Sunday 11 February 2018

Lisette B6358 - Swimwear Sewathon Part 4

You can't say you haven't been warned...

There have been plenty of opportunities to unsubscribe, block the blog or generally ignore me, yet here I come, in a bikini no less and you're still looking?! :) 

I understand. You're here for the pattern review. Well let's have it!


This is Lisette for Butterick B6358, a swimsuit pattern with a one-piece and bikini option. I thought I'd have a crack at the bikini, since I'd just made the one-piece Vogue swimsuit.

The top has a cute tie at the centre front and princess seamed cups which gives the option for colour blocking. The pants, while not as all-encompassing as the other Lisette pattern I'd used last year are still pretty generous in their coverage.

I was happily sewing along until I came to the bit where the elastic that goes around the top of the bikini top ends and the tie sections are edgestitched. I'd been zig zag stitching my elastic in place but surely I wasn't going to zig zag stitch on the ties? It was then that I remembered there is a full sew-along tutorial for this pattern on the Oliver + S blog.

My query was answered there (just switch to a straight stitch) and I was reminded of the option of adding some plastic side supports to the bikini top. I'd forgotten about that part and hadn't left the lining seam allowance free to accommodate them.

I tried the top on, determined it definitely needed the side supports and also decided I was never going to add bra cups anyway, so I could use my lining and cup lining layers to enclose the stays. Here they are in all their bodgy, last-minute-insertion glory

I used some quilting template plastic that I had lying around and cut these little paddle-pop stick shaped stays. They work perfectly and give the sides of the bikini top the structure they need to not crumple. It's rare that I would say I gain anything from sew-alongs, as frequently they just seem to be a photographed rehash of the instructions. But this one is useful and I'd encourage anyone to refer to it before getting started.

The other tip I'd take for next time is to use the Jalie method of inserting elastic into the straps. In this Lisette pattern the strap is sewn as a loop, turned right side out, then the elastic threaded into it. Problem being that elastic always seems to want to twist inside tubes. In the Jalie Gigi bikini that I'd just made for A, the elastic is stitched to the seam allowance of the stitched strap tube before turning it right side out. Then, when the tube is turned the elastic is neatly anchored. The Jalie pattern instructions are always available as free downloads, so you can see the elastic technique on page 9 here.

That would mean shortening the strap length to match the elastic length (can you see it's slightly ruched above?) but that's no problem.

I also wondered if I shouldn't insert some elastic into the waistband and the extensions that form the back waistband ties. I went with the pattern instructions and didn't, but if you like your waistband to have a bit of oomph and holding power then I'd say add elastic. I've used the Carvico VITA lycra here and it's wonderful firm, compressing lycra with great recovery. I'm guessing a flimsier lycra would make for a very "soft" waistband.

We've got a beach holiday planned for April and I definitely want to make the one piece view and give the leg openings a bit of a higher cut. A lovely commenter on Sewing Pattern Review referred to that as a French Cut leg, which sounds much better than my "stuck-in-the-eighties leg". So I'll keep the top half, add the stays, change the strap technique and French-ify the legs. Should be good...

Pattern: Lisette for Butterick B6358 - view A/B
Size: 14 - as per measurements
Modifications: last minute additions of side stays otherwise as per pattern
Fabric: Carvico VITA recycled nylon lycra and mystery stretch mesh lining cause I'd run out of the nice stuff

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