Thursday 24 January 2019

Day 6 - Sew-a-long with SEMS Fabric

Day 6. Finishing the swimsuit bottoms

Welcome back for day 6, our last blog post for the Sems Fabric L&K sew-a-long with Sansahash patterns. Today we are adding elastic & finishing off our bikini or vintage swim bottoms. 

If you're only just joining us, please pop back and visit DAY 1, DAY 2, DAY 3 and DAY 4/5. There's still time to sew with today and day 7 to catch up. Once completed, add a photo of your swimsuit to the Sems SAL final entry album. You will need to be a part of the Sems Fabric Facebook group, join HERE.  

For vintage swim bottoms 

Check the L&K pattern cutting charts, cut leg elastic to size. I like to only overlap my elastic slightly to avoid bulk & sew in a loop using a zig zag or stretch stitch. 

Quarter and mark the elastic and leg openings. Pin the elastic to the marked leg openings and sew. Use a stretch stitch and be careful not to stretch the fabric as you sew.  

Repeat this step at the waist opening if required. Please note that the waist requires 1" or 2.4cm elastic. 

My swim bottoms were snug enough not to require elastic at the waist. With Sems high quality swim knit and the well drafted pattern, you will likely find the same. Try on your model first if at all possible, fold down the 1" first.  

Vintage bottoms with leg elastic sewn in

To finish vintage swim bottoms, fold over the top waistline 1" (2.4cm) and stitch using a stretch stitch. 

Fold under the elasticated leg openings and top stitch using a zig zag, twin needle or coverstitch (if you're lucky enough to have one!)

Yahoo!! Now you have completed your L&K swimsuit! Off to the beach or pool with you now!!  

Don't forget to share your creation in the Sems & Sansahash groups! 

For bikini bottoms

Check the L&K pattern cutting charts, cut leg and waistband elastic to size. I like to only overlap my elastic slightly to avoid bulk & sew in a loop using a zig zag or stretch stitch. 

Quarter and mark the elastic and leg openings. Pin the elastic to the marked leg openings and sew. Use a stretch stitch and be careful not to stretch the fabric as you sew.  Repeat this step for the waistband. 

Waistband and leg elastic sewn into bikini bottoms 

Fold under the elasticated leg & waistband openings and top stitch using a zig zag, twin needle or coverstitch (if you're lucky enough to have one!)

Hooray! You've now completed your L&K swimsuit. Time to test it out! 

Make sure you share your hardwork in the Sems & Sansahash groups.     

 Thank You!

Thank you so much for sticking with me this week. I realize sewing with swim fabric can be daunting, so hopefully you've overcome some of those fears (or maybe you're an old hat with the stuff?) Either way, be proud of yourself! As always please post your questions and share your triumphs and tribulations!

To be in the running for the very generous prize Sems Fabric & Sansahash patterns is offering, please make sure you submit a photo of your swimsuit in the Sems Fabric L&K SAL album by the 28th of January 2019 (you will need to be a member of the group.)  

Also a big thank you to Katie & Amyee of Sems Fabrics for running & sponsoring this sew-a-long and Mgeni of Sansahash patterns. 

Please check out the HUGE range of designer & custom fabric by Sems HERE. (Posting world wide.)

Sansahash patterns has a wonderful range of knit & woven pdf sewing patterns, please see the full range HERE.     

Until next time. . . 

Happy sewing!


Wednesday 23 January 2019

Day 4/5 - Sew-a-long with SEMS Fabric

Days 4 & 5. Catch up & sewing bikini or vintage bottoms

Greetings! Welcome back to Sems Fabric L&K swimsuit sew-a-long with Sansahash patterns. After an unexpected catch up day for day 4 (cue me yelling, then crying at my computer), we are back in full swing for day 5! Today we are starting our bikini or vintage style swim bottoms. 

If you need to catch up, pop back over and see posts DAY 1, DAY 2 and DAY 3

For vintage bottoms  

Place your front pieces right sides together and stitch down the crotch side (the side that has the "dog leg".) Repeat for the back pieces.

Take your newly sewn front and back vintage bottom pieces and place them together, right sides facing. Stitch side and crotch seams together. Overlock or serge top hem for a professional look - although not strictly necessary. 

Well done! You have now completed day 5!  

For bikini bottoms

Place your front main bikini piece facing up towards you, then layer your back piece on top (right sides together.) Next place on your back lining piece (wrong sides facing) and lastly place on the front lining (lining pieces should be right sides together.) Pin and sew together crotch and side seams.  

Once sewn, your bikini bottoms should look similar to mine here (see above.) 

Pull bikini bottoms right way out. Baste leg & top openings using a stretch stitch. Put aside.

Now you have completed day 5! Well done! 

Tomorrow (25th January 2019), we will add in our elastic & finish our swimsuit bottoms!

Don't forget to share your progress with the group and ask questions.

Happy sewing!


Monday 21 January 2019

Day 3 - Sew a long with SEMS Fabric

Day 3. Finishing the tops

Hello there! Welcome to day 3 of the Sems L&K swimsuit sew-a-long with Sansahash patterns. If you're only just joining us, please check back in on DAY 1 and DAY 2 to catch up. Today we are finishing off our tops! How fast did that happen?!

For racer back version

Sew the bottom bodice elastic to the bottom of the top. It is VERY important to portion your top and elastic into quarters and pin accordingly - this ensures an even finish.

Turn up your elasticated hem and top stitch with a zig zag or double needle.  

Inside view - elastic is now enclosed

Press your racer bikini with a gentle iron (and a pressing cloth if required.) Top stitch the neckline and armholes using a twin needle or zig zag stitch.
Ta daah! Now your L&K racer back bikini top is complete!

For pleated halter neck bikini/tankini

Stitch in top elastic. Ensure you find the centre of the front top and front elastic pieces. Pin and sew carefully. Quarter the larger side/back elastic and top, pin and sew and ensure your top is not stretched, your elastic will need to be stretched slightly whilst sewing.   

If completing the original bikini version of the pleated swimsuit, quarter your bottom bodice elastic and top, pin and sew. Next, turn over your elasticated hems and top stitch using a zig zag or twin needle. (Complete this step for the top portion if sewing the tankini.)

Fold your strap pieces right sides facing, sew long edge, leaving a gap between the marks you made when cutting out your fabric.

Note the gap, you will need to leave this gap in both straps.

Turn the long portion of your straps the right way out - use a turning tool like I have, or check the Sansahash blog for tips HERE on turning straps.

The short part of your straps will remain wrong way facing. Follow the tutorial carefully for this next bit if you're unsure of what the heck is happening here! However, pop on a small safety pin on your bodice where your first strap will attach. Next, slide over the short end of the strap (the piece that is still inside out.) When the ends meet, stitch the strap to the bodice, unpin the safety pin and trim seam allowance.

Safety pin and seam showing (strap will be tightly gathered below.)
Pull the strap up and over the seam. Now your strap is attached and completely right way out. Hand stitch the opening close. Sew or knot the end of your strap. Repeat for second strap.

For pleated tankini version  

Gather your skirt, see this YouTube video clip HERE for a brief instruction on gathering.  

 Sew on your tankini skirt using a stretch stitch. I recommend adding elastic to the inside of this seam too. If it appears like there will be too much bulk, use clear elastic instead.

Top turned right way out after sewing on skirt (your version will have straps attached already.)

Press top gently and top stitch skirt down using a twin or zig zag stitch.

Great work!! If sewing the pleated bikini or tankini version, you've now completed the top!

For ruffled tankini version


This version will follow a similar line of steps to the pleated version, however, YOU will need to measure the top of your bodice carefully. Do not just measure across the bodice chest area, follow the curves around. Once you have a number, cut a piece of elastic 95% of that size. For example, if my measurement was 54cm, I would multiply 0.95 by 54, this gives me 51cm (rounded.) Over lap your elastic 1cm (1.4"), divide into quarters. Divide your top bodice into quarters and pin carefully. Sew on your elastic by gently stretching elastic WITHOUT stretching the fabric. Turn over elasticated hem and top stitch with a zig zag or twin needle.

Gather the ruffle skirts to fit the tankini top. Baste both skirts together.

Find the centre front of the top, pin skirts to bodice, right sides facing. Skirts should meet at the centre front (overlap if desired.) Stitch skirts to bodice using a stretch stitch. Press, add in clear elastic to seam if desired and top stitch (using a zig zag or twin needle.)

If you would like a tankini that ties at the back (instead of a halter neck tie) sew your back tie piece right side together down long raw edge.

Find the centre back of your bodice. Make a loop with the back tie and stitch on.
Sew straps as per pleated halter neck swimsuit, however, omit the gap (sew straight down the long edge of strap.)  

Unfortunately I haven't devised a pretty way to attach these straps. To find the best spot to stitch these straps, have your model (the smaller person who will wear the swimsuit) try on the top. Mark these spots, stitch on straps. 

If you would like to add a pretty bow to your swimsuit I recommend the Honeydew Kisses Agave bow pattern, or Duchess & Hare's bow pattern, both are completely FREE (join Honeydew Kisses Facebook group for the discount code.)
Now your ruffled tankini top is finished!! Phew!! Go you!!

With tops complete, we will now be moving on to bottoms! Stay tuned for day 4 starting Tuesday 22nd January 2019.
Please share your progress with the group and ask any questions. We are very excited to see your work!
Happy sewing!

Sunday 20 January 2019

Day 2 - Sew-a-long with SEMS Fabric

Day 2. Sewing shoulder, neck & side seams

Welcome back for day 2 of the Sems L&K swimsuit sew-a-long with Sansahash patterns!! If you haven't read day 1, go back and visit our first steps HERE.

For the RACER BACK version

Today we are sewing the shoulder, neck and side seams of the racer back top (for the other versions, scroll down.) Sew your main and lining pieces right side together.

I personally like to sew my seams using a lightening bolt stitch with my regular sewing machine first, then overlock (or serge, as our overseas friends would say.) There is no real need to overlock as knit fabric doesn't fray.

Put your lining and main pieces right sides together and sew the neck opening. Be careful not to stretch your fabric while sewing.

Close up view of neck lines

Pull your top right sides out and press gently if desired.

Our next step can seem quite confusing if you have never sewn a garment using the
"burrito technique". Please check out this
YouTube video by Melly Sews (it doesn't show the L&K top, but is similar enough to gauge what is happening.)
You will need to roll up one side of your top towards the other.  
When you get as close to the other edge as possible without going past it, pull the lining from underneath the main, over the roll up part to meet the edge of the main fabric. The right sides of the fabric will meet, wrong sides are exposed. Pin well and sew.

Top with both edges sewn, wrong sides exposed

Pull out the garment to show the right sides again and repeat the step for the other side. It will look odd!!

Top pulled out correct way with one side sewn

Top right way out with both sides sewn

Side seams: With right sides facing, sew your side seams. Refer to the pattern tutorial for more guidance.

Baste bottom raw edges of the main and lining together - a zig zag would be fine for this step. Put top aside, you are DONE for day 2! Well done!

Pleated halter neck bikini or tankini


Make sure you have marked all your pattern pieces carefully. Pleat your top carefully, from the back view, the pleat will face towards the underarm/strap area.

View from correct side

Once you have pinned both sides, your front bodice should look similar to these photos.

Baste your pleats.

Your lining will NOT have pleats. Sew your bodice fronts, right sides facing at the side seams. The back bodice piece will be WIDER at the TOP. Repeat for your lining.

Wrong sides together, baste your main and lining bodices together.

For TANKINI version only

Sew your skirt pieces, right side together, at the side seams.
Congratulations! You're done for day 2 if you're sewing the pleated version!

For Ruffled hack version

Measure your main bodice piece central height. Divide this measurement by 4, cut a piece of 6mm elastic at this length. Measure down/up 3.5cm from the top and bottom of your bodice. At these points pin your piece of elastic. Stretch your piece of elastic right out, pin excessively if needed. Sew on your elastic using a zig zag stitch. Repeat for the lining.

Your front main and lining pieces should look similar to this.

Right sides together, sew your main and lining bodice at the side seams. This step is exactly the same as the standard pleated version, scroll up to check instructions for further guidance.
Baste main and lining together, wrong sides facing.

Skirt pieces with side seams sewn

Sew front skirt ruffle pieces to back pieces at the short edge, right sides together. When placed right sides out, they should look similar to my pieces above.
Well done all!! You have now completed day 2 of the Sems L&K SAL. Please share your progress in the event (found HERE - you will need to be a Sems Facebook group member to view, join HERE.)
Stay tuned for Day 3, Tuesday 22nd January 2019.