January 24, 2015

To Make it Modest | Swimsuit 2015

So it's the middle of winter and I'm doing a post on bathing suits. But I figure if I put it off until the weather is warm, my motivation to write this post might have melted away.... ;)
My brothers can't understand why I spend so much time and brain power looking for the perfect bathing suit. They don't get how hard it is to find one that is pretty and modest! 
I typically order a top from Lands End then alter it so it fits my modesty standards. My bathing suit ends up being modest, but sometimes not necessarily cute. Next summer, however, that will not be the case! I found a pretty tankini that I'm almost comfortable in just how it is!
The neckline, however, is a tad low and the tankini is almost too short. I decided to add a ruffle on the top and bottom to add length both ways. 

I measured around the bottom hem and did some math; because I wanted a full ruffle, I multiplied that measurement by 2.5. I wanted a 1 inch ruffle, so I made a strip 2 inches wide and as long as my calculation (hem circumference x 2.5). My piece of fabric wasn't very long so I ended up cutting two strips I sewed together to form one long strip. You could do it either way - one long strip or two shorter ones sewed together.
I turned my strips into a big loop by sewing the short ends together, right sides of the fabric together. I ran two rows of gathering stitches - stitches set to the longest setting - along one edge of the loop. 
Then I pinned the right side of the ruffle fabric to the wrong side of the tankini hem. I matched up the side seams on both the ruffle and tankini, as well as half way between those spots and then halfway between those. The ruffle looked super huge at this point, but that was quickly fixed!
I pulled those gathering stitches tight and gathered all the way around, spacing the gathers and pinning as I went. 
It looked like this when I got all the way around:
Up close - my gathering and pinning job:
I decided to sew the ruffle in place by hand, because I have had trouble keeping the tension smooth when I've added fabric to the bottom of tankinis when I used my machine before. The hem of the tankini had a double row of stitching, so I zig-zagged my stitches on the inside, alternating between each row. It turned out to be a good choice, as it provided stretch and a smooth finish.
At this point I was getting pretty excited - ruffles are a new level of cuteness I've not experienced before on my swimsuits!
I measured, calculated, cut, gathered, and sewed the ruffle for the top edge just like the bottom, but it actually turned out a little over-the-top. The 1 inch tall, intense ruffle was just too much right by my face. So I ripped out the stitches and trimmed the ruffle. I don't have exact measurements, but it was probably 1 1/2 inches tall instead of 2. And I made the strip shorter - not sure how much - so the ruffle wasn't so pronounced. Then I sewed, pinned, gathered, and stitched it back on again, and was happier with the results! This is the second version of the ruffle:
I am very happy with how it turned out! Paired with some navy board shorts, I'm all set for summer! 
Have you struggled with finding a modest bathing suit? Ever altered one to make it more so? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! 


  1. That's such a cute idea! If only I could sew as good as you can (and had the creativity).. Keep up the good work :-)

    1. Thanks so much! It's definitely been a learning process for me... last year my swimsuit didn't look very cute, so I'm still learning!


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