Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit

This post was originally on the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing Bodysuits and Swimsuits theme.

Today I am reviewing the Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit. I did also test the swimsuit before release but my opinions are my own. There were some changes made between the version we tested and the final version so for obvious reasons this review it based on the final version.

The pattern has two views: view A is a one piece swimsuit and view B is a two-piece swimsuit. The size range is size 12-28 with cup sizes C/D, E/F, and G/H; bust 40 inches to 58 inches. I chose to make view B for this review. I prefer two-piece swimsuits as they make bathroom trips a lot easier in the middle of swimming and they are easier for me to put on and take off with my disabilities. The pattern also has an internal wired bra that is optional. I chose to make it with the internal bra since I have experience making bras.

My measurements are 51.5 bust, 44 underbust, 46 waist, and 55 hip. I chose to make a size 22 G/H. I could have graded to a 24 at the hip but I chose not to do that and it worked out just fine except in one area which I will get to a bit later.

  

The fabric I used is nylon spandex lightening print and black poly spandex with black swimsuit lining and black bra foam as well as powernet for the bra band and black duoplex fabric for the bra bridge (duoplex is a stable polyester fabric used in bramaking). There are a lot of notions for this suit: swimsuit elastic, stable elastic for the straps, swimsuit clickers for the back closures, underwires, and underwire channeling. Phew. You can make the swimsuit without the internal bra and that definitely cuts down on the amount of materials, but you might not get the support you need. If you do choose to do that, I recommend using powernet to line the front as well to give a bit more support. Powernet should still be used in the back as well as directed.

In terms of construction, swimsuits are definitely not for beginners. Cashmerette lists the pattern as intermediate and it definitely is for that level. The pattern instructions are great and very detailed. There is also an online course for it, but I haven’t tried it out. There were some construction methods that I didn’t prefer. For the most part, however, those were personal preferences based on what is easier for me.

In terms of fit, there are a few issues. First off, this pair is my second pair for the bottoms. The first pair I made were a lot lower rise due to my belly and bum. I raised the pattern by 7 inches. However, I took about 3 inches away after construction. In total, there are 4 inches added to both front and back using the lengthen/shorten lines. They fit a lot better for me this way. You may need to make adjustments for a larger belly or bum.

 

The leg holes are finished by attaching elastic and then flipping it to the inside and topstitching over it using a stretch stitch. For my next pair, I will used bands with elastic enclosed in them. It’s my preferred method and tends to feel a bit more secure.

The top fits okay. I am going to narrow the neckband a bit since my shoulders and upperbust are narrow. This will help stop that wavy/loose bit at the centre of the neckband.

The bra does not fit me well. For people who are familiar with bramaking and have a bra pattern that fits well, continue to use that for your swimsuit, any swimsuit. I haven’t made a bra in over 2 years so I didn’t have that option and I wanted to see how the pattern bra fit me. There definitely needs to be more room in the cups for me. I am spilling over and the wires are lower than the should be instead of following my breast root. The shape of the cup works okay, but I definitely need more projection. Everyone’s needs are going to be different here so if you don’t have a TNT bra pattern, start by trying it out and then tweaking from there. I will need to do quite a bit of tweaking to get this one to fit well but it’s definitely going to happen.

Word of caution, though, for anyone pursuing the internal bra is to not expect a 100% great fit out the package. As with all bramaking, fitting is the hard part. Don’t use your super expensive material on that first one. Muslins for bras and swimsuits are a bit more expensive, but completely worth it.

I made one tweak for this version instead of following direction and used band elastic on the bottom of the top. For me, it helps keep the bottom in place a bit better and is firmer than the swimsuit elastic.

 

Overall, I really like the design and plan on making it again. I’d love to make the tankini using the free expansion pack. I also want to play with cutouts using powermesh or tweak the neckline into different looks.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit
  • Pros: I loved the pattern. I think there are definitely fit issues (as there would be with any swimsuit pattern) but overall there are more wins in terms of support for the bust and fun use of pattern mixing with the panels. The instructions are great as usual with Cashmerette. I definitely need to get a better fit in the bra and tweak a bit more here and there, but I’m not far off from a great fit.
  • Cons: I do think that the neckline could be a bit more flattering. The boobs do look a bit like a single block. I plan on tweaking that a bit.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I am working on my bra pattern and then I will get more foam so I can use it for the internal bra.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

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Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Sailor Swim Bottoms and Designer Stitch Willow Kimono

My last sewn items in 2018 were all for our trip to Cuba. I made two bathing suit sets using the Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms, Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers in a capri length (I’ll review this in February since I plan on making some more fit tweaks for a pant length version and do not have any pictures ready for the capris), Designer Stitch Willow Kimono, and a pair of Blank Slate Barton shorts in a hot pink nylon for wearing around on the beach (I have more of this material and want to make a couple more pairs of these in various lengths).

I first made the Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms back in the summer before we went to Niagara Falls for a fun weekend. I made 2X in the top and 3X for the bottom.

 

The construction of both was not easy for me at the time. I actually dislocated my left thumb for the first time trying to sew on the elastic. That plus the fact that they didn’t fit great PLUS I cut the anchors upside down made me not want to wear them. We didn’t end up swimming during the vacation anyway. I wasn’t feeling confident about the construction and didn’t want to accidentally fall out of my suit. 😦 It’s a complete bummer when you have such cute fabric! The fabric is from Emerald Studio and very nice quality. I decided to buy more of it so that I could make it again. Erin doesn’t have any more of the matching hot pink fabric, but there was a suitable replacement at Water Tower Textiles along with a bunch of other ones! Both Canadian shops! 😀

I learned a lot during construction of the suit, but wasn’t motivated to make another until we booked our trip to Cuba. I knew the alterations I needed. I needed to add two inches to the top length to accommodate my bust and add two inches to the centre back of the bottoms since I have booty. I also needed to reduce the width of both the bottom band of the top and the waistband of the bottoms to really get a good fit. The pattern has cut lines based on the difference between your overbust and full bust which is an okay method, but not perfect. Even though, my difference is 7 inches, I still needed to add a bit more length. Of course, part of that has to do with using powermesh to line it and making it less stretchy, but the pattern doesn’t really accommodate for projection or underbust. For the anchor version, I added powermesh to the front and not the back of the top and then lined the whole thing with swimsuit lining. I lined the bottoms with swimsuit lining also from Emerald Studio.

  

In the next two versions, I used powermesh to line the top and lined the bottoms with swimsuit lining or black swim fabric depending on what I had left. I believe the black/mermaid scales are lined mostly with black swim fabric (except in the crotch area that has swimsuit lining) and the purple bottoms lined with swimsuit lining. I like the structure the black swim bottoms have in comparison to the purple bottoms. The purple fabric is also a bit thinner than the black fabric so there is less structure overall in that suit.

 

Both are constructed much better than the first pair and had no issues with dislocating my fingers during the construction process. I really love the backs of both suits. The criss-crossing straps are really lovely. The additional length changed it so that the 2-piece suit now looks like a 1-piece suit, which is more to my taste. I loved the original suit I made, but I definitely feel more comfortable in this look. The 2-piece is easier to get on that a 1-piece for me, but I didn’t want to be exposed in my mid section. Mostly due to having to apply more sunscreen and not wanting a burn there!

I did not like the suggested construction methods for a lot of things in the patterns. The bottoms have you sewing the elastic in and then turning the hem over leaving the crotch a lot smaller than I would prefer. I added bands to the legs and sewed the elastic on with one side of the band and then folded the other side of the band over to enclose the elastic in the band. It was much easier for me to do and meant I could wait to cut the elastic and had more of it to grip. I stretched the elastic as I sewed in order to get everything cinched in perfectly. I used this swim elastic from Emerald Studio. It’s seriously good quality and I highly recommend it. I used the same method of enclosing the elastic in the bands for the waistband and the bottom band on the top. The top has elastic at the neckline and under the arms. These are enclosed in the lining already.

I used the serger for all construction. The only alteration from these two versions would be to either cut the straps shorter or stabilize them somehow. I found that as I swam they stretched out. I also plan on making the bands a bit shorter still on the waistband and the bottom band for the top. I may actually line them with powernet. The powernet was from Emerald Studio again. Yes, the post is one long advertisement for Emerald Studio. Hah. I was not paid in any way for this. I just really love Emerald Studio.

 

The cover up I am wearing is the Designer Stitch Willow Kimono. I won it during the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month. I made it with a lovely cotton voile and it is soft and drapey for a cotton. I trimmed it using a fringe for the and pom-pom trim for the arms. Construction was fairly easy and the overall structure of the pattern is easy. It’s 5 pieces of fabric: 2 front pieces, 1 back piece, and 2 pieces for the band for around the neckline and sides. I would definitely make it again. I made size 10 based on my measurements. It fits large and makes a nice beach coverup. I would have been far far more sunburnt without it.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms
  • Pros: I love the result for the black and purple swimsuits.
  • Cons: The pattern without modifications isn’t perfect and the method for adjusting the bust isn’t solid. The instructions are in pictures, which I personally find difficult to see versus illustrations.
  • Make again?: Absolutely. I’d be interested to move on to more complicated swimsuits, but this is a great beginner pattern.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars
  • Pattern: Designer Stitch Willow Kimono
  • Pros: It’s a great pattern!
  • Cons: I’m not sure there are cons. It’s a simple pattern with a decent size range.
  • Make again?: Absolutely!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars