Jul 29, 2014

Finished Project: Wonder Woman-inspired Soma Suit

After seeing the Wonder Woman swimsuit I made for my daughter, several of you championed the idea of matching mother-daughter suits. 

I took your advice, but not to the letter. I thought the Soma swimsuit by Papercut would be the perfect pattern for an inspired-by-but-not-totally-literal adult version of a Wonder Woman bathing suit. The bikini top features a triangle-shaped panel that when cut in gold spandex references Wonder Woman's golden eagle without looking too costumey:  

OK, maybe it's a little costumey
At least I restrained myself when it came time to choose fabric for the bikini bottoms. I do after all have a half-yard of blue and white starry spandex left over...

Anyway, I'm not going to share a lot of close-up shots of this suit on my person due to modesty's sake. But I will tell you more about what I did to this pattern to make it work a little better for me. (And there are plenty of close-up pics on my dress form if you scroll to the bottom).


For starters, the Soma Suit is a great pattern because it features several variations. There are two bikini tops, a one-piece and bottoms in two variations (high rise and lower cut): 


I opted for version 2 of the bikini top and the lower cut bottoms. I've already cut the other bikini top variation (in gold with black trim) and will be back with an additional review once I've finished putting that together. 

To start with, I knew I would need a little more support than just a layer of spandex and lining (and I must say, if you have a large bust this may not be the swimsuit for you — though I think adding more strapping to version 2 would help hoist things up and look cool. Tons of straps are the thing right now, and you could increase version 2's lift and separate potential with an extra set of straps that cross over in the back). 

The instructions don't include any help on adding molded swimsuit cups (which were a must for me), so I spent some time pinning and placing on my bust to get the angle just right. 
 


Once I was happy with my cup placement, I zigzagged them down to the inside of the lining pieces:



Following that, I made the top according to the instructions. I made a sort-of muslin, in gold. I cut the XS for the bikini top based on my measurements but it ended up quite tight across the ribcage. The back piece in particular was small on me, which was surprising because I am narrow through the back. 



I sized up to a Small for my second attempt and was much happier with the fit, though if I made it again, I think I would use the XS for the front and the M for the back. 


I made a few alterations to the bikini bottom pattern for a better fit. I cut a medium and I found the front was a little too low through the leg so I used a French curve to raise up the leghole a little: 


Meanwhile I wanted a little more coverage in the rear, so I taped my pattern piece down to a fresh piece of paper and shaped myself a slightly fuller bottom:


As you can see from the photos above, the changes were slight but they made a big difference in fit. I wore this suit all last weekend quite happily. I credit the Wonder Woman power with teaching my kid how to finally swim underwater.


OK, for those of you truly interested in a closer look at the Soma Suit, here are a few close-ups on my dressform (she doesn't care how closely you examine her form):


I have a little puckering in my twin-needle stitching near center front. That was the trickiest part I found, stitching through those two curves while keeping everything smooth. I could unpick and restitch to smooth it out.


You can see there are no back closures on this bikini top, so you have to pull it on over your head like a sportsbra.

Even in this larger version (which should fit my dressform perfectly) the side seam pulls to the back considerably. It could stand to be redrafted at the side seam:


Here's the smaller gold version. You can see I zigzagged as the instructions suggested, rather than use a twin needle for finishing (I prefer the twin needle finish):


So with these two bikinis, I have now made FIVE bathing suits this summer! (Roughly equivalent to the actual number of times I have been swimming). Now if only we could spend more time at the beach...  

Have you sewn a women's swimsuit? Any tips to share with us on shoring up support through the bust?

28 comments:

  1. Ahhhhhhh, this turned out awesome! It really looks great! I'm embarrassed to admit that I have two Soma tops cut out and two bottoms (the Soma bottom and an Ohhh Lulu undies adaptation), but only one bottom sewn and I've run out of swimsuit steam! Maybe I can steal a bit of your swim mojo?

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    Replies
    1. They sew up pretty quick because there's not a lot of fabric there! (Plus no zippers, no buttons, etc). Get on it so we can hit the beach!

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  2. Quite possibly, the most adorable thing I've ever seen!

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  3. i would have love to see the star-spangled bottoms, personally, but i still love where you went with this.

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    Replies
    1. I know, I know. There's still a possibility for star-spangled bottoms. But I'm Canadian so something about it just seems wrong!

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  4. i love this suit! and i was secretly hoping the bottoms would be made of the blue with stars... but the red is still awesome :)

    i did make a swim suit recently and i was pretty excited about how well it turned out! i almost did the papercut, but i went with jalie since i trust their reputation and history of a great fit. it was really fun to make, so i'm kind of itching to make more!

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    Replies
    1. Gotta lurk your blog to see your suit...I think I remember seeing it on Instagram?

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  5. You might want to reconsider using a zigzag finish on your bikinis. I find with home sewing machines, zzing is superior to both twin needle and coverstitch finishes. ZZing allows much stretch than the others, and tends to hold together longer. I've sewn my own cotton Lycra briefs (as a male dancer I hate dance belts) both ways, and it is the zigzagged construction that has endured. Secondly, Gottex Swimwear often uses zz to finish their world class and expensive bikinis.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting. I don't like the look of ZZing as much, but if it's stronger....than who am I to argue? Thanks.

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  6. Where did you find the star bangled Lycra? About 10 years ago I wanted to make my then girl friend a Wonder Woman costume. I managed to sew up a nice pair of red high heeled boots, but I gave up when I couldn't find the blue and white starred Lycra for the panties.

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    Replies
    1. It's from Spandex House in NYC's Garment District. But you can buy it online from Garment House too.

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    2. Thanx for the source; I should have known, those guys have everything Lycra, they just weren't around back in 2001!

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  7. One more thought. Don't be afraid to use boning to provide support in the bust. On your top, boning could easily be sewn in the side seam, and even in that angled center front seam. Featherlite is a good choice since it's plastic and won't rust, and it's easily sewable.

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    Replies
    1. I agree this suit would benefit from some boning. Thanks for the recommendation on type.

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  8. Oh, how I wish you would make the star spangled bottoms. But I love it regardless! You both look awesome!

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  9. Ummmm, Sue...your ABS are fantastic!! The suits are incredible, too.....but those ABS! So proud of you!!!

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    Replies
    1. I just used the ABS filter on Instagram...

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  10. Replies
    1. Coolest mom who broke a promise to never dress like her daughter...

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  11. i wrote a super stupid comment and now i don't know if blogger ate it. it probably deserved to be eaten. to sum up: FREAKING LOVE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blogger did eat it ...or the NSA? Either way, thanks lady!

      Delete
  12. Very awesome! Love how you match your daughter! I aaaalmost made a shim suit this year before I went on vacation, but ended up not doing it after all.. I may regret my decision a little bit now.. But anyway, lookin good!

    ReplyDelete
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