Sewing

Cottesloe Swimsuit

Hi friends! Oh, let me tell you that I am stepping out of my comfort zone BIG TIME with this post. I’m here today to show off my new swimsuit!

It’s a bit scary to be modeling a swim suit here on my blog… but I have to tell you learning to make my own has been a game changer for the way I feel wearing a bathing suit. Let’s talk about the pattern…

This suit is the newest pattern from Megan Nielsen, called Cottesloe. It’s a classic style swimsuit pattern that includes a one piece view as well as mix and match bikini sets.

I was a tester for this pattern and testing was done around this time last year. Meg decided not to rush the release for last Summer and she worked on making the pattern the best it could be over the course of the last year.

There have been a couple of changes made to the pattern since I tested it. On the view that I made, I can tell that there is more coverage in the lower front of the armscye and a waistband piece has been added to the bikini bottoms.

I’ve got lots of photos for you– of the tester version I made last year (those photos were taken last year) and the new set I made this month. Last year’s tester set is the black with the cherries and this year’s is the blue top with the marbled bottoms.

My suit from last year is a size 10 top and a size 14 graded to a 16 bottom. I didn’t make any changes to the pattern for that suit. It was the very first bathing suit I’d ever made.

Can I tell you how nervous I was to test a swim pattern? I went back and forth about whether to say yes or no and in the end I’m so glad I said yes. Having a deadline forced me to dive in and just do the thing. And it was really so much fun!

The fit on the tester top I made last year wasn’t perfect. It turned out pretty darn tight on me. I think I pulled the elastic too tightly and probably should have gone up a size. Despite that I still considered it to be a wild success because it taught me how to sew a swimsuit!

I tried to find more of this cherry fabric last year and it had sold out by the time I realized I wanted to remake the top. I ordered it from Fabric Fairy and they don’t have any in stock at the moment but I’m going to keep checking back. A solid red would be cute with these bottoms, now that I think of it.

Anyway, Meg sent me the final Cottesloe pattern a couple of weeks ago and asked if I’d like to make another. I jumped at the chance to try the pattern again– especially since I’d hoarded a bunch of swim fabric from Blackbird fabrics at the end of last Summer.

Have you ever seen Kortni Jeanne swimsuits? I love looking at all of the cute styles on that site (and I love that they show them on a variety of body types over on their Instagram page.) I was inspired by a peplum top I saw from Kortni Jeanne when I made my new Cottesloe.

I love the ease of a two piece suit when it comes to bathroom breaks at the pool– especially if I have to drag my kids to the bathroom with me. But I’m not super comfortable showing much stomach area skin so I decided to try adding a peplum to Cottesloe.

I used the View D top when I made my peplum top. My measurements put me in a size 10 top, but based on how snug my original top is I decided to go up to a 14 for this one. I’m so happy I sized up– it’s still quite snug and I probably would have popped seams on the size 10 if I’d made it again.

The only issue with sizing up is that the straps are longer and I probably should have shortened them. I always baste my swim elastic on first before I do the final zig zagging and I’m really, so glad I did that on this top. The straps were slipping off of my shouders when I used the elastic measurements for the size 14 top. I went down to the size 12 recommended lengths and it worked out much better.

To modify my top, I lengthened the top 1.5″ from the bottom of the side seam and drew a line straight across the bottom, perpendicular to the grain line. (The center front of the Cottesloe view D piece dips down a bit and the center back comes up a bit– I just decided to split the difference and draw a straight line to lengthen it.)

Both my top and bottom are fully lined. On the waistline of the top, I serged the lining and the main fabric together before I added the peplum. I was considering adding 1/4″ elastic to the waistline but my top is plenty snug and I decided it wasn’t necessary.

I cut my peplum pieces 1.5x wider than the hem of the top and 8.5″ long. I gathered the peplum and overlapped it and the bottom of the bodice by 1″. I attached it from the right side by sewing a stretch stitch seam 3/8″ from the top of the peplum. I like that the gathered edge is on the outside of the suit so it wouldn’t rub my stomach weirdly.

Swim fabric doesn’t unravel so I left the top and bottom edge of my peplum raw. I really love how it turned out and think it’s a pretty good duplicate of my inspiration swim top.

I made the bottoms a little bit different from the pattern. I cut between the high and low rise lines for a mid-rise bottom.I made these the same size as my tester bottoms, a 14 graded to a 16.

I also left off the waistband and just sewed my waistband elastic the same way as the leg elastic. (I wanted to conserve my leftover fabric in hopes that I can make a top with this fun marbled looking print.) I used 1/2″ elastic in the waistband.

Side note, when I was hoarding swim fabric last year I also started a stockpile of swim elastic. I love the stuff that Blackbird fabrics sold. Swimsuits chew up a bunch of elastic so if you’re going to order any I’d tell you to get at least double the recommendations in the pattern. If you’re at all like me you’ll get addicted to swimsuit making and you’ll be glad to have the elastic on hand!

Next time I do the bottoms I think I’ll go back to the high rise. These give me a bit of a muffin top, since they hit me at my squishiest spot. The good news is the peplum covers all that and they’re quite comfortable as mid rise bottoms.

I’d definitely recommend this pattern if you’re looking to get into swimsuit making. Meg’s instructions are so detailed and perfect for a first time bathing suit maker. I am so glad that she prompted me to make my first suit last year.

It’s amazing how much more confident I feel in a suit that is made for my body in a style/fabric that feels like me. Before I made my first suit, I’d been wearing a frumpy, blousy tankini that I got a few months after my daughter was born. It was good for that first year after having a baby but then as I continued to wear it I felt worse and worse in it. It was truly a revelation to me that I could feel good in a bathing suit after I made my first Cottesloe. Meg, if you read this, I want to thank you for opening up a whole new world of sewing/fabric hoarding to me and for helping me to find a way to feel good in a bathing suit!

~Teri

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8 thoughts on “Cottesloe Swimsuit

  1. I am always so inspired by your sewing projects!! Your swimsuits are lovely and fit you so perfectly. Just the inspiration I need to make one of my own. Cyndi

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    1. Thank you, Cyndi! I hope you do make one of your own. They are pretty quick projects, once you get the hang of the elastic. I am so pleased to have these to wear this upcoming Summer!

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  2. you look really cute in these bathing suits – Good Job!
    This looks like a pattern I might want to try – adding to my list…
    🙂 Chris

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    1. Thank you, Chris! I love this pattern as it’s written and as a jumping off place for hacking. The instructions are great so you’ll be in good hands if you haven’t made a bathing suit before.

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  3. After reading your post, I feel so encouraged I too am going to make a swim suit. I made a modest dress suit a few years back and I think I can use your idea on the last suit you made just a little longer on the skirted part. I too like concealing certain areas as i am very over weight.

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    1. I’m so happy to have encouraged you, Christie! It’s wonderful to be able to customize garments to suit our comfort levels. There are so many fun swim fabrics available to make our handmade suits, too. I hope you feel amazing in your swimsuit once you get it made. ☺️

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