This is an OOP swimwear pattern from Kwik Sew, which I think I bought about six years ago.I made View A. The bikini top has drawstring ties at the side and center front, and the bottom has drawstring ties at the side.
I made my bikini using a hot pink swim Lycra from Mood Fabrics. Don’t let my crappy iPhone photo fool you – the color is practically fluorescent in person! This fabric is slightly less stretchy and probably beefier than what Kwik Sew intended for this pattern, so even though I find Kwik Sew sometimes runs a little bit and my measurements put me at the smaller end of the scale for each size, the sizing was spot-on for me.
My other construction materials were 3/8″ rubber elastic from the Etsy seller LaceAndTrims (the same type used in RTW swimwear) and a lightweight nylon/lycra nude lining from my stash that I believe I bought from Fabric Depot. (The bra cups and entire front of the swimsuit are lined.)
I used my Janome 1100DX serger’s “stretch wrapped” stitch (#10) to sew the drawstrings, crotch seam, and attach the elastic. It is a three-thread stitch that the manual especially recommends for swimwear. It was especially fantastic when it came to attaching the rubber elastic. I used wooly nylon for the looper and regular thread in the two needles:
I topstitched everything in place on my regular sewing machine using a zigzag stitch. I know that RTW swimsuits tend to use a coverstitch, but personally I find a zigzag stitch is stretchier and a little bit more durable. I also had some bulky sections that I know would have been made more challenging had I sewn them on my coverstitch.
You probably noticed that my bikini top slightly different from the one shown on the pattern. Out of the envelope the top felt very insecure. The drawstring casing at the side just doesn’t keep things in place that well. I think it has something to do with the fact that this style works best on someone whose bust is fuller on the sides vs in the middle or front. It also just didn’t look great. As a result I altered the pattern to be more like a traditional triangle top by removing most of the curve at the side and replaced the drawstring casing with elastic. Due to my alteration I sewed the cups in this order:
- Attach the elastic to upper edge and fold/topstitch in place.
- Attach elastic to side edge. Tack one end of the neck tie in place to the elastic before folding over and topstitching the side edge.
- Attach elastic to lower edge. Tack one end of the back tie in place to the elastic before folding over and topstitching the side edge.
- Sew the drawstring casings at the center front.
It is a little bulky, but everything feels very, very secure. Much more secure than the original design.
I also snugged the elastic at the bottom of each bra cup a little bit more than what the measurement chart indicated, cutting the elastic to the XS rather than S length. With Kwik Sew patterns I’ve noticed that XS seems to coordinate to someone that would wear a 32 bra band, S to a 34 band, M to a 36, etc. (I wear a 32 band).
In case if you’re wondering, I didn’t add bra cups to my bikini top. The cups are fully lined and the drawstring at the center front and underbust elastic provide adequate-enough shaping for me, and I don’t really need the extra support. I also found the gathering at the center front combined with where the cups would need to be placed complicated matters to an extent that I just didn’t feel like dealing with ;).
I was really happy with the back coverage (both width and height) and overall fit of the bikini bottoms, but there were a few minor issues that I needed to address:
- I found the bikini bottoms too wide across the front leg openings/crotch. (I’m not sure about more recent patterns, but an overly-wide crotch is an issue common to many older Kwik Sew patterns.) I ended up removing a total of 1″ width from that section.
- I also lowered the center front waist 3/8″ to remove a fold that was appearing at the waistline.