Sewing is not always the most economical choice. When I started sewing, I thought learning to make clothes would allow me to have the wardrobe I wanted at a price tag that was affordable. I have since learned, sewing most often doesn’t equal a smaller price tag (though it can as you consciously shop for fabric), and involves a lot of work. The thing is, I love it. I love to sew. Even if it takes longer. And even if it doesn’t always work out.
In a family of six, I have learned where sewing is economical and especially worth the effort (even if it is a garment that scares me or requires me to learn a lot of new skills and be brave).
Making swimsuits, especially female swimsuits, is a place where sewing can save my family money. Swimsuits don’t require a lot of material, but they do require a certain amount of bravery.
I was so excited when Megan Nielson came out with the Cottesloe swimsuit for women. I sewed myself my first suit using her top rate instructions. I have worn it and loved it. When I discovered Megan Nielson patterns was also coming out with a kids version of the Cottesloe suit (Mini Cottesloe) I almost exploded with happiness! I knew I wanted to make one!
I took out my swimsuit material and let my daughter choose the colors she wanted. I was delighted when she picked the same green I used in my suit from Michael Miller Fabrics! She also picked a light coral color for the front, which actually was repurposed for a pair of American Apparel athletic leggings (see, economical, ha!). Color blocking was her idea… cue proud mom moment. I happily obliged. Her top half fit into a size 10 (both her dad and I have broad shoulders), while her bottom half fit into a size 8. I graded between the two and sewed it up. As expected, the instructions made sewing another suit feel totally doable and made me feel a little like superwoman.
She wore the suit and loved it. After some time passed, she confided in me that lengthwise the swimsuit felt tight. I checked the tension of the straps at her shoulder and inner thighs and sure enough it was too tight. I had improperly graded the length of the suit when making the bottoms smaller than the top (according to her measurements). She loved the suit, and I knew I needed to make a change. I would chop the suit in half and add some length.
I did not know how much I would love the look of the suit after fixing my mistake. I love it even more than the original suit I made her, which I really liked. The 2 inch band around the middle is slimming, an interesting/appealing detail, and adds the length my long waisted lady needed.
I am so happy Megan Nielson Patterns listened to the people (Ha! She might have been planning this suit all along, either way, so happy it’s here!) and came out with the perfect companion to the Women’s Cottesloe Suit. Next swim season in Califorina, I will make an even more mommy and me version, and I can’t wait (hopefully my almost 12 year old won’t mind!). At this point, I’m looking for every way to strengthen the bond between my only, maturing, thoughtful, strong, hardworking, smart and fun daughter and myself. She is such a joy to me, and it is fun to find ways to continue to bond together.