you have to get the basic bodice or download the free pattern from Zaaberry's 5T one-piece swim suit and grade up/down accordingly. I used both since I'm sewing up for 2 sizes - 7T and 2T. Let me explain further below.
1) I printed the 5T pattern from Zaaberry and decided that it will work if I add seam allowance and maybe lengthen the bodice since my 7 year old is skinny. As I want the pantie to be separate from the main tankini, I cut off about 1" below the waistline. You can make a rough estimate here by measuring your kids. I cut a slope downwards as I want my tankini to shape slightly longer in the middle.
2) For the tankini bottom (the part that you cut off, place a piece of paper behind and level up the waistline so that it is straight instead of sloping down. Do this for both the front and back piece.
3) I decided to go for a continuous tankini bottom as recommended by Emily from Creative Chicks. You can refer to her tutorial for the details. See below on how I tape the front and back pantie pattern together at the crotch area. For my 2T, I use Dana's diaper cover as a guide instead since she is still a cute baby!
3) For the skirt, I cut a rectangle. Just estimate the width by measuring the width of the bodice X 2 for front and back, and add seam allowance. The lenght is up to you. For my 7T, I use 7" and my 2T, I use 5".
If you are following my method or tracing from existing swim suit, please remember to include Seam allowance (except for the folded part) as you will need to insert elastic band and fold in the fabric later. I use 1/2" seam allowance for all so that I've more allowance to work with.
That's it for pattern and will talk about the cutting in next post.