Howdy everyone! Today I am going to help you track down all the various bits and bobs for your Sophie Swimsuit pattern. I cover all of this in much greater detail in the Sewing Your Dream Swimsuit workshop, but thought it would be helpful to share my favourite resources for swimsuit fabric and supplies on the blog.
(Sidenote: we still have a handful of Sophie swimsuit kits in the shop but I believe they will be sold out by the end of the week if you’d like to skip gathering everything yourself since we won’t be restocking until next year).
SWIMSUIT FABRIC SOURCES
Most swimsuit fabrics are a mix of nylon and spandex; the nylon is durable and dries quickly while the spandex provides stretch. You may find it labelled in fabric shops as lycra, spandex, athletic fabric or dance fabric. You can occasionally find polyester blends labelled for swimwear but I’ve never used it myself so can’t speak to its quality. Some nylon/spandex fabrics are specifically designed for swimming applications and are designated as UV and fade resistant but I see these very rarely. I’ve never had problems using most of the random printed lycras that have crossed my path.
The following shops have a swimsuit fabric selection; please let us know in the comments if there any additional resources I’ve missed (especially internationally!)
I‘ve been Pinterest hoarding inspiration images for the Sophie Swimsuit for over a year. It’s kind of astounding how many ways you can interpret a cupped swimsuit, but when I started to really refine the details for this pattern I found my secret inspo boards to be invaluable. Here are some of my favourite images….
One of my absolute favourite things about this pattern is the way you can let your inner designer run wild and free and really have fun with print, pattern, texture and colour. I had so much fun choosing the fabrics for the many samples I ended up making. I hope you will too!
Even if you choose to go with one all over print or colour on your suit, there is still so many ways you can play around with the design, especially when the fabric is broken up in the bikini version. Why not insert knit piping (see my tutorial here) or play with stripe directions? I also love the pure simplicity of a suit in one allover subtle colour like the mint number above.
Thank you so very much for the truly awesome response to our new pattern, The Sophie Swimsuit! The studio is currently covered in swim lycra and piles of underwires everywhere and and we’ll be shipping out the first batch of swimsuit fabric kits later this week. In the meantime, I thought I would talk about how to choose a size and underwire for Sophie since this is a question we’re getting a lot. I’d also like to explain how you can make the pattern fit you even if you fall outside our cup range (which goes up to approximately DD).
CHOOSING A SIZE
Unlike all of our other patterns, you choose your main size for Sophie based on your under bust measurement. This dictates the size you are going to print, even if your waist and hip are smaller or larger.
Your cup size is determined by the difference in inches between full bust and under bust. For example, if your full bust is 36″ and your under bust is 32″, the difference of 4″ means you require a #4 cup.
(The reason I choose not to letter the cups is simple; based on the way our sizing model works, many people may find themselves needing a cup size larger than what they are used to when buying bras. I didn’t want you to freak out if you’re a DD in my pattern, so we just want with non-value laden numbers).
GRADING BETWEEN SIZES
Since the one piece View A body has 5 cup sizes, we had to split up the files by individual size or else it would have been a complete nested mess!
Happy first day of summer everyone! It’s like the season conspired to make this pattern launch as perfect as possible, because today I am thrilled/elated/stoked etc. etc. to introduce the newest Closet Case swimwear pattern, the Sophie Swimsuit!!!
This pattern has been in the works for over a year. I had started sketching ideas and making plans for a cupped, underwired swimsuit when my homegirl Sophie over at Ada Spragg wrote a post bemoaning the lack of one in the pattern world, and I laughed to myself and said, “Well Sophie, you just got a pattern named after you”. Can you think of a more glamorous or stylish pattern muse? YEAH ME NEITHER.
This pattern has definitely been my biggest labour of love yet. Turns out designing the ultimate swimsuit isn’t easy, but I couldn’t be happier with the end result. Here are the details:
With curvy seam lines and a 3-piece balconette cup, Sophie is both va-va-voom flattering and reassuringly supportive, a silhouette equally appropriate in the south of France or the neighborhood pool.
View A is a classic one-piece with a pronounced hourglass shape and skinny elastic straps. View B mixes a bra-style halter tied top with an elegant high waisted bikini bottom. With a low cut leg and a full cup, both offer sexily modest coverage. Tap into your inner designer by playing with contrast fabric and colour blocking, and learn how to add optional underwires and foam cups to make the most supportive swimsuit ever!
View A has an iconic bustier look and I love it with a colour blocked body – it really highlights that curvy hourglass center panel.
I‘m not gonna lie, it’s been an intense few weeks. We have a huge pattern launch tomorrow, along with a new online workshop AND fabric kits, and it’s meant a lot of long nights getting everything ready (FYI, I’m not using the proverbial “we”; I have a wonderful studio assistant who I need to introduce to you at some point soon because she is my personal angel more often than not). If you’re on our mailing list, you’ll get an advance look at what we’ve been cooking up when our newsletter goes out tonight. Otherwise we’ll be dropping everything tomorrow!
This year, after a lot of thought, consideration, agonizing, Petfinder stalking, training book reading and general obsessing, I got a dog. Both of my cats passed away very suddenly last fall, and with Guillaume back in France for most of last winter, I got very, very lonely.
I cannot tell you how many times I google image searched “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel” during those dark days. I’ve been in love with these creatures every since I saw one at the farmer’s market and completely freaked out the owner by squealing loud enough to make passerby’s heads turn as I lunged at her dog in order to stroke his soft, shiny coat. They make me react on some kind of primeval level, to the point where I wonder if maybe I was a member of the King Charles court in a past life, where they were bred to lie across royal laps in a wriggling, warm, flea attracting dog blanket. I had the same sort of startling, squealing reaction when I interviewed Gretchen Jones last fall, and witnessed the simple joy of a besotted dog on your lap for hours at a time.
I am a cuddler, and these dogs are born for cuddling. I like to joke that if it was up to Harry, he’d just hang out in a baby sling all day long so he could nuzzle in my neck for as long as he pleased. Of course, I looked into rescue dogs. I called every Cavalier organization in North America trying to find one, but no one ever got back to me. Later after talking to breeders I discovered that these dogs are so beloved that the moment one comes up they’re basically snatched up by a member of the Cavalier devoted.
Happy Sunday everyone! It’s been a frenzied week in the studio as we’re trying to get the new pattern ready for release (I’ve even shared a few sneak peaks on Instagram!) This weekend I shot it on an actual model (a lovely friend who was game to get in front of the camera) and rather enjoyed not being front and center for a change; I’m sure I’ll still model patterns from time to time but its kind of nice to know it’s an option not to, too.
Here’s what you’ve been up to…
A lovely make from the queen of shirt dresses, Idle Fancy.
I‘m always a little surprised by what causes sewing anxiety. High on the list of “scary” sewing tasks is sewing buttonholes. At the end of every Ginger workshop I’ve taught so far, I’m inevitably behind the machine in a frenzied buttonhole assembly line since most of my students are too nervous to do it themselves (often we’re also crunched for time and it’s just faster for me to do it all at once, but I always hear a collective sigh of relief when I volunteer).
Maybe it’s just my lovely Bernina, but I’ve never had an issue sewing buttonholes. Even my old Singer did a great job with them, and now that I’ve collected a few tools that makes the task easier, I can bang out 10 in a row without breaking a sweat. Here are my tips for sewing beautiful buttonholes every time.
GATHER YOUR TOOLS
I have a few favourite tools in my arsenal for tackling buttonholes, although most of these are totally optional. Here’s what I definitely recommend:
Fray Check or Fray Stop. The key to a long lasting buttonhole is a product to prevent your threads from fraying each time you insert a button. I use this stuff all the time and highly suggest picking up a bottle. It will last for years.
A button hole cutter. Stop trying to cut open your buttonholes with dull seam rippers! This little chisel cuts sharp, beautiful openings without snipping the threads you just laboured to sew.
A buttonhole foot. While you can sew them manually, don’t do that to yourself. A buttonhole foot will help you sew perfect, consistent buttonholes every time.