As the weather has warmed up, but some things (like the gym) remain closed or inadvisable, we’ve been taking another look at our surroundings, and trying come up with some novel ways to keep ourselves entertained.
Thankfully, we’ve hit the jackpot in a swimming spot along the creek about half a mile from our home, that we are affectionately calling “the big beach”.
I’ll admit, I’ve turned my nose up at the creek in years past- the pool is cleaner, comes with bathrooms, lifeguards, and even a cafe, so schlepping it to the local waterway with kids in tow hadn’t really appealed to me. However, these days, it has everything we’re looking for- a cool, shady spot to rest and play, the opportunity for some socially distanced play with other local kids and best of all, a way to beat the heat in the water!
My “oldest” and youngest child have both outgrown their swimsuits from last year, and since we learned the hard way that creek water and hot tub water don’t mix (hello green hot tub!), I decided a few new swimming suits were in order.
To keep things interesting, I decided to try out a couple new patterns.
Peekaboo Baja Shorts
For Noah, I chose the Peekaboo Baja shorts. I’ve made them before for Sophia a few times (but apparently never blogged them!), and was intrigued by the idea of using them as swims shorts, with knit swim fabric rather than woven boardshort fabrics, which can feel a little restricting to my kids as they run and play.
I love the look of Euro swim shorts, but could not convince Noah to wear them, so I decided these were a great alternative- they contain a lightweight liner (made with Carbon lining fabric from the Fabric Fairy), and the main fabric is a UPF 50 swim knit from KnitFabric.com.
I wasn’t sure if he would feel the whale print was too “young” for him, but he hasn’t complained- in fact, he thinks these are his most comfortable swim shorts yet! He also likes having the side pockets available for those little treasures he finds along the creek bed.
I was planning to put a grommet in them to let the water out, but I forgot, and it seems to drain through the stitches just fine. I also left out the leg elastic on the liner- he finds it more comfortable that way, and I haven’t heard any complaints of wedgies, so we’re good to go there as well!
Jalie Zoe SwimSuit
For Sophia’s suit, I went with a bit more complicated pattern- the new Jalie Zoe half zip rash guard. Sophia seems to be allergic to most sunscreen chemicals, so we prefer to just keep her sensitive skin as covered as possible, and the long sleeves of the Zoe allow for that perfectly ( Bonus: the lemons fabric has a UPF 50 rating as well, so it’s even better than sunscreen, since it doesn’t wash away while she swims)
The first couple times I read through the instructions I was scratching my head, but once I just jumped in and started sewing, they made sense. The front is lined, and the finish on the inside is really clean. Most of it was done on my standard sewing machine with a knit needle, though I did serge and coverstich the princess seams for strength and to reduce chafing.
I found the fit to be exactly what I would expect from a Jalie size H- perfect for my “average” 4 year old, right down to the length of the sleeves.
I especially appreciate the little details on this pattern- the zipper guard and neck band are constructed in such a way that they keep skin from irritation, and the back coverage is exactly what I want in a modest suit for my little girl.
This is the only shot I got of the back, but you can see it’s got great coverage. It seems like it’s sagging a bit in the photo, but it doesn’t do that when she’s moving around, so I think it was just the way she was standing here.
No sagging while she moves…
Plus, I got to use this bright yellow zipper that’s been in my stash forever- I can’t imagine what it’s original purpose was, but it matched this fabric perfectly!
The lemon print is another custom print swim fabric from KnitFabric.com, the lining is the same carbon lining fabric from the Fabric Fairy, and the dark mint swim is also Fabric Fairy scraps from this suit from two years ago (sometimes it pays to hoard those little pieces!).
As I finished this up, I found myself wanting one of these full zip suits for myself- I love that with a pair of shorts over it, the suit feel modest enough to wear around before and after our swims, and I really want to start doing some swim cross training once our pool opens back up. I also appreciate that the pattern even includes instructions for adding in swim cups in the adult sizes.
What have you been doing to stay active with your kids while socially distancing? I’m always looking for new ideas (that don’t include endless house on Minecraft…) They have quite a bit of energy these days, but I think that’s a good thing!
Maybe she’ll become a runner like her mama?
Last one in is a rotten egg!
Stay cool, and stay safe friends!