Sunday, February 21, 2016

Tropical Maison Fleur Swimsuit


This is my third attempt at sewing swimwear for myself... finally, a success! Third time's the charm, I guess?

None of my previous swimsuit failures were pattern related, but rather a tragic lining issue. A few years ago I had purchased something described as swimsuit lining from Girl Charlee... turns out it didn't have 4-way stretch, though!! I didn't really identify this as a problem when I made my first suit (a Closet Case Files Bombshell), I just thought the bodice was too short for me. I used it again when making the Jalie 3350 (the twisty one, seen here), which again, turned out so short in the bodice that I would have to walk around hunched over to make it work. Only at that point did I realize maybe it wasn't me or the patterns, but that damn lining... *shakes fist in the air.* Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... sigh.

Anyway, I bought new lining at Joann last time I was in the States (double-checking to make sure it had the requisite 4-way stretch) and I had another go at swimwear.


This time I went with Maison Fleur's 8101 halterneck swimsuit pattern, which I had seen, but initially dismissed because I assumed the size range wasn't extensive enough... boy, was I wrong! Clued in by the lovely Megan (aka thegreenviolet) about the pattern's wide size range and separate cup sizes, I downloaded it immediately! I love the hip ruching and ties, the shape of the bust. Good stuff. Plus, lots of options for bikinis, one-pieces, various strap configurations...

The fabric is a gorgeous, brightly colored tropical print that I bought from the Imagine Gnats shop (affiliate link) last year. The colors are so vivid and it has great recovery! She doesn't have this particular print right now, but has some other winners in stock.


The pattern is quite easy to follow. Straightforward instructions... I ended up sewing it entirely on my sewing machine rather than using the serger. It makes the most sense for the hip tie channels, which are made from an extra wide seam allowance pressed open and topstitched.

I fully lined the whole suit. The various layers of fabric were a bit slippery, so I ended up basting the lining pieces to the outer pieces around the edges, inside the seam allowances, before sewing the suit together. I'm having a teeny bit of trouble with the edges flipping out on the bottoms so that the lining shows (as you can see in the photo below). I wonder if I should have trimmed the lining down a bit on the edges so that it pulls the outer fabric inside rather than flipping outwards?


Size-wise, my measurements put me smack in between two of the sizes. Based on advice from Megan that the pattern runs a teeny bit large, I opted for the smaller of the two sizes. Turned out to be the right choice! Someone on the lower end of any given size range would probably want to size down.


The instructions have you apply the elastic to the leg holes without stretching, but my advice is to stretch it a little bit, certainly on the back side and maybe even a little on the front, too. I did stretch it some for mine, and even with that, it was a teeny bit gapey under the butt. It doesn't gape as much when I pull the side ties tight, so it's not too big of a problem, but if I wanted to wear the suit with the sides lower/less scrunched, I might have to re-do the leg elastic to tighten it. 


I started out with the halter straps as the pattern instructed, but when I tried it on, I remembered that I don't really like halters. The straps tend to bother my neck and I worry that they'll be bunchy and/or come untied inside my wetsuit when scuba diving (which is probably the activity I engage in most in a swim suit!). I also found that the elastic along the back bodice was flipping/rolling outwards a bit with no straps attached to keep it pulled up.


To fix these two issues, I decided to opt for straight straps for the outer straps and cross-back straps for the inner. I just pinned them to the length I wanted and sewed the ends to the back bodice at 3.75 inches from the center back. Next time I'll plan to make this change from the beginning and go for adjustable straps using this tutorial on the Maison Fleur blog, if I can find the sliders and circle thingies (technical term) here in Bangkok. If not, perhaps I'll cannibalize an old bra for its hardware.


I may also add swim cups next time. I didn't have any on hand. And perhaps some elastic below the bustline for additional support.

Besides those minor changes, I am quite happy with this swimsuit! I feel comfortable in it, which is the main thing. Comfortable enough to take photos and post them on the internet! I know sewing bloggers posting swimsuit photos is old hat at this point, but it still gave me pause. I wanted to take some strategically thigh-disguising and potentially more editorial pool photos, but my apartment's pool is currently having some sort of filter issue and thus the water is a disturbing shade of green. Balcony photos it is!


63 comments:

  1. This looks great! Compared to the other bathing suit patterns you've sewn, how did it rank in difficulty? I keep meaning to make a bathing suit but find it oddly intimidating... I'm looking for a nice easy pattern!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gillian! Hmm... I'd say of the three, this was the easiest, with the Jalie suit a close second (the twisty bit was slightly challenging) and then the Bombshell (so, so much gathering!!). But they're all pretty easy, honestly. With all your experience with lingerie sewing, you'll breeze through swimsuit sewing!

      Delete
  2. Great looking swim suit. I like your alternate straps a lot. I hadn't considered trying this pattern because halter neck ties bother me but now I am much more inspired to give it a go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Noelle!! Yeah, I'm not a halter neck fan, either, but I feel like most halter neck swimsuits can easily be altered to regular straps (I'm sure there's a more technical term that "regular straps" but I don't know what it is!!).

      Delete
  3. This is gorgeous! I'm going to try this pattern next time I make a suit, nearer the summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Katie! I hope you like it!!

      Delete
  4. Looks fab: fabric, fit everything. You look amazing in it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It looks fantastic on you, beautiful fabric and design!

    ReplyDelete
  6. this is such a pretty suit and I really like the style but those straps😍

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thanks! I love how the straps turned out, although next time I'll be sure to make the adjustable.

      Delete
  7. This looks amazing. I'm also so impressed that you kept persevering despite the previous issues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Ha ha, I can't believe I made 2 non-functional swimsuits before realizing the problem!!

      Delete
  8. This is gorgeous! The fabric, the shape, super nice.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great suit, thanks for putting this pattern back on my radar! About to embark on sewing my first set (I'm going to go and see if my lining stretches 4 ways now!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, thanks! Yes, double- and triple-check your lining!!

      Delete
  10. It is a bit nerve wracking isn't it, posting bathers photos? Even taking them in the first place is a bit awkward :-) Love what you've done with the straps too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, quite nerve-wracking! The tension was running high when my husband was taking the photos... I was extra picky with him!

      Delete
  11. You look fantastic!!! I've loved this pattern for awhile, but I feel like I haven't really seen it made up enough to give it a shot - but now I definitely will!! I love the cross back modification too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Katie! Yeah, not too many versions of it out there, but it's a lovely pattern with lots of options- I'm really happy with it!

      Delete
  12. Looks great. I really like the print you chose. I have not considered this pattern in the past but your version gives me pause. I think all swimsuits need stretched elastic around the bum to keep things secure.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looks great. I really like the print you chose. I have not considered this pattern in the past but your version gives me pause. I think all swimsuits need stretched elastic around the bum to keep things secure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Renee! I agree about the bum elastic!

      Delete
  14. Oh WOW...you look gorgeous! This really is a lovely make!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is a really lovely swim suit. Love the fabric, the hip ties and those straps...and you look fabulous in it too.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You look absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful project, looks very wel designed and great fabric too :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. This looks fantastic on you. Your fabric is gorgeous. Great job :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. FABULOUS! I just pinned this pattern last week and it was the first time I'd even heard of the pattern company too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was a new-to-me pattern company, too! I'm really happy with the swimsuit- it makes me curious about their other patterns...

      Delete
  19. Oh, Meg, this is fabulous! It suits you so well and looks like it fits like a dream. I love the color/print combo and your awesome sunglasses are on point!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tanya!! I am pretty darn happy with it! The fact that it matches my sunglasses perfectly doesn't hurt, either ;-)

      Delete
  20. This is the perfect swimsuit!! I love it! I need one just like it! I love what you did with the straps (with a big bust, halters are just not that comfortable or functional) and the cut around the legs is perfect - not too boy-cut, but modest. PERFECT. So glad you figured out the lining for this version, I don't think you need any other suit, ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Inder! I like the cut of the legs, too, and the fact that you can adjust them with the ties until they sit where you want them to. Good stuff.

      Delete
  21. Gorgeous suit, Meg! I just love the colour and it fits you so well! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Beautiful!! Love the fit & the fabric is fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh Meg this looks great! I love the fabric and you achieved a great fit. I have made a few suits lately and on one of them in particular, the lining rolls out like yours too. I tried cutting the lining a wee bit smaller and it ended up causing a wrinkle in the outer fabric...I feel like it is a delicate balance that I haven't found yet. Pics look great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Margo! Glad to know it's not just me having a problem with the lining rolling out. Hmmm... time for some problem solving!

      Delete
  24. the suit is awesome and it looks gorgeous on you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dear Meg,
    Hi! Absolutely gorgeous suit! I have been wanting to make a swimsuit for so long, but haven't done it yet. Now since we've had a bit of work done on the house, I've no clue where my wonderful swimsuit fabrics have gone? I'm not a fan of a lot of straps I must say, but this suit is really beautiful on you! Thank you for posting! Kathy from Arizona.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kathie! Ha ha, I hope you unearth your swimsuit fabrics soon!

      Delete
  26. Beautiful! Third time is definitely the charm x

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love this suit and what you did with the back straps. I also like how the ruching takes the one piece up a notch! That fabric is the bomb too! So glad you got your lining fabric straightened out!

    ReplyDelete
  28. You've done an amazing job Meg. It looks really really fabulous. Hope you have a lot of fun wearing it!

    ReplyDelete