Wednesday 29 May 2019

Jalie 0969 - That Sewing Blab podcast

I did something a bit fun and different today and joined a live crowdcast conversation about sewing swimsuit patterns.

That Sewing Blab is a weekly video conversation hosted by Maria and Dawn and this month has been all about swimsuit sewing. Maria invited me to join in and I immediately plumped for reviewing a Jalie pattern.

Here's the video link if you want to see me being awkward :)  That Sewing Blab: Episode 151
I come in around the 18 minute mark - My sound quality is a bit ordinary as I only discovered after agreeing to join in that our PC has no inbuilt camera. Luckily I could do it live from my phone, but I probably should have hunted up the ear buds and microphone attachment.

At least my sewing was ok!

I'm a big fan of Jalie patterns. I find their drafting is excellent, they come together perfectly and the instructions are, for me, the perfect combination of illustration and clear, concise language.

I figured the offer would be for a PDF pattern and since I always prefer paper patterns when I can get my hands on them , I decided I may as well choose one of their older out of print patterns that is now PDF only. Enter Jalie 0969

I emailed the pattern to Creffield Digital Print and picked it up the next day and got cutting.

Let's begin with View A, the one piece:

It's a nice simple shape but with a lovely back cutout and enough shape to keep it interesting. I didn't get modelled photos but it looks cute as can be on. A complained of a little bit of wedgie action at the back in swimming lesson but personally I'd rather risk a bit of wedgie than have those low cut leg holes that I feel make me look frumpy. I should try this one for me!

Using some of my big stash of Carvico VITA recycled nylon fabric it was always going to be a plain suit, so I added the seahorse! (PSA I think there's a tiny bit of this awesome fabric left at Sew Active Fabrics and she's selling it way below cost price - go snap it up)

The seahorse came from an Ottobre swimsuit pattern but this kind of thing is so easy, you could just make up any image. The shape is drawn onto fusible web which is then bonded to the lycra scrap and the outline cutout. The shape can then be fused to the swimsuit by ironing and stitched around the edge to keep it in place. I've used my sewing machine's triple stitch and a rainbow variegated thread. 

The seahorse's fin was stitched with decorative stitching lines and then only attached to the swimsuit with the stitching line adjacent to the seahorse body. I thought I had some iron-on diamantes for the eye but found a sew on sequin instead.

As per my daughter's measurements I made size N with an extra inch of torso length added. This is one of the only Jalie patterns I've sewn that doesn't include the torso loop body measurement. However, it did have a back length (nape of neck to waist) and so I could tell that I'd need the usual addition of body length for my long torso'ed kid.

Size N is the first size that includes the lining shelf bra, which I thought was kind of redundant for my eight year old, but knew she'd like it so I did it anyway.

At this point I hit a hiccup as I couldn't work out which elastic length to use where. On the pattern sheet there were lots of elastic lengths marked and each was given a number. Yet nowhere in the instructions were those numbers referred to. I fired off a quick email to Jalie before going to bed and had my answer promptly the next morning. In moving the pattern from print to PDF the page which held the key for which elastic to use where had been accidentally left off. 

Apparently I was the first person to point this out ?! how anyone had sewn the pattern without this key is crazy. If you have the pattern in your megabit stash then be sure to contact Jalie for the missing bit before you try and proceed. Anyone buying it from this point on should get the full package!

Of course I had to make a second suit with the same pattern:

This was A's request version. She wanted the View B bikini top and View D shorts. The coral fabric is also Carvico VITA but the navy is the last of something I picked up ages ago at Rathdowne Fabrics. it's been interesting to see how the different fabrics hold up to use. 

This navy fabric has been much shorter lived than the VITA fabrics. Of those, the lighter colours such as the pale pink don't handle the chlorine so well, but most of the VITA fabrics are still looking good after more than 12 months of regular chlorine pool use. The kids are outgrowing swimsuits, which is almost unheard of!

These shorts would make great gym shorts and I think they'd work well as boys swim trunks too.

The crop top is cute and worked pretty well in the pool - perfect during swimming lessons and only coming a bit awry when wrestling with her big brother afterwards. The straps are turned tubes of fabric without any elastic. They're cut ont he bias which makes them more stable, but if you were sewing this one for yourself and had any boobs to speak of you might find the support a bit lacking. No probs for the kid!

I had a little Jalie label and figured that would make the suit look a bit more "pro". I even bothered to change out the thread colour when stitching down the elastic.

The Jalie technique of zig zagging right on the edge of the elastic, then folding to the inside and zig zag stitching again works perfectly. The elastic always lies nicely and it looks every bit as good, if not better, than a twin needle or coverstitched hem.

If you haven't sewn swimwear before, it's really not as tricky as you might think. This suit is only a couple of seams (overlocked) then elastic edging. Simple and super satisfying and with such little fabric outlay when making a kid sized suit, there's nothing to lose.

Pattern: Jalie 0969 (gifted, thank you Jalie) views A, B & D
Fabric: Mostly Carvico VITA xtracycle, navy generic nylon lycra.
Notions: Bikini clasp from GJ's fabrics and elastic from stash


  1. You've convinced me of the need to sew swimwear, at least for my kids! Now I need to find a place where I can find the Carvico recycled fabric. Any suggestions?

    1. I think from the Cravico website you might be able to find international dealers. I found the Australian wholesaler and then we convinced a friendly fabric business to do a special backroom order for a group of us. There's an Aus website: Sew Active Fabrics who has just a couple of colours at heavily discounted price. Not sure if she ships internationally.

  2. You are fearless! I would be terrified to appear on a live stream video. You nailed it and didn't appear awkward AT ALL!
    I love Jalie patterns and have viewed the elastic tutorial previously, it is a good one. Interested in what you say about cutting on the bias, that didn't occur to me before.

    1. THanks Katy. I keep thinking of all the things I had meant to say and forgot to! I'd be intrigued to try the straps on me and since I don't have much boobage I might get away with it. But adding elastic is probably a good idea most of the time.


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