Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm Done With Kwik Sew 2962

How many times have I sewed this pattern? Eight times? Nine? I've lost count, it's been so many. There was this black polka dot on pink number. Three different permutations of purple. That's four. Oh yes, another in fiery neon floral on a black background. Five. That brings me to the fraternal twins I labored to deliver these past few days. You've seen this, but not this one (see above). Oh, yes, there's still another that's lined, and ready for elastic. That is indeed eight, two fewer than the number of children in my family. Wow. To think that all but the latest three are the only ones still in existence is a shame. I'm just creating disposable suits. Perhaps that's why I'm not too keen on technique. I figure the bathing suit will be past its prime in a mere three months, so why worry if the zig-zag top-stitching looks like wayward railroad switching tracks on my bathing suit straps or matching stripes properly?

Even though I might feel like I'm a bit too carefree with my foot on the plastic pedal, I'm getting better making these suits. I still have to follow the instructions for inserting the crotch, but it's getting easier. I read the instructions a little more closely while I was stitching at Vogue Fabrics classroom yesterday afternoon ($5 for the day. What a steal!) and learned more about Kwik Sew 2962. Here were some things I noticed that might be helpful should you decide to try this pattern on for size.
  • The Sewing Procedures are Helpful. Here it suggests using a size 12/80 ball-point sewing machine needle. What's Not in the Instructions: I just used one intended for stretch fabrics, but had it started skipping, I would have hustled my bustle to the cash register outside the classroom door and bought what I needed. (That's one of many reasons why it's great to use this classroom.)
  • Top-stitching is a Science They Don't Teach You in School. Kwik Sew suggests using a medium zig-zag and a medium or slightly shorter stitch length. I dialed down both on the Viking 735, vastly improving the appearance of my stitching. You could top-stitch with twin needles, but can you believe I haven't done this before on any my bathing babies? I'm always, always afraid of breaking the needles. What's Not in the Instructions: Use matching thread if your stitching isn't always even.
  • Seam Allowances are 1/4 -inch. Oops. I'm so used to 5/8-inch allowances, I just assume that Kwik Sew's are the same. No wonder my suits are a little bit snug, although the scant allowance might be helpful if you're using a serger and you make a mistake the first time down a seam. What's Not in the Instructions: If you're a little off, there's still plenty of ease; swimsuit jersey is a stretchy fabric after all.
I also noticed something else on the pattern too. Apparently lengthening the suit is a different ballgame from giving yourself what appears to be more room for the back-side. I cut for the latter, when I really need to add inches higher up on Front View A and Back View A for my long torso. Ah well. Next time. The suit still seems to fit ok. I don't get a wedgie, which has always been a problem with ready-to-wear. That alone makes sewing swimsuits so worthwhile.

Anyhow, I'm officially done with sewing swimwear. At least for a while. I was going to make some one-piece suits for my nieces with all my little bits of leftover fabric and elastic, but I'm tired of sewing what feels like miles of elastic; it's kind of long-distance driving on the same highway for hours and hours (Driving across on I-80 in Iowa comes to mind, circa 2006). Still it's nice knowing I've got a couple of options at the ready for my next water-aerobics adventure.

One final observation re assembly-line swimwear sewing. Don't worry about using not using elastic specifically made for swimming. This is actually hard to find in my neck of the Illinois woods. I'm usually too eager to get sewing to really care, so I just use the regular stuff. Your fabric is more likely to give out before your elastic will. How many of you sew your own swimsuits? What are your tricks to trade beyond not photographing yourself in the suit for all of the Internet to see (that would be my no. 1)?


Lindsay T said...

Good info here, MaryBeth. As soon as I can get to Spandex House in NYC I'm going to make a test bikini for my DD.

Melissa Fehr Trade said...

thanks for these tips! I haven't got this pattern, but a lot of those seem applicable no matter what pattern you use...