I have frequently professed my love for the Boo! Designs Swimmers pattern*, so even though I was *tempted* to try a new swimsuit pattern for sewing up these super cute Merkitties from MK*Designs, I decided to just stick with my old-faithful but change up some of the details! Why reinvent the wheel, right? ;-). No, for real, I kid, I kid 😉 I do want to try some new swimsuit patterns but under a time crunch, I have to do what I know works!
I knew I wanted lots of ruffles on this suit because this is what my 6 year old is all about! I followed Marnie’s instructions for the ruffle on the bottoms and then attached a ruffle to the top of the bodice before adding the binding (I think I did about double the measurement from armpit to armpit).
Now, I’m still learning about elastic. When I first started making swimsuits, I ordered elastic and got the cotton/rubber type*. It worked really well and I had no problems with it. Then I reordered from the same supplier and got a completely different type – a polyester/rubber blend*. Here’s what I’m discovering:
- The swimmers pattern* uses Cotton/rubber blend elastic BUT polyester/rubber blend elastic is stretchier so if you’re using that, you may have to adjust your elastic cut measurements. The straps on this suit are still a little loose, so I’ll probably, eventually fix that ;-). Maybe.
- Polyester/rubber blend is so nice to sew! It’s flatter so it’s not as bulky.
- Polyester/rubber blend can be cut down the length!! I only had 5/8″ elastic and cut mine to 1/4″ and did not notice any compromise in the quality of the stretch at all.
I saw, maybe on Facebook?, that someone had added a bow to the back of their togs, so I decided to do the same. I think it’s such a cute touch!! To do this, I took a rectangle about 4″(width) x 5″(height), folded it in half and serged the short ends. I then serged the long end and seam ripped the center point of the seam so I could turn it out the right way. I then took a smaller piece, serged it into a tube, turned right side out, wrapped it around the bow and hand stitched it in place.
The last hack I did with these was adding the ruching to the sides. For that, I lengthened the pattern by about 2 inches, then made a 5/8″ seam allowance in that section only. I serged the sides of the bodice, stopping at the top of bump-out. Then I used my sewing machine to sew the bump out seam. I then hemmed the bottom of the suit. (Actually, I didn’t — I sewed the sides down first, then tried to hem and realized it didn’t work that way so back to the seam ripper I went). Ahem. So, after the hemming was done, I then folded the 5/8″ seam allowance back and top stitched around the edges (you’ll make two separate rows that form 2 tunnels). After making a binding strip, I threaded it through the two tunnels. You could also make my instructions easier on yourself by getting a copy of the Tweenie Bikini pattern*!
Do you have plans to make swimsuits for this coming summer? They are so much fun to make and actually take up only a small amount of fabric! (This one is a size 4 waist and 7 height and I used roughly a fat quarter of each fabric – the leftovers were turned into a yet-to-be-photographed rashguard for my toddler!).
If you have people in your lives that need to be glammed up, then don’t miss the MK*Designs “Glam” round! The collection includes high-quality swim and cotton Lycra bases, and is full of mermaids, scales, turtles, seahorses, and narwhals! The preorder closes March 16, 2018.
*Affiliate links – purchases you make using my affiliate links will earn me a small commission 🙂
I’m a strike-off seamstress for MK*Designs and received these fabrics complimentary for purposes of promotion.