Those of you who keep abreast of blogs will have seen that I was the lucky Sewlution winner! Yes, it seems that the smile I managed to induce by the Mistress of the jar with my New Year’s Day reveal was sufficient for her to pronounce me the winner. I was super proud & it topped my weekend. Thank you Oh Mistress.
You know it took me a couple of sessions to make it, but with approximately 5 months in between sewing the top & some of the bottoms & then finishing with the ruffles. I think the top took me about 3 hours to complete. More on that here in an earlier post. The bottoms, sewing the basic knickers, were easy (& I really like the fit btw). This was as far as I got by August. My stint on New Year’s Eve if I am honest took significantly longer. This seems perverse & against all my expectations. I would not have expected adding the ruffles (x4) would have taken me about 6 hours. I had a bit of cutting out in that –cutting the new sea green fabric, but I’d say that the rest of the sewing took a good 5.5 hours. And I had no mistakes to rip out. And I am a quick sewer.
So there are a lot of pieces involved with side seams, gathering, lining to be basted in place etc. That’s where a lot of the time is eaten. And we all underestimate how long gathering ruffles takes, don’t we? These four ruffles are less onerous than they could be as there are “upper ruffles” which are narrower than “lower ruffles” & each set of ruffles (one upper & one lower) is joined together at their upper edge & then gathered together creating a pair with the lower ruffle peeking out below the upper by the required amount. So *only* two exercises in ruffling, not 4.
This looks great with the two colours I used – if even more flamenco than I had forseen! I used the rolled hem stitch from my overlocker to finish the edge of each ruffle in dark teal thread which I like – better than a white finish which had been my other option. I switched between my overlocker & regular machine for sewing this – mainly finding the narrow zig zag stitch on my regular machine to be easier to negotiate the precision needed & also the thickness of all of the layers – in some cases this was too thick for my overlocker whose blade could not cope with it all resulting in a couple of broken needles.
So that’s the story of the bikini’s construction. I’m pleased with the use of two colours, especially as they are two subtle colours as opposed to a bright contrast. How does it feel to wear? Well, first of all I need to add a shoulder strap to the top – it does not take much for this baby to end up round my waist! It has side boning & a tie back, but that is not enough for keeping it in place.
It has a gathered front which I feel balloons a bit & if I made this again I would probably opt for the plainer option (looking something like the inside of the top).
The bottoms/ frilly knickers (or kinckers as I originally spelt it) ? Do they fulfill my childhood dream? Well……..how do they make me feel? They make me feel as if I am wearing a nappy (or the kind of frilly pants that babies wear over nappies – you know what I mean). Or a costume of some shape or form. Is it the two colours that make the ruffles feel fancy dress? Is it too clown-like or flamenco for a woman of *my age* ? The actual fit of the bottoms is great – below hip level. I think I’d need to experiment with some garden sunbathing before I make my final determination on this pattern. And I still fancy the one-piece. I shall of course be aware that I need to check the fabric required before assuming that some pretty floral swimsuit lycra I have will suffice. Otherwise I could even make this up as a bikini with none of the frills…let’s see how it goes.
Looking back on it , it’s a bit of a relief to have finished this in the winter as I had every reason not to expose my 40-something year old body online. If I had completed it in the summer I had not a ready-made solution for just how I would have overcome that particular issue! And I think it’s my age that would have been the biggest no-no. Yes I would maybe be comfortable on the beach in public wearing a bikini, surrounded by other bodies of all different shapes & sizes with varying proportions of flesh, lumps & bumps on display. But for my 40-something lumps & bumps to be witnessed long beyond sundown doesn’t seem right & I would hate to inflict it on you & anyone else accidentally stumbling upon it! People on the beach – you stumble upon it at your peril! However if there is a tasteful way to show it out in the field accessorized by icecream & knotted handkerchief, I shall try. Just for you. But there are a lot of factors needed to line up for that one – heat being another !