In classic me style, I'm writing a blog post about a homemade bikini when the last of the crispy orange leaves are being blown from the trees by cold winds in London and the mornings start with breath visible in frosty air. I'm hoping at least one person from the Southern Hemisphere is reading this and feeling it is seasonally appropriate.
Anyway. I made a bikini! I made it back in May and I have worn it a lot. Here I am wearing it in Spain in September.
The lycra was one of those spur-of-the-moment purchases that totally reordered my to-sew list. I saw it buried in a busy shelf at Dalston Mill when I went to buy some buttons there and I had to have it. It's kind of a galaxy marble print and I am a big fan of rocks and outer space so it couldn't be left behind. I hadn't planned on making myself swimwear until that moment but suddenly a bikini was on the cards.
I looked around at bikini patterns but decided to base the top on my good old Marks & Spencers one that I've been wearing for at least 6 years! I consider it to be perfect for my flat chest as it has secret sewn in cups as well as some tiny pleats that add volume. I bought some cups online but when they arrived I um-ed and ah-ed about whether I should sew them in or not. They were a little on the stiff side and it felt quite strange to be building myself fake boobs.
I've been very self-conscious about having a flat chest since I was a teenager and basically didn't develop breasts when all other girls did. It affected my posture and the clothes I chose to wear. Throughout my teenage years I would wear mega padded bras and I even tried taking some herbal pills that were supposed to make boobs bigger (yeah, obviously a scam but you'll try anything when you're 18 and feel like your body isn't good enough)
Then in my early 20s I saw a documentary on TV which totally changed my outlook. The whole thing consisted of women being interviewed about their relationship with their chests. Topless. There were women of all ages, shapes and sizes all with wonderful, unique boobs, some big, some wonky and some tiny like mine! This made me ease up on my self-boob-criticism. I decided I'd look for none-sculpted bikini inspiration. I really liked this simple one from & Other Stories above and got stuck in to trying to draft something similar.
I made a toile in some scrap fabric. It was way to small so I added some extra shape to the cups.
I printed off the Seamwork Magazine Dakota bikini bottoms but made a few adjustments. I took a couple of inches of the height thanks to Beth from Sew DIYs recommendation, and I cut to a wider size at the leg as my bum is surprisingly big for a small person.
I also took away some of the shape at the leg hole on the back and after cutting them out scooped out a lot at the front too. So... yeah this is almost totally different from the pattern!
I don't have an overlocker so I finished most of my edges with elastic and zig zag stitch.
I wore it first of all on my family holiday in Britain in May. There was an unheated outdoor pool and I took the bikini for a swim every day. But it really came into it's own in Spain. If you haven't been to Spain I highly recommend it. It looks like this:
And the view from our pool looked like this:
And sometimes like this!
The day we did our bikini photo shoot was the only day of the holiday where the sun hid behind the clouds and it actually started to rain. So this is one of the only sunny moments. (I fell in love with that tree.)
And here's a close up.
Oooooh you want to see the bikini, not the tree!
And the back. Oo look at that view.
But bikinis are not meant for dry land, they're meant for under the water, so take a deep breath...
I'm proud of 'going natural' on the top and feel like an unstoppable mermaid in my bikini. My first foray into sewing swimwear has made me want to make more.
What are your favourite swimwear patterns?