Bikini bombshell, no, really

I’ve got lots of sewing aims this week, and at the beginning of the week I planned to concentrate on getting started ( and finished) with my vintage inspired swimsuit, aka mccalls 6569, in time for my short stay at the beach later this week.

Sewing this vintage inspired swimsuit formed the basis of my Didyoumakethat Sewlution. I’d bought some turquoise Lycra and lining from Truro fabrics in May. Why did I leave it until the last minute and until the best of our summer is over? The answer to those questions baffles me, I really have no idea except if it wasnt for having made the sewlution in the first place, I might have let it gather dust for yet another summer….


So, mccalls 6569. Remember I adored the frills and ruching? Despite the swell of Internet love for the the newly released bombshell swimsuit, I felt I should stick with my original plan and not desert this Mccalls. I’d clearly fallen for the one piece with frilly skirt ( think back to childhoods where such frivolous pool garb was not the domain of inter club swimming galas populated with Speedo and Arena swimming costumes with racer backs, but still, the very yearning for such frou frou nestled deep in the heart of my girlish desire). And whilst i was at it, there was only one bikini for me; clearly the two piece with frilly skirt. I am nothing if not consistent and Dare I say a tad romantic in my obsession.

A few weeks ago I prepared myself by cutting out the zillions of pattern pieces for both two and one pieces. What is it about the smallest of garments that leads them to have the most number of pattern pieces?!? And remember the lining too…I was cutting out for England …in front of the TV, of course. It’s such a nice little job to do with the TV on, as long as you’re not watching something with subtitles that is.

I thanked myself for having prepared the pattern pieces when on Monday I applied myself to cutting out. I knew that it could be a long task. I knew that I would be dealing with lots of pieces, in both turquoise Lycra, and white lining. I opted to make the one piece first. This decision was based on the place in the summer that we now find ourselves….chance of wearing a bikini for tanning top ups in late August is slim. One piece swimsuit on Cornish beach seemed much more realistic. And braver for photos too.

I’d thought when I bought the fabric, ‘ coo, I’ve bought enough to make the one piece and the bikini’, therefore was rather stunned to find out that my one metre was not enough for the one piece. What, one metre of Lycra is not enough to make a swimsuit, yet you can often squeeze a sleeveless dress out of the same length?! What’s that all about?

Plan B kicked in. Bikini pieces were found, roll call made against the cutting layout in the pattern, and headway was made on cutting out each piece plus lining where required. The bandeau draped top, is View A, and therefore appearing first in the instructions was made first.


I took my time with this, being very careful to match edges, dots and seam lines. Unfortunately I’d bought this pattern when I was a D cup, and have since shed rather a lot of stuffing up there, so had to make on the hoof shrinkages to ensure up there was cosy enough for what remains. Lots of seams, cup sewing, lining sewing, edge and top stitching and then the gathered and draped front shown above. Inside it looks like this


Yes it’s got boning in too, encased in the side seam allowances. I’d say those side seams are the least tidy, as i did not have much seam allowance to play with as casings for the boning, but was just following the instructions, ma’am.

Sometimes I used my overlocker, and sometimes my regular machine. I should have used my coverstitch, but am not proficient enough to manoeuvre it on smalls …yet….so there is one top stitched seam, at the bottom of the top, that I zig zagged out of safety. This top took about 3 hours to sew I think. By the time evening came I was ready to plunge into the frilly skirt briefs.

Wearing in Cornwall still seemed attainable. By this stage, I felt confident attaching the clear elastic to the legs with zig zag and turning in again. Is clear elastic easier to work with than regular elastic? I’m certain this finish is neater than any of the undies sewing I have done up to this point.


But all of a sudden, brake lights, hand brake turn even. Tyre Tracks of melted rubber left by screeching to a rude halt. The bomb struck.

This is as far as I have got. Yes, it looks like a bikini, but not the frilly skirted bikini of my dreams. Here comes the bombshell….Folks, you need more than one metre of fabric to make an itsy bitty teeny weeny bikini- it’s true! You need More fabric to make this bikini than you do a summer dress, seriously. I ignored the cutting layout at my peril. I did not read the pattern pieces to my cost. Look at these pieces here and see what the common thread is…


Each of these pattern pieces has been cut solo, but they need a pair. ‘Cut two’ they all say. Did I?! I think you know the answer to that. And I think you know that I have run out of fabric. Will I finish this bikini this summer is a good question….another test of my self discipline….

And whilst I am going to Cornwall, I was not planning on revisiting Truro, not with only a couple of days and the beach calling…..what a cliff hanger to end on!

21 thoughts on “Bikini bombshell, no, really

  1. Karen

    Suspense! Winnie, you’re the Hitchcock of the sewing set! What you’ve done so far looks great. Hope you can find more of the same fabric, or…something matching?

  2. Béa

    Oh no!!! I’m on the edge of my seat!

    Could the ruffle be a contrast colour? Then you could buy supplies in your contrast colour from anywhere, it wouldn’t need to be the shop in Truro.

    Or maybe one of your readers who lives near Truro could nip into the shop on your behalf?

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      These are all good options Bea! Luckily my Mum is planning a trip to Truro in the next fortnight….but by then the summer will be even further towards its end……will I be able to muster up the enthusiasm to complete it?!?

  3. blacklabel

    *hands-on-face-gasping* what will she do 🙂
    ive got this pattern, been wanting to make it for some time. thanks for pointing out more than a metre is required. i too was happily thinking these scraps of lycra i have would do the trick…pffft!

  4. Emma Jayne

    Do you have even another colour of lycra in your stash? You could call it a two tone or reversible design feature! (p.s. I was holidaying in Cornwall last week and visited Truro for the only purpose of visiting Truro fabrics! I tried to convince hubby that it was ‘on the way home’ even though we headed south for 40mins, spent an hour browsing/buying fabric, then drove north for 4 hours!)

  5. Rachael

    It looks very professional. Wear the heck did you get the pattern though? Not many pattern companies seem to do swim wear. I’d love to make my own bikini but I don’t think I’m quite at that skill/patience stage yet!

  6. Philippa

    It looks really professional so far. I am v impressed having never sewn my own swimwear. I think I would join a couple of those strips together, make one or two frills, attach them and call it done. It will still look great!

  7. Amy

    Sewing a bikini?! Amazing! I totally wouldn’t have the confidence in my abilities, I’m pretty certain a boob would pop out at an inopportune moment!

  8. Pingback: Eclectic undies: sewing knickers experimentation continues

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