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?