Monday, June 9, 2014

Modest Swimsuit: Into My World of Draping, Part II

It's been a while, and my second draping post is long overdue! I had needed a new bathing suit for a beach trip to Charleston, and since I was going to drape it, I thought I'd try and make a tutorial out of it too. Only problem is my camera's SD card went on a long trip to an unknown location (when I was sewing this, I've since found it :D), so my webcam and tablet will have to suffice in the photography department. A little crummy, but better than nothing, eh? So lets get started.
this is the finished product
First, you'll put on a tight shirt/cami/blah that you can pin fabric to. Like so:
Then take your mock-up fabric (I'm using a stretchy knit...not as sturdy as a lined bathing suit, but better than a cotton muslin as for texture) and lay it over your front. Pin it down at the neckline, smooth over the flat part of your neck area (like below the collar bones), waist, and tummy.
Mark center bust down to waist, neckline, and shoulder seam, (about middle of neckline? where my thumbs are)

 Add seam allowance and cut out. I sew with half inch seam allowance.  NOTE: you will have to add several inches to the bottom of this to allow for the gathering.
Like so
Then take the straight edge of another scrap of material, and pin it to the edge of the first piece, on your body. 
Pull it smooth at the top where the armhole will be, and pin it down. Also pin it smooth at the very bottom. You will have lots of weird gathers/fabric at the bust, just pin this down sort of. (second picture).

 Then mark your armhole.
 Mark your side seam (doesn't have to be perfect, just get the gist. Your fabric piece is not going to be an exact rectangle, more of a curved rectangle.)
Mark your natural waist, add several inches for gathering. Add seam allowance and cut out two.
since there are already bust gathers, you don't need to add as much gathering as the center front piece. You're pretty much only going to be gathering at the waist on this one :)
Now test run! We are going to sew up the front and hold it up to see if this works. Begin by running a simple gather stitch down both sides of the center front panel.

Now do the same for your side panels.

Once you have them gathered to fit, stitch them together. Side panel, middle panel, side panel. Then run a small gathering stitch in the center of the front panel. This is going to create your sweetheart neckline, and finish off your bust. Just hold it up to check and make sure it's all lined up where it should be. If not, tweak the gathers til it fits.

Now we move on to the back. Because Lettice, my dress form, is kind of exploding, I don't currently have a double body to drape on.  And from experiences I've had, it's not very easy for you to drape on your own back. :/ So-for the back of our swimsuit we shall have to make do with something else. Now I'm not sure if this is called drafting or what. Normally, when I "draft", I look at the shape of a shirt of dress or something, and then draw the shape out onto tissue paper, via measurements. But for this I'm going to actually trace the back of a shirt of mine. I have a little skater dress that fits decently snug in the back and I think I can work with it.

So find yourself a shirt or dress that has a fitted back, and some tissue paper (preferably white, though I used some purple stuff once that had lace screen printed on it and that made for really pretty pattern pieces!). Lay the shirt out flat, and pin the tissue paper to it-keeping both smooth.
tissue paper pinned to dress back
The  mark your pattern piece and cut it out!
Marking all edges, neck, armhole, side seam, waistline, center back. 
added seam allowance and cut it out.
Cut out the back on the fold, then attach it to your bodice front.
you can see how I pinned the shoulders on. There is a missing sleeve section still. 
this is the side seam and armhole area. just an up close shot showing you the gathers/ruching at the side.
As you noticed, there is no sleeve/strap in the front.  To make this, you are going to measure from the shoulder piece of the back, to the front part that is pinned. About at the top of the sweetheart. Mine was 6 inches. I then cut out a piece of fabric about 6 and something inches long, and 4 inches wide. Depending on how wide your shoulder is on the back piece, you may or may not have to gather the strap to fit. I did not, I only had to gather it at the front.

Once your bodice mock-up is done, and it FITS TO YOUR LIKING (if anything is the slightest bit off, take it apart and fix it. You might have to spend more time now, but it is so worth not having to wear something that is un-pleasant later!!!), guess what? You get to seam rip it apart and make patterns out of it. You can either just save the fabric pieces, or make tissue patterns from them.  After this you can cut it out of your fashion fabric. Make sure you cut two of each piece, one for the outer garment and one for the lining.

So that's it! There's your "vintagey" bodice. The skirt is just a basic circle skirt, and the leggings, you could just wear leggings or make some to match.

the skirt was a good bit shorter than it was supposed to be...but I ran out of fabric. That's the downside of sewing without patterns, you never know for sure how much exactly to buy. :/ One day I'll more than likely end up putting a longer skirt on it.
it was so smooth :)

p.s. We are working on a blog award post. Bascha's plate is very full right now, of life and work and school and sewing stuff, but we will get there :)


  1. Wow nice job T! I like it! I have to make myself a swimsuit now! LOL (I already have one but I wanna try making one I think) I like the length of the skirt :)

    Very pretty, T! I love the ruching and the colour is very nice on you! :D


  2. Thanks Ruth! You should make one! I've made, let me think, 4? lol :D

    1. can I ask how you *ahem* supported yourself? :D I don't know how to make a "bra-inside-a-swimsuit" lol

    2. I just wore a sports bra under it :-P I have no experimented with bra making yet, and my bras are too special for me to try and chop them up into a bathing suit. Its just more practical for me to keep it separate. ;-)

  3. Very cute Theresa! You did a spectacular job on draping, that's one thing I've never gotten into, but hope to someday!

    the Middle Sister and Singer