It's been a minute since I've posted over here, but you know I can't pass up a chance to sew swim for my favorite rapidly-growing tween - and when that swim is CLUB swim fabric from Raspberry Creek Fabrics it's really not optional! I'll be honest, sewing swim used to terrify me. But over the years I've come to really enjoy it and look forward to the changing seasons and warmer weather as a chance to come out from my pile of cozy loungewear (anyone else a little tired of sewing hoodies and pajamas? No, just me??) and stretch my skills and my machines a bit.
I usually use my serger for construction and my sewing machine for topstitching, but this year I finally used my coverstitch for all of the topstitching and it was a dream! I recently upgraded from the intro Brother machine to a Babylock BLCS2, and it was SO much faster and simpler to get all of the elastics and hems coverstitched this year.
I've always worried that as my kids get older they won't want to wear handmades as much, but so far we are still designing and creating together. Last year I bought two ready-to-wear swimsuits for Miss P at a shall-remain-nameless mall store and after the first time she ran inside the house horrified that the wet swimsuit was completely see-through, I knew my position as family swimwear designer was safe for at least a few more years. 😂 This year I let her pick the prints and the designs and then set to work figuring out which patterns to mix and match to get the looks she was going for. Posey definitely has strong opinions about colors (sorry, pink, this isn't your year) and prints (tie dye and animal print are always winners) and styles (high waisted bottoms and this year, tops with cap sleeves) and I'm glad to involve her in the process. She's going to be the one wearing them and I'd for sure prefer for her to be happy about it! We started with some googling and some rough sketches, and then settled on a mix of old favorites and new-to-us patterns to bring her vision to life.
Sewing for a tween has been challenging on a few levels for us; it's important to me that she can start to define her own style as she wants to, and it's important to her that her clothes fit well and are also soft and comfortable. Miss P is a super creative kid, and it's always so fulfilling when I realize that I've been able to match the vision she had. She LOVES how these suits turned out, and I loved spending the time to do this with her. It pretty much sums up life with an 11-year-old that she chose the sleek classic leopard print paired with black, and also the bright and sunny multi color dot print paired with tangerine. Some days are cheerful and a little more childlike and other days she's packing her bags for college and counting down the days until she can drive. 😬 True to age and stage, I ended up using a mix of kids' and ladies size patterns - at 5 feet tall, she is a little shorter than the adult patterns are drafted for, but she's outgrowing some of the kids' patterns especially in torso length. Making two pieces was a good workaround for the torso length issue, and her measurements put her pretty squarely into a size 12 in most kids' patterns.
Here's what we ended up with, working from my favorite to hers. I love the mix-and-match feel of these sets and I know she will get lots of wear out of them once summer is finally here. For the first set, I used the Little Lizard King Sanibel pattern for the pieced bottoms and the Peekaboo Patterns High Tide Surfsuit for the top. The top is cropped just a little and I added a little ruching to the sides by stitching in a stretched piece of elastic at each side seam.
The other two pieces made from these fabrics are the color blocked Viridian Top from Jennuine Designs (we tested this pattern last year and the resulting two-piece was probably Miss P's most worn all summer) and the Made for Mermaids Calypso high rise bottoms. I had a half yard each of the dot print and the tangerine, so I had to get a little creative with the cutting but since the fabrics have four-way stretch it doesn't affect the fit at all. I did end up having to piece together the back of the Viridian top, but I topstitched the seam and we'll call it a design feature. 😉
Miss P picked the classic leopard print immediately and knew she wanted it paired with black. I love the orange and pink version of the print but she insisted she wanted the classic. We went with a sleek vibe for the first two pieces, which might be her all-time favorites. I used the Little Lizard King Antibes crop top and just modified the short sleeves slightly to be more of a cap sleeve shape, and we paired them with the M4M Calypso bottoms again but this time with the optional tie from the LLK Sanibel pattern. This set is so classy and grown up while still being plenty modest and play-worthy.
The final set was where we strayed a bit from the drafted pattern and had some fun making a top that was based on one that we had seen and liked online. The bottoms are the Peekaboo Patterns Bahama Mama boy shorts, they're fully lined and fit well in the women's xxs. I did make the waistband smaller than the pattern calls for since it doesn't have elastic encased and I wanted it to stay nice and snug. For the top, we started with the 5 Out of 4 Patterns Key West bikini and colorblocked the front. Miss P wanted a full back and halter top instead of the lace-up back in the pattern, so I sketched the shape of the back and used the existing front to match the width. I encased elastic into the sides, back, and hem before stitching the channel for the halter, and then just used a simple tie at the neck. As with the other tops, I lined the front but didn't add cups as we're not quite there yet and she feels comfortable with just the snug-fitting lining.
I love how these suits turned out and I especially love how happy, strong, and confident my girl looks in them. In a crazy year where so much has been beyond her control, my girl has been such a trooper and has rolled with the changes as they've kept on coming. I hope she continues to feel as bold and free as she is in these photos and in her new swimwear. 🌞
Make sure to check out all of the stops on the tour this week - and catch up on any if you've missed the last few days! Oh, and use code SWIMTOUR for 15% off your swim purchase at Raspberry Creek Fabrics! Thanks again for having us!
A huge thank you to our sponsors and don't forget to check out today's giveaway!!
Again, you can find the tour on Instagram with the hashtag: #suitupforsummer2021