Months ago I started collecting swimsuit patterns. I was toying with entering a new field of sewing. Each type of fabric has it’s own learning curve, skill set and knowledge base to sew. Knits and wovens act so much differently at each step of a sewing project. Silky fabrics verses non-slippery fabrics also bring different experiences. The four way stretch of swimwear would pose it’s own lessons and skills that I had yet to acquire.
After acquiring enough patterns to feel like I could try different styles and construction I needed fabric. Swimwear fabrics can be spendy and I really didn’t want to cut into and play with fabric I’d spent $16/yard on. I made my way down to a fabric store in downtown Salt Lake City. The lady working there took me back to their swimwear and I contemplated the choices at $16/yard. I was having a terrible time purchasing any of it knowing some of my failed projects and the price tag associated with them. Luckily, I wandered through the clearance fabric for $3/yard and found a random bolt of swimwear fabric that was bright pink. Perhaps not my first choice in color, but it would be perfect to learn on.
A couple of months later as I stood in line to pay for my machine servicing at another local fabric store I noticed a bin of lycra/swim rems for $3/yard. I pulled out several and felt that I now had what I needed to progress into the project.
Love to Sew podcast just did a episode on sewing swimwear, and it was just the push I needed to tackle that pile of fabric and patterns. I listened to their tips and experience as I cut out my projects and dove into my first swimsuit.
The very first steps in the top were frustrating. I don’t feel like it was explained fully and you had to do some filling in the information gaps. They have you sew elastic into the lining of the top, but I think you are supposed to do it to the main fabric as well and there is not instruction to do so. Other than that first moment of frustration the rest of the construction went well. I’m not in love with my finishing work but it’s going to take some experience to understand working with swimwear.
About mid way through, I tried on the top of the suit and was certain I’d not only never be seen in the suit but that pictures weren’t likely to be possible either. The top was big, didn’t have the support I needed and seemed to be trending towards a dud for me. I luckily judged the situation too soon.
I slipped on the suit when I completed it and was delightfully surprised that I didn’t hate it!
In the love to sew podcast not only did they share tips on sewing up swimwear but they discussed body image. Originally, I debated the modesty issues with posting pics of myself in a swimsuit, but as I really self analyzed it wasn’t modesty that held me back, it was body image. Sometimes I get into workout kicks and my body is more toned than it is now. Miraculously, I wouldn’t have been hiding behind modesty if my body was more toned at this moment. That told me that what I was really wrestling with was pride and image.
From the moment we inherited teenage girls I began to understand my role in forming young minds in how to perceive their bodies. Overnight, I was a model of self love, acceptance and confidence. I noticed them notice how I spoke about my body, handled weight gain and ate. So when I slipped on this suit I determined that I’d model my suit in the body I have, not the one that I sometimes have, and be proud of it for it’s perfections and imperfections. This body carried three babies with more ease than I deserved, has successfully carried me through my 37 years with few problems.
Another thought on body image before I reveal the rest of the pics . . . when I buy off the rack clothes I find myself saying things like this . . . “if my legs were more toned I could wear this.” When I sew something I say things like, “this dress will work if it’s long enough for my legs.” Ironically, I’m less critical of my body in the clothes I make. I criticize the clothes, not the body. I never expect my body to change for the clothes I make, I make them for my body. It’s uniqueness is enhanced where as off the rack clothes I struggle to make my body into something that fits in them.
Such an amazing thought. Our current habit to buy all of our clothes has reinforced to us that we must change to fit in them. And sewing has been the greatest key to unlocking the secret of appreciating how I was uniquely formed.