I’m so excited that I can finally share this secret sewing project that I completed what seems like FOREVER AGO (real time: February). This is the new Ipswich Swimsuit from Cashmerette, and it has all sorts of awesome features like the option for a built in underwired swim bra! Let me go ahead and make this disclaimer: the fit has changed a lot since I tested (yay for designers who take feedback seriously), so I won’t have much discussion of fit here as I haven’t tried the final version. This is more of a “make it work” story.
Jenny wisely sent it out for testing over the winter so that she could have plenty of time to work on the fit. The timing worked for great for me since I do most of my hot tubbing and hot springing in the winter and always get the itch for a new suit around January. Plus, I had already made a couple of bathing suits and various other swimwear adjacent things for rafting, so I figured I could probably offer some helpful feedback. I jumped right on it!
I really love my finished suit: however, as it often goes with tester versions, the fit was a little off initially. Also, I stupidly cut my regular Cashmerette size of 16CD-18-20, which might have been fine except the tester version only included a one piece. I could BARELY get that 16CD over my size 20 ass to send Jenny some tester photos. Note to self: check ass circumference when sewing a once piece.
The tester version looked mostly ok from the front (except for the goofy face, and keep in mind, fit changes have been made), but from the back:
Not so good! After doing an epic shimmy to get it on, I couldn’t even close the top! Once again, for the folks in the back, this does not reflect the final fit of the suit. But, I had put in so much work on the built in bra, and I loved the fabric, so I decided to make it work. And work, it did!
The only obvious solution was to turn this into a two piece so that I didn’t have to pull the top over my bottom to get it on. The first step was easy, I chopped it in half at the top of the waistband, added a lining piece to the waistband, some swimsuit elastic to that seam allowance, and voila: bathing suit bottoms. This also fixed the problem I was having with it being slightly short thought the body. Instant booty coverage achieved!
Puzzling out the top was a bit more complicated. Of course I could have started again from scratch, but I wanted to salvage as much as I could of the work I had already done. After a bit of trial and error, I decided to replace the back panel with power mesh covered with fashion fabric. I finished the top edge with the strapping/ binding that I had already started on the top. It was a bit of a stretch, but it worked.
I added another waistband to the bottom of the top (figure that one out) and added swim elastic to the seam allowance to keep it in place. I still wasn’t totally happy with the fit on the front, though it looked fine in photos, I felt like it was a little more full coverage than I would like in a bathing suit. I’m short above the bust, so I already suspected this would be a problem for me when I saw the line drawing. I think the higher neckline is a great design for a lot of body types, but it felt a little too high for me.
Once again, I landed on the simplest solution that didn’t require any re-cutting. I added ruching to the center front using a piece of swim elastic and the then pinched out a little V-shaped dart in the center front. This is an easy little hack that should work on the final version of the pattern too! I think it adds a nice bit of detail.
The inside doesn’t look quite as clean as it could, what with my last minute elastic ruching down the center front, but I can assure you that Jenny will walk you though all the necessary steps to get a beautiful internal swim bra. And if you are worried about that step, you can either omit it completely or buy the kit on the Cashmerette website to simplify the process. And the best news? Jenny included a bikini in the final version (and it actually has back closures, unlike mine)!!
This is quite an involved and time consuming project, but all the detail that Jenny put into the pattern will ensure that you will have a well fitting and well constructed swimsuit that you will be able to wear for many years. You know I love sewing knits, but sewing swimwear takes it to the next level AND makes you feel confident enough to put a ton of pictures of yourself in a swimsuit on the internet. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to level up their sewing! Also, let me just say: two-piece for the win for my fellow pear shaped ladies!
Just the Facts:
Pattern: Tester version of the Ipswich Swimsuit from Cahsmerette Patterns with significant hacks
Fabric/Notions: ITY patterned knit from LA Finch Fabrics (sold out but they have a few other nice options), black nylon lycra swim/activewear knit from Joann’s, swimsuit lining from Joann’s, mystery stash power net, bra and swimwear notions from Emerald Erin and Sew Sassy
As always, thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions!
Disclaimer: I received this pattern in exchange for my pattern testing services, however all opinions are my own. The fit of this pattern and my pattern hacking are not at all representative of the final pattern.