Capsule Wardrobe: Swim Suit Edition

Prior to leaving for Mexico I began the mad dash of sewing up a few mix and match swimsuits as the last one I had never looked that good and well definitely could do with replacing.

I had planned make a Diane suit for me initially but opted for the tankini for ease of wearing with a swim top as my pale skin starts to burn in under 10 minutes.  I also liked the coverage of it.

I had attempted to make the Tankini (Jalie 3023) in the summer just before leaving on a trip to Calgary but ran out of time and put it aside for about 6 months. Nothing like adding a little stress before a weekend away.


After a mad dash to the fabric store with a decent selection of swimwear fabric locally I picked up these three with the plan to use the leftovers to make some rash guard shirts for my youngest son. I ended up finding a swim top and bottom on sale for $8 at superstore and that won out versus the effort of making him one. I do try to avoid cheap fashion, but will get suckered in by a good deal especially when the cost of fabric will likely be more and leave me with leftovers I must find a project for.



After some deliberation I decided to use the green and polka-dot to make the tankini. The main reason this suit got tossed aside in the UFO pile was because the straps ended up so crooked and just looked awful. I didn't have the heart or patience at midnight to try to tear it all out and start again. This was definitely the project that made me wonder if I should invest in a walking foot and if that would have helped.


When I sewed it the second time it came out better but not perfect. This time done won out. I just didn't have the heart to try again. Just don't look too closely at the straps. Most of the time outside though I'll be wearing the swim top over it.


The time lapse between measuring, cutting and finally sewing meant that the top was now too big in the bodice and a bit tight on the bottom. Obviously my baby has reduced the amount of milk he's been drinking and the "girls" have shrunk a bit as a consequence. The increase in hip size is due to the decrease in biking and other physical activity over the winter. Maybe a few Christmas cookies or bags of chips as well.  The bodice I was able to take in by adding a dart in through both the lining and outer fabric, but the skirt will require some effort on my part (mostly biking or running). 

I did end up also having to rip out and shorten the straps as the first time I wore it swimming I felt like my breasts were going to pop out the top. Mental note, it's ok for swimwear to be really tight. Water stretches it and well I'd like to keep it up. I could probably go a little shorter for the straps, but I really don't want to rip them out and sew again. 

The straps are actually ok, just twisted in this photo

As our trip to Mexico approached I thought I'd get a bit more swim fabric to make swim tops for the kids as I wanted each of us to have 2 suits to go so they'd have a chance to dry between uses. However at Costco one day found Swim tops and bottoms, along with a hat for $22. For that price it is hard to justify the cost of the fabric I would need. I'm trying to be mindful of my fabric purchases this year and ensuring that I use up the stash I have so buying online is never a good idea as I'll often throw a couple extra things in the cart to get free shipping or make the shipping cost worth it. I try to have plans for it, but that doesn't always mean I get to it. Like the spring coat I was supposed to make last year!

Having the remainder of the fabric for me, I got to work trying to get all the pieces I needed out of it. I normally would have preferred the blue to be the centre of the Valerie swim shirt and the green the sleeves, but this was the option that allowed me to get a Gigi Bikini out of it as well. If I remember correctly I had bought 1 m of the polka dot and 0.6 m of the green and blue fabrics so it was a bit tight. 

I was a little unsure of the Valerie at first, but I do love how it goes together with both swim suits. The polka dot ties it together without being overwhelming. I did want a long sleeved one, but alas fabric limitations made it short sleeved. Mental note, must hem the sleeves. I had forgotten before leaving and only realized once on the beach. I find the arm holes a bit snug, but feel ok once wet. I've been finding this in a few other patterns so I'm in the process of figuring out which alternation I should do. Whether I should lower the armscye or add length above, including the sleeve. I attempted this on a shirt recently, but I'm not 100% sure if that was the right move. Will attempt another version simply lowering the armscye to compare. 



The Gigi Bikini has been so popular and I've been debating for awhile if I could get away with wearing it. By that I mean feel comfortable in it. I liked the higher waist to help support and camouflage bits. 

By the time I got to cutting out my Gigi I was getting a little short on fabric. I wanted to do the bottoms in the polka dot, but only had enough left for one pair of waistbands. The inner one is in the blue. It ended up being a little higher than I would have liked, but I'm very happy with it overall. The only thing I wish I'd changed was making the double clasp back. Single would have been nicer and easier to get on. I have a smaller bust size anyways so don't need the extra support. I was just unsure if I could make it with a single clasp, but have seen many on instagram since finishing mine. 


Unfortunately on our last day as I bent over in my Gigi top the upper clasp snapped. I will have to get around to replacing this at some point. So annoyed about that. Fortunately wearing the Valerie swim shirt over top hid it so who knows when I might get to it. I should probably make this a priority as the remaining snap breaking would be a wardrobe malfunction I'd rather avoid. 

Costs breakdown: I never really know how to include pattern costs in sewing projects as once you've used it more than once have you paid for it or do costs go down with each time you've used it? Also this isn't a total representation of all costs involved such as my machines, maintence etc. In the past I've tried to tally up all my sewing related costs and compare that to the amount I would have spent buying the clothing items I've made. I do feel it's subjective as I try to spend as little as possible when buying and shop the sales and for the mental win I'd like to put the article at regular price. To be fair I try to find some mid-ground. It also helps me know when to buy something versus when to make it and has helped me indentify why I sew things. I'll leave that for another post. 

For this project (if I remember correctly):
Fabric: $44 
Elastic: $8 (guessing I think I had most in my stash)
Thread: $6
Clasp: $3

Total: $61

Adding patterns as this was my first time sewing each of these ones: $32 (using the PDF code on the Jalie website found here

Total: $91 (more than I thought, guess why it's better when I don't add up individual projects).

Had I bought the swim suits it likely would have been 
Tankini: $50-80
Bikini: $50-80
Swim shirt: $25-40

Estimated Total: $125-200 

So will call this one a savings win mostly because I'm quite happy with how they turned out and both are a vast improvement to my old swimsuit. Just don't look too closely at my straps. They should be better on the next one. 


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