Well I have not posted for a few weeks and for very good reason. We had my husbands parents to stay, the football and I’ve been on the final push to finish up something very exciting. My first commercial sewing pattern! A classic swimsuit which can be easily customised with the straps and I’ve called it Maggie.
It is available to buy here. Download it straight to your inbox, print it off and get sewing straight away. I’ve become a fan of downloadable PDF patterns in recent years and I’m excited to be offering my own.
What inspired me?
Earlier this year, when the swimming pools were going to open back up, meaning Edith’s swimming lessons would resume, I suddenly thought, I either have to wear my maternity tankini (frumpy!), a bikini (after 2 kids? NOOOO!) or go through the whole drama of finding a swimsuit that fits. I have a long body so its not as easy as it seems. I looked at the patterns available and just wasn’t inspired, either too old fashioned or too sexy. So I thought, well I’ll draft a pattern and make my own!
Since this first thought in March and having a quiet day to draft the pattern, it’s been quite a journey. Then it occurred to me after all this effort, I should make it a commercial pattern and make it as simple as possible for my students to follow. After all my years of teaching, I’ve seen what patterns are lacking: not enough colour photos, too much information (that it boggles the beginners’ minds) and wanting a video to effectively hold their hand when I’m not there.
Having never made one before I did tons and tons of research, watched loads of Youtube videos, read loads of blogs and made various mock ups (some bad).
What do you need to make it?
Swimsuits are actually really easy to put together. I was a little apprehensive, thinking they’re quite specialist but not at all. Just like with bra making, the materials are specialist but equipment is not. So don’t be put off. Swimwear fabric, lining and elastic is widely available. My favourite places after seeing what the testers have made, is Wow Fabrics and Wattle and Slate.
To sew together, you just need a jersey needle for your sewing machine. And for topstitching, to get a really professional look, a jersey twin needle is advisable. You can use an overlocker to finish edges but it isn’t essential.
Features of Maggie
I’m not going to give a full run down on how to make it, you have to buy the pattern for that! But here’s some things that may entice you.
There are two back neck lines to choose from. Then with the straps, you can either make simple and classic two straps; or add a cross over, a double cross over; or go wild and create your own strap detail. The straps are the area of alteration, so if you need to make them tighter, it’s easy to do so and the pattern tells you when to fit, when to overlock, etc (all the things my students complain that the pattern doesn’t tell them to do).
And I’ve made it wide over the bum so no constantly pulling out your bum cheeks after playing in the water! Winner!
I’ve even created a YouTube channel with a video about how to make it, how to stick the pattern together and extend/shorten the body. I’ve already got another couple in pipeline about customising the neckline and adding bust support.
Once I got into it all and telling people what I had done, more got excited and wanted to test it. I got about a dozen testers. Just average home sewers, no one professional. I wanted it to be tested by amateurs, people that don’t necessarily speak professional seamstress language. It’s been incredible, the feedback was really positive and with constructive notes that I’ve applied. I’ll gladly ask these women again for another pattern.
Yes I did say another pattern. I’m so driven now to create something else. I won’t say too much now but I want to create a pattern line that the regular mummy wants to wear. Nothing too sexy or revealing but never boring. Above all else, it needs to be easy for beginners. I keep coming back to that question, would my students understand it?
I put the pattern on sale on Etsy a couple days ago and already I’ve had my first sale. In Australia!! This customer had seen my instagram posts and then was waiting for me to release it so that she could buy it. I mean wow!
Can you tell I’m over the moon with this little venture?! I hope you enjoyed reading and my excitement has rubbed off on you and you buy my pattern. More to come soon.