Hello friends! Its been a minute since I had a chance to post in here, but I’m back with a BANG! Never one to do things by half measures, I’ve got a whole new SewAlong for you this week, and its all focused on sewing SWIMWEAR!
Wait…You’re Back? But where have you BEEN?
Before we dive into sewing swim (I’m full of swim/sewing puns this week, so watch out!), I thought it might be fun to give you a little background on what I’ve been up to since my last post!
Here’s a brief summary:
A year and a half ago (in July of 2020) my family decided to do something really crazy….we decided to sell everything we owned (save for a few boxes we pawned off on unsuspecting relatives), pack our family of five plus a dog into a 42′ Fifth Wheel, and travel the country.
We were tired of the daily grind, the fires in California, and longed for some real connection- the kind that you can only get by living with each other in 400 square feet. Did our family think we were NUTS? Sure, but we did it anyway (thanks for understanding, fam). We’ve traveled through about half the states, and had an AMAZING time. We have learned so much about the history, geography and culture of our country, but more importantly, we have learned so much about ourselves. We have found the kind of community on the road that we always craved but never found at “home”, and we’ve created a new norm for our little crew. It’s not a perpetual vacation- its a lifestyle, and one that comes with its share of challenges (breakdown in a WalMart parking lot in the middle of no-where anyone?), but we wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Here’s a few photos of one of the best experiences so far- participating in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, where we camped with over 60 other families right on the balloon fiesta grounds!
The kids got to help crew a balloon, launch the American Flag, and we spent a number of mornings having coffee on top of our RV watching the balloons fly overhead.
If you’re interested, you can follow our family’s travel Instagram account HERE (no annoying reels, I promise), and here’s a map of our travels to date:
One thing I knew I couldn’t give up when we launched was my sewing. So, while blogging has taken a bit of a back seat, I’ve been sewing away in the RV, and due to the climate of our winter in Florida (aka what the rest of the country considers summer!) I’ve been making swimwear constantly.
So, that’s a little update…let’s get back to the SEW-ALONG!
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice to sewing swim (or knits in general) hopefully you’ll find a good excuse to try something new with me!
What Patterns Will you Be Sewing?
So, how does this work? Well, each day I’ll have a new post and YouTube video for you, explaining construction techniques and demonstrating the assembly of two of my favorite swim patterns: the Greenstyle Cami Tank (hacked slightly to be swim friendly) and the Jalie Gigi swim bottoms.
Even if you aren’t interested in sewing either of these patterns specifically, you might want to give the videos a watch, because there are general techniques in each that apply to a variety of patterns, such as binding, swim elastic, topstitching, tension settings, etc. Any pattern related to swim goes, even one you design yourself- so feel free to venture out into beach bags, cover-ups, whatever fits your needs and sewing style!
Throughout the week I’ll also be sharing other new swim makes here on the blog, so hopefully something will catch your eye and inspire you to create your own swimwear! It takes a bit of trial and error, but once you get the hang of it, you won’t want to go back- being able to personalize your style and fit will give you a world of freedom over the dreaded swimsuit shopping experience!
Where Can I find the Posts?
All videos will be on my YouTube Channel HERE
And, if you head on over to the Fabric Fairy Group on Facebook, I’ll be posting daily and answering questions related to construction of any pattern you’ve chosen to use (Note: to post in the group, swim fabric must be sourced from the Fabric Fairy. There is a 10% off code for the entire site through next Sunday: MarchSAL). At the end, we’ll wrap it up with a Grand Prize, and hopefully have a lot of fun along the way!
For today, I have a video for you on everything you need to know related to:
- Swim Fabric Types
- Types of Lining
- Sewing Notions & Swim Supplies
- Elastic for Swim
Who Says You Even Know What You’re Doing?
(5 out of 4 Escapade and Gigi Bottoms pictured)
Swimwear Curriculum Vitae
Ok, I fully admit I still have a TON to learn in the sewing world, but in case you’re curious, here’s a little trip down memory lane/sewing swim curriculum vitae for ya’ in the form of previous blog posts on swim patterns I’ve sewn.
I actually had forgotten about half of these, and I’m feeling inspired to revisit them (and to cuddle my kids close, because how TINY were they back then?!)
Here is a previous post I wrote showcasing the the Jalie Gigi bikini, the Peekaboo Marilyn children’s suit, the 5 out of 4 Escapade, and the Greenstyle Moxi Shorts (hacked for swim)
Here is another post with the George and Ginger Daybreak Rashguard and Gigi bottoms
Here is my first attempt at swim, using the 5 out of 4 Escapade
Here is my post about the KBSD wrap top and the RAD Patterns Panel Undies as Swimwear
Here is my post on the Laela Jayne Violet Swimsuit
My Made for Mermaids Camilla, Lainey and Pearl Suits HERE
5 out of 5 Escapade Bikini Hack HERE
Peekaboo Baja and Jalie Zoe (I’ve made this one for my daughter 5 times!) HERE
Peekaboo Hang Ten Rashguards for my sons HERE
Greenstyle NorthShore for me HERE
5 out of 4 Tidal Wave Shorts HERE
I also wanted to share this blog post I wrote a while ago on Swim Sewing Supplies.
Swim Patterns List
(Greenstyle NorthShore pictured)
Finally, since any pattern can be used for this SewAlong, I thought it might be helpful to offer an evolving list of pattern companies that offer swim patterns for adults and kids. I’m open to updating this post, so if you think of one that isn’t listed, please drop me a comment and I’ll add to it! Some of these companies have YouTube channels of their own with full construction videos or SewAlongs, so definitely check those out!
Boo designs (kids/teens)
Closet core (adults)
Jalie- use patterns on FF site for 10% off (kids and adults)
Fehr trade (adults)
Friday pattern co (Adults)
George and ginger (adults)
Hey June (adults, beachwear)
Little Lizard King (kids and adults)
Made for Mermaids (kids and adults)
Max and Meena (kids)
Megan Nielsen (kids and adults)
Mood Patterns (adults)
Mountain Ash Designs (kids/teens)
Oh Lulu (adults)
Peekaboo (kids and adults)
RAD Patterns (kids and adults)
Simple Life Patterns (kids) Video tutorial on Lorelei
Sew like my mom (kids)
Striped swallow designs (kids and adults)
Stitch Upon a Time (kids and adults)
Wardrobe by me (adults)
Waves and Wild (formerly Made by Jacks Mum, adult and kids)
Wolf and the tree (kids)
Jalie Victor Swim Shorts and Nico Rashguard
Finally! We made it to my lastest swim make….the Jalie Victor Swim Shorts and a new set of Nico Rashguards.
These were made for my twins, who are growing like weeds despite running themselves ragged hiking, swimmming, and sword-fighting from coast to coast (favorite hobby? Dumpster diving for cardboard boxes and fashioning their own shields and swords. Who says kids need toys???)
I had to trace off a few new sizes from my TNT Nico pattern, and I think I underestimated one and overestimated the other, but it’s all good- the rash guards have been fully functional providing sun protection from the intense Florida rays since their construction.
For Noah, I used a Cobalt Blue solid swim here, again, with black contrast. I love that some of these fabrics contain SPF- we try to put on sunscreen diligently, but a little extra protection never hurt anyone, and they’re also made from recycled fibers.
One of my biggest surprises about campground life is that very few places actually recycle anything, so using recycled fabrics makes me feel just the tiniest bit better about all that waste! Just for fun, check out how little they were in the last Nico Rash guards I blogged about! Aweeee!
Victor Swim Shorts
I’ve also had my eye on the Victor swim shorts ever since they came out- they looked simple but had professional finishes that I appreciate in a pattern (like the grommets, and faced pocket openings). Jalie had a previous board short pattern that required alot of piecing, and I always wanted to make it but never found the time to trace it all off, so the Victors were a perfect remedy.
I was surprised by how the lining came together- I was initially worried that the center front seam on the briefs would irritate their sensitive skin, but the way Jalie has you construct them, this seam ends up facing the shorts and not their bodies, so they find it very comfortable.
The fabric for these is the Black Waterburst stretch flow board short from the Fabric Fairy- a favorite of mine for my own moxi shorts (sewalong HERE) and now put to great use as board shorts for the boys. I also used the ecofit lining, which is my all time favorite swim lining fabric- its easy to use, feels silky against the skin, and doesn’t snag (even when unpicked!) The legs are finished with rubber swim elastic (more info on that in the SewAlong), and the waistband is made from knitted swim elastic (also from Fabric Fairy). I constructed them using my sewing machine, serger, and coverstitch machine, but they could easily be completed using just a standard machine and a stretch needle.
The true test of any garment for children is whether or not it gets worn- kids are brutally honest in their feedback, and I’ve been happy to see these get used quite a bit since they were made. In fact, my husband asked for a matching pair, so hopefully I’ll be able to make this into a trio soon!
They did find that the pockets tend to fill up with air when they dive into the water, which they find hilarious. I was thinking of putting grommet holes in them, but if you have another suggestion I’d love to hear it!
That’s it! Don’t forget to post your progress photo for today in the Fabric Fairy Facebook group, and feel free to ask any questions there as well (or in the comments below). I can’t wait to see the awesome swimwear that gets created this week! Don’t forget to check back each day to see a new video tutorial/post, or subscribe HERE to get them delivered directly to your inbox.