Happy Monday Sewalongers! We had a provincial holiday today and I just spent the weekend splashing in the lakes and rivers of Quebec & Vermont in my Bombshell bikini and maillot (they hold up well to rapids).
Today we are going to finish View A! I've had a lot of questions about adding support to the suit, and I am going to explain some options to do so.
A disclaimer: the cups I was going to add gave me weird bullet boobs so after finishing sewing my sewalong suits I tried to insert some into an old sample to show you how to do it. It was at this point that my machine basically had a temper tantrum and refused to cooperate with me. Then I cut my finger and bled on the lining. So what I am about to show you is some of the ugliest sewing I have ever done. Thankfully my spazzy old Singer is about to be replaced by a new Bernina, but in the meantime, please forgive me.
At this point, your suit should be assembled with just the bust to complete. Since your lining has not yet been attached to the fabric at the top, we will be able to insert our support (if necessary). You could also do this much earlier if you baste your lining pieces together to check the fit. However, I suspect the placement of the cups will be more accurate when the suit is pretty much assembled. It is slightly tricky to sew in your cups around the other layers of fabric but it can be done easily enough.
Try your suit on and locate where you would like to place your cups. While wearing it, carefully pin each cup in between the lining and the fabric with a few pins. If you would like even more support, mark with a few pins just under where your breasts begin. This is where you can sew a piece of elastic to create a sort of boob shelf in your lining.
Take the suit off and turn it so the bad side of the lining is facing you. Make sure your cups are more or less evenly located. The pins you inserted before were to indicate their placement, but now we want to repin it so that you create space in the cup to fit your breast. Smoosh the cup down where you want it, and carefully pin around it. When you unsmoosh it, the lining should indent into the cup on the right side. Dixie demonstrates this very well here.
With your cup pinned into place, carefully sew around the edge using a medium zigzag stitch. When you are finished, your suit should look like this from the wrong side of the lining:
Minus these heinous zigzag stitches.
Once your cups are done, if you want to add the elastic "shelf", sew a piece of your elastic just under your cups using a wide zigzag stitch. Katie did so in her post here. This is what it looked like:
If this is not enough support for you, you have two options. One is to sew a strapless bra minus the back band and sew it to your seam. Norma of Orange Lingerie does a beautifully detailed post for the Swimalong here. Obviously this entails some prior experience with bra making.
Alternatively, you could buy a strapless bra to insert. I suggest buying one with minimal padding and details since it will be heavier when wet. Wear the bra while trying your bombshell on, and pin it to your seams. Baste the bra band to your side seams outside your lining, and try it on again (this time with the bra unfastened) to ensure it is correctly located. Trim the excess bra band and reinforce your seams.
On to finishing this bad boy! When I made my samples, I found I did not need to add any stretch to the top elastic to get a good fit, but a few ladies have had issues with gaping. If this is the case, you will want to cut your elastic to about 80% of the total length of your top opening, divide into quarters and stretch to fit the suit. You should be able to tell when you are trying on your suit whether or not you will need stretch in your elastic.
First we must attach our lining to our fabric. Using your serger or a narrow zigzag stitch, sew all the way around your suit, carefully lining up your fabric and lining. When you get to the gather at the center bust, flatten out the top of the ruching a little so that you have a smooth edge to attach to your lining.
Now cut a piece of elastic the same length as the opening (or 80% of the opening if you will have gaping issues), and attach with a wide zig stitch all the way around. Be especially mindful at your center gather so that the fabric is slightly flat at the top.
Flip the elastic to the inside and carefully top stitch around the edge of the elastic using a medium zig zag stitch so that it does not flip up.
Once your elastic is finished, it is time to sew down the bust tab. Fold the tab up and under the elastic at the front of the suit. Pin the bottom of the tab to the lining of the suit and using a long stitch, baste it into place, about a 1/4" below where it is fastened on the front. Ensure that it is centered.
Turn your suit around and using a smaller straight stitch, sew down the tab "in the ditch", meaning as close as possible to the seam where you initially inserted the tab.
Remove the basting stitches. When complete, it should look like this:
Now is the time to assemble your straps. Fold the good sides together and serge or zig zag the long end and narrow edge together.
Flip inside out and press. Serge the bottom edge.
There is a notch to indicate where the strap should begin. You could also just try it on and determine where you would like your straps to be located. Pin them down and sew them to your suit using the same medium zigzag stitch you used to topstitch your elastic, over the topstitched line.
Drum roll please....
YOU'RE DONE!! A big round of applause for completing your Bombshell! Go find a pool, a beach, a riverfront, a balcony or a sidewalk and strut your hot ass stuff.
My finished suit looks like this:
Tomorrow we will be finishing View B!