Welcome back to part two of our Alison swimsuit sew along with Sport Lycra! This type of fabric is just perfect to use for sewing up your own swimwear, and the Alison swimsuit sewing pattern is a great option since it is a one piece and can really show off the awesome print you chose for your fabric!
We left off last time in part 1 of the Alison Swimsuit Sew Along sewing the crotch seams together, and now it’s time to finish off the rest of the bodice. Grab your bust piece since we will be starting there.
From the top fold of your bust piece (keep it folded the way way you cut it out), measure down 1” along the side. Use a pin to mark this point.
Then, from the base of the curve (when the curve starts to get straight along the side edge), measure up ⅜” and also mark using a pin.
In between those two pin markings, sew two rows of basting stitches. It is important to use a regular straight stitch with a long stitch length and no backstitching for these.
Pull the bobbin (bottom) threads to gather in as much as possible. Knot the thread once gathered to make sure they are secure.
View from the right side with both sides gathered in.
To keep the two layers together, baste along the bottom curve. This is just a holding stitch and not a seam, so it is ok to keep your machine on the same setting you used to baste your gathering stitches.
Fold the tab piece right sides together and serge/sew up the long edge. Use a safety pin to turn the tab to the right side and position in the center of the top curve of the front piece. Center the tab seam in the center and facing away from the right side of the front. Pin in place and sew to the front (inside the seam allowance) to keep in place.
Place the bust piece, right sides together, with the top of the front piece. Make sure to match up the centers so the piece is sewn in evenly. The side edges of the bottom front piece won’t go up to the top fold of the bust! It actually stops right underneath the side gathers.
Serge or sew the pieces together, and go slow around the curves. You will start and stop sewing underneath the gathers.
Now that our under bust seam is sewn, we can move along to the side seams! Simply pin the side seams, right sides together and sew.
Here is my serged side seam.
The leg opening elastic can be sewn now that the side seams are together. Start by pinning one end of the elastic to the side seam. Don’t pin the elastic all the way around the leg holes, just stretch the elastic while sewing and cut off excess when you reach the point of where you started sewing.
Always sew the elastic to the wrong side of the leg openings!
You can either sew in the elastic with a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine, or using your serger. Either way, make sure your slightly (and only slightly) stretch just your elastic while sewing it in place. You can also choose to stretch your elastic a bit more over the backside of your leg openings for more gathers and “cupping”.
Here are my leg openings elasticated, and you can see they are slightly gathered since I stretched the elastic while sewing. You don’t want your leg openings to gape open, so make sure to stretch!
After you elasticate your leg openings you must topstitch them down in place. Flip the elastic once to the wrong side, and sew with the right side facing upwards using a wide zig zag stitch.
If you have a domestic cover stitch machine, or twin needle you can use that to topstitch your elastic in place. Here are my topstitched leg openings, and from experience if you don’t use a stretch/ball point needle you will have skipped stitches!
We now have our base swimsuit complete with the bust, side seams, and leg openings sewn!
Stay tuned next Monday for part 3 of our sew-along, where we will complete our swimsuit and it will be ready for the water!
Meg Healy began to sew at the age of 12, which led her to study Fashion Design at both Fanshawe College in London and Parsons the New School for Design in NYC while also interning for Vera Wang. Meg gained the technical skills in pattern making and advanced sewing that led to a number of awards for her design and construction skills. She is now is the editor, lead educator, and face of BurdaStyle.com, inspiring members with sewing projects, online sewing courses, & how-to videos. She thrives working from her downtown studio loft everyday with her giant Flemish rabbit and is regularly commissioned to sew wedding garments, textile art installations, and everything in-between.