Tuesday 18 April 2017

Summer Swimwear Part 4: Lisette for Butterick B6360

Oh, it was always destined to come to this at some point wasn't it?...

You set yourself the challenge to make everything for the kids, start dabbling in making stuff for yourself and eventually decide you'll give swimwear a try.....

Maybe even swimwear for yourself?.....

Meanwhile, the over-riding golden rule is that everything that gets made, gets documented on the blog....

Yep.... I'm blogging about swimwear for me. Let's consider this for what it is, a pattern review and wearable muslin and certainly no swimwear fashion shoot! :) Ok, here goes nothing...

I thought it would be fun to give the Lisette for Butterick B6360 pattern a try and use up the rest of the patterned fabric I'd used for A's swimsuit. Add in that they both have side gathers and drawstrings and there was going to be some very funny matchy-matchy action.

My measurements were an exact match for the size 18W (what the W means I have no idea, but only the sizes in the second size range packet get a W, lucky us, huh)

Fit notes: Firstly for the top - I ended up shortening the straps a lot. I like the higher hitch of the shorter straps. I'd had to piece the straps together due to a shortage of fabric, but then finally shortened them by about 5" and so cut off the additional piecing I'd done after all.

This is the "dress' view with the gathering released. I would never walk around in a swimsuit anyway, so having a lengthened version for sauntering up the boardwalk is kind of redundant for me.

However, I much prefer the look of the top without the gathering.  I think the gathering and ruching is meant to be a tummy-hiding or flattering thing but I actually think it gives me more of a belly than I have. If I made it again I would cut the body of the top straight and shorter and leave off the drawstrings.

While I don't like the drawstrings, I do like the way they're sewn. The Jalie pattern of A's has you attach a strip of fabric as a casing then stitch over the side seam as well as down each side of the casing. Here, the side seam allowances (must be stitched and left open, not overlocked) are stitched down to create the casings. Easier and much neater.

The front has a built in shelf bra constructed from lining and finished with 2cm wide elastic. I could have made that elastic about 2cm shorter to give the shelf bra a bit more of a secure underbust feel.

I like the fit across the back. The upper elastic finish could be a tiny bit longer on me, and the lower back elastic a tiny bit shorter. Again, it sits much better across the back when it's not gathered up.

As for construction of the top, it's all easy and great except for one step. When the crossed under bust straps are attached; if you follow the instructions and diagram exactly, they end up with an additional 180 degree twist. There's a nice diagram on Pattern Review.com in this review for a different way to sew it.

I had already read that review and was aware it may be a pitfall but wanted to try it as per the pattern to see if my interpretation was any different. Nope. I ended up with the extra twist too. The straps, which are attached to the side seams of the bodice, are stitched together (instructions correct) then basted to the skirt part before the two are stitched together.

As soon as I started pinning the skirt to the bodice it was clear how the straps would sit wrongly. While I hadn't been able to envisage how to attach them initially, once they were wrong it was really clear the flip that had to be done to get them right. My advice would be to pin, not baste, and then check the position once you start pinning the skirt to the bodice.

Actually there's one other change I'd make to the construction of the top: The seam allowances change from 5/8" where sections of the top are joined, to 3/8" where edges are finished by elastic. I mucked that up a bit on the lower part of the back band. I'm not sure if I just needed to pay more attention, or if it would be better to alter the seam allowance somehow. I suspect the former...

Now to the bottoms.... These babies are BIG. If you like a bikini bottom with a lot of secure coverage then this is your pattern! I definitely had the right size as they are snug and well fitted, but when you hang them up to dry they cover half the towel rail! :0

I should have worn these swimmers when we went to the water slide theme park as there's no risk of a wedgie or accidental flashing when wearing these puppies.

Fit wise: I'd shorten the rise and bring the waist down from my true waist to about belly button level. I'd raise the outer leg opening by about an inch and the gusset is too wide for me. It needs to be at least 1/2" narrower on each side. The pants are lined front and back and the lining stayed put nicely (the swimsuit that went to the water slide theme park did not behave so well.)

The waistband is topstitched with a straight stitch, but in taking the pants off and on, I've heard that ominous thread popping sound. I'd topstitch with a zig zag next time.

In trying to show you the fit of the pants my modelling was really taking off....

You might say awkward and cheesy, but I say that there is a textbook move....

Which modelling textbook is that you ask?

Why, it's the posing chapter (page 570 to be exact), of the Encylopaedia of Modern BodyBuilding of course.
If only I'd thought to flex.
Rookie mistake.
Arnie would say "always be flexing".

Pattern: Lisette for Butterick B6360
Size 18W - no mods, but notes made above for next time.
Fabric: Patterned fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics. Orange contrast is Carvico VITA
Notions: 2cm and 1cm elastic. Swimwear lining from GJ's.


  1. I love the matchy matchy, your honest review & your body building pose. Are you ready to cut into 'the good stuff'?

    1. Well yes, but it's Autumn now. I seem to be way behind... Of course if I wait until next year I'll probably have different fit issues. But, there it is, it's time for school pants and coat sewing I think.

  2. Bravo bravura! Beautiful photos.

    Love the reviews and the bathers, the colours are really good for you & matchy matchy is fun once in a while.

    1. Well thanks. It;s funny you should say that about the colours as I never would have chosen them for myself.

  3. Snort, that was a very entertaining 10 minutes looking up Arnie quotes of which my favourite is this for Eurovision style cheesiness "Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer." Austria dix points!!!

    1. :) thanks for the laugh back! There's something inherently funny about giving a score in french. That, and the late, great terry Wogan.
      I maintain there is an Arnie quote for (almost) every situation.

  4. Good for you!! I love this suit and the fact that it matches your little girl, makes it even better than it already was! I'm so glad you decided to share! LOVE that fabric choice, as well!

    1. Thanks! I made the decision to share everything so long ago it would seem churlish to start holding back now! Glad I didn't scare you off :)

  5. I love this review, but then again I love all your reviews. Incredibly helpful -- though I'm not sure I'll be sewing a swimsuit for myself anytime soon, but if I do, I am definitely keeping those bottoms in mind. I'm all about coverage! As for the ruching, I like it better without, too. Love the posing. I think you need more of that on your blog ;)

    1. Oh, you know if I lived in Japan I'd probably have accidentally bent my legs and looked like a Sumo wrestler instead :)
      Start with swimwear for the girls and then... who knows....

  6. Love, love, love! The colours, the fit and the "posing"! If matchy-matchy is a bit cheesy (lets face it, it probably is), then it must be perfect for beach wear. No shark would mistake you for a seal, and it is easier to spot the family for friends who are meeting there!!! I would love to sew all our clothes, but with 5 kids, there isn't enough hours in the day. Bathers are possibly the closest we get, but for me? Hadn't yet considered it. Might have to now, though!

    1. I hadn't thought of that... maybe I should have made P's onesie in the same fabric too! : ) My mother in law did a pretty good job of finding us int eh surf each morning, how much easier would it have been if we were all matching?!
      Anyone with that many children has my respect. I don't know how you find time to breathe let alone sew.

  7. Brilliant swimmers and that last post is perfect. Great review with heaps of information, thank you.

    1. Thanks Sharon, I hoped the blog post would be slightly more informative than frightening :)

  8. I recognized that Arnold pose immediately!


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