Here we are at part three of our Alison Swimsuit sew along! This is the third and final part, so when you are finished with these steps you are done and can start wearing your own. This last part is all about sewing the bands and fitting the suit to your body.
First, we need to sew together and stretch in the back band that transforms into the straps.
We cut two of the strap pieces, so we must first sew them together. Place the edges right sides together and sew/serge.
Once the strap was sewn at center back, flip the band so the wrong sides are together and match the seams together on one side. Locate the center back point of the back piece and pin the seam of the strap to that marking.
Start sewing right at the center back point and work your way out to either side. This helps stretch the band evenly on either side of center back, and make sure the seam stays where it should. So serge from center back, and slightly stretch the back and not the suit as you sew. When you reach the end of the suit at the front continue to serge the strap together. Start at center back again and sew the other side.
Here is what the band sewn in will look like.
Wrap the front tab around the top fold of the bust piece and pin to the seam allowance.
Topstitch the seam allowance along the strap to the strap side. Use the same sewing machine settings you did when you topstitched the elastic leg openings. Top stitch the allowance folded to the wrong side of the strap to conceal the serging, then continue along to stitch around the swimsuit attachment seam.
This is where I got creative. The straps were long enough to reach to the back band, so I decided to first try pinning them in a criss-cross formation eliminating the need for the across back strap a part of the original Alison swimsuit pattern.
You can choose to tie the straps behind your neck, pin them straight down to the back without criss crossing, and decide to attach or omit the back strap and have it straight across or tie! That is the beauty of sewing your own swimsuit, you can customize it.
Now my suit is ready for a fitting. From experience trying this one one, use safety pins and not straight pins. Have a friend nearby to help you adjust the strap tightness if needed.
Also adjust the front tab to your desired length. The shorter the tab the more the front bust piece with gather down. Trim excess and sew in place using your regular sewing machine inside the seam allowance.
Once you are satisfied with the tab, trim the excess fabric and stitch to the front bust seam inside the seam allowance so it is invisible from the right side.
Sew the straps in place wherever you choose along the topstitching line (not at the top of the band fold) to make the seam less visible. Since I used a zig zag stitch for my topstitching, I also used the zig zag stitch to sew the strap in place right overtop of the existing topstitching.
If you don’t want straps you can simply tie the straps in a bow behind your head for a halter neckline! Just turn and topstitch the end edges to finish them off.
For my swimsuit I actually ended up cutting off the straps and sewing on a clasp that does up behind my neck. I also found that I didn’t need the back strap because I have a shorter torso.
Here is my finished Alison swimsuit made from Sport Lycra! I love the retro look of this suit and the lycra was a perfect choice to sew it in, it had just the right amount of stretch to wear it comfortably and also provide a little support. View more images and see the project here. I also love how it pairs with my double gauze kimono.
I hope you enjoyed this sew along, and are now more confident working with lycra. It is really quite easy, you just need to use the right techniques and equipment. Once you sew up your own Alison suit in sport lycra make sure to upload it to our projects page and link it to the Alison suit so you can share with the community.