Friday, June 13, 2008

Bathing Suit Finished...*

The bathing suit is finished, and with a little luck I might even wear it for today's deep-water aerobics at lunch-time. It's funny how even though I've finished what feels like my sixth or seventh suit, I feel like such a newbie. I still refer to the instructions, although I feel like I've got certain parts down pat, like sewing the crotch lining (which I love doing for some reason), other parts felt unfamiliar as the uncertain path I took to a party last night. I know Chicago's north side fairly well (like Kwik Sew 2962), but how just did I get lost when the city's streets are laid out on a grid (not unlike when I was cutting out View A's pattern pieces using the wrong lines)? I had to tape and recut to get the proper size.

Since View A is not a whole different from its sweet cousin B, I'm certain I'm ready for a new challenge. Lazy People's Swimwear Patterns (thank you, Melissa) looks tempting. What a great resource! The undies pattern has me thinking. Mac Berg, the resident sewing expert at Vogue Fabrics, loves to make silk panties. She just lays the pattern on the bias, cuts away. She says there's enough stretch to make it work. I just might have to try this for myself. If cotton is your friend during hot summer days, can you imagine what silk against your skin would feel like on those extra-humid days when nearly nothing feels comfortable? Silk, a completely natural fiber, would be your best best friend, the one you invite over to your house, time and time again.

Back to swimsuits, particularly View A. Here are some thoughts, in no particular order on this overcast Friday morning:

  • Keep your hip size in mind when you pick a particular pattern since you need to be able to slip into your suit. You cannot pull this over your head, unless you plan on sewing snaps on. You can only imagine my delight at how easy it was to put on this suit. No wresting, tugging or funny little shimmies to get this one on! It makes me even more eager to get into the waters and exercise. If you have wide hips, you might want to rethink a racer-back style suit. It will be extremely difficult to get on. I still remember two years ago when I attempted to try on a Speedo at Dick's Sporting Goods. I abandoned it from the get-go in the dressing room even though I love this look. Sigh.
  • The straps and arm scythes are extremely fitted. This isn't a good suit for someone who's serious about swimming. You will not be able to move your arms properly for to complete even half a butterfly stroke rotation. I also don't think this is the best pattern for someone who has muscular (or at least well-toned) arms. It will just feel too tight. I don't find it uncomfortable; it just feels constricting after wearing those racer-back suits that have straps closer to the collarbone. I'll wear this suit plenty since I'm just doing water aerobics, not laps in the six-lane pool.
  • A regular-cut leg opening is not nearly flattering as a higher-cut one. I did the more modest cut, knowing full well it would draw more attention to my bottom half...and I sort of regret it. Next time, a higher cut, but not nearly as high as the ones you see on the "Baywatch" lifeguards.
  • It's worth studying the pattern illustrations for a moment or two. I can see everything I've just written about if I study the sketch of the brunette in the fuchsia number on the Kwik Sew pattern envelope. There's the cleavage that had me concerned the other day, the close-fitted straps, even the different leg opening variations.
  • Think about lining the entire suit. I know this has been covered here, but it's a topic well worth revisiting (at least for me) considering the fabric on my last suit fell apart so rapidly, I could have filmed the process and uploaded it to YouTube. Besides, I see lots of suits at the Y that look like they're of the birthday variety, if you know what I mean.
  • Vary your routine even if it's ever so slightly. It's kind of like taking your favorite way from work all the time. It will get boring if you do it every day, five times a week. You might even fall asleep at the wheel. I've snoozed at the sewing machine, but I could see how doing the same pattern, stitching lines over and over just might make you blow your project. I'm contemplating testing out the Jalie suits or another Kwik Sew pattern next time, even though both are pricey at the check-out counter.
  • Finally find fabric that's going to last. Kay (see the comments) suggested using 100 percent polyester if you want a suit that's going to last longer than summer. Which has me thinking that the box of what I firmly believed was nice swimsuit fabric is probably just junk. How can you tell what's lycra and what's sturdy poly? I'm thinking thickness counts for something, but I'm not sure. I don't want to do a burn test, yikes! But a quick way to say, "This will last more than four turns in the pool," would be nice, not to mention a time-saver. Any ideas?
* Ok, latest swimsuit fared well at the Y at lunch. See it drying above outside, before this afternoon's storms. I'll model it soon, but I feel a tad self-conscious doing so outside where the light's the best and all the neighbors will be watching and no doubt laughing.

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brony said...
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