I usually post more on Instagram but I thought it’s a good time to update my blog after testing the Mairin swimsuit pattern by Sew a Little Seam (aff link). Once again, Kelly Ballou has knocked it out of the ball park with the myriad options! It comes in 3 lengths – bikini, tankini and one piece; with wide straps or narrow straps; bikini cut bottoms or boy short bottoms; tie back, shoulder tie, halter, v back, cross back or scoop back (depending on the straps). Even the bottoms have various lengths, and you can add the optional peplum or ruffle for some versions. Ours is the wide-strap tie-back one-piece with boy short bottoms.
This was the most fun photo shoot we’ve had in a long time. Miss A hasn’t been well for months so it’s the first time in ages that she has hit the pool. The timing of the shoot also coincided with her term break. Her classmate joined her for some splashing good fun later the same day, and again yesterday. She has worn her mum-made swimsuit twice this week and I’m so glad she appreciates it, flaws and all.
The flaws are due to user error, of course. It was my first time sewing with swim fabric and it was tricky attaching elastic to the curves, such as the neckline and armscyes. Besides wonder clips, I tried using fabric glue, which was helpful, but the fabric did not always stay in place. I’ve since found that my straight tailor’s awl from Clover is very useful for the task as it can slide a little under the presser foot. I just have to go slow.
I bought the navy blue nylon spandex performance knit from LA Finch Fabrics at US$7.99 a yard. It was originally meant for Shenanigans Skorts (for myself and my mother-in-law) and maybe they will materialise another day. I would also have used a print with nautical rope stripes but I ran out of time (enabler alert: the last 2-7/8 yards cut is still available for $14 here). Miss A kept draping herself with it when I left it outside, but fortunately she has short-term memory and hasn’t been bugging me for another swimsuit. Well, she’s happy enough with the first one, even though it’s supposed to be a muslin. Anyway, there aren’t many places where you can get such good quality fabrics at such low prices so it’s worth checking out LA Finch Fabrics. I’m not an affiliate, just sharing the love.
For a swimsuit, the height measurement does not matter as much as the vertical trunk measurement. Miss A’s VT is 36″, just between size 2 and size 3, so I blended sizes, with some room to grow. Her waist corresponds to the 18 months size and on hindsight, I should have graded that too. There’s a bit of bunching behind as a result when she’s standing up.
The main changes I made to the pattern had to do with elastic lengths. I used longer leg elastic than what was in the chart (11.5″ instead of 10″). You are advised to measure around your child’s leg first but do note that it has to stretch a little at the back. As for the neckline and armscyes, I just attached the elastic without measuring and cut off the excess since no stretch was required.
The tie-back option is the only one that needs to be fully lined. My lining (from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop) is only 1/2 yard, which isn’t long enough to fit, so I only lined the crotch and had to topstitch the side seams.
Did you notice that the pool looks more blue in some photos? Those were taken with my iPhone 8 Plus (while the rest were taken with my Canon EOS 7D)! I really appreciate the portrait mode that comes with my phone (which I only paid $4 for after trading in an old model).
Sewing can be so challenging but I always feel a sense of accomplishment after completing a new project and picking up new skills. The fun also comes when you see your handiwork being worn. Do check out the SALS FB group for a code to get the pattern at $7. Thanks for reading my post and happy sewing!