I've made it twice before (first and second versions) and I really like the shape and cut of this one. It sits quite high and close at the front so it's nice and stable for sporty swimming, but the back has a lovely cutaway so there 's no confusing it with a leotard type pattern.
As the straps don't cross over at all, there's also no confused kid trying to work out where to put their head or arms.
As with her other swimsuits of this season I traced the "j" width and "l" length. It was a bit confusing working out where would be best to lengthen and I ended up tracing my pattern width lines at about the height lines of the size 2 sizes up and filling in the blanks in the middle as best I could. I didn't end up with the side seams of the panels lining up as neatly as they would if I'd traced a single size. Annoying once it's pointed out, but hardly worth getting uptight about.
This was the first time I'd tried the "piping" effect on the front. A thin strip (about 1/4") of lycra fabric is cut and then, under some tension, it rolls itself into a tube. It's then stitched down with a zig zag stitch that goes side to side over the top of the tube and holds it in place. It took a little bit of practice and the trick seems to be starting well in the seam allowance so that's it's rolling in properly by the time you get to where it will be visible on the swimsuit. Getting both sides to match was also tricky as none of my fabrics pencils/chalk would mark the lycra convincingly. I freestitched one side, then folded the swimsuit vertically down the centre line and used pins to mark the stitching line from one side to the other.
Through the Fashion Revolution hashtag on Instagram I found this image:
There are a few companies that are using the fabric to make commercially available swimwear, but I wanted it by the metre... My research told me that the Slovenian company make Econyl, which is the recycled Nylon filament. Then I found Carvico, an Italian company who weave and dye it into various fabrics. The one I wanted was called VITA: It's a chlorine resistant, UV proof, 100% recycled Nylon lycra fabric with a beautiful feel and a spectacular range of colours. I was going to make swimwear, save whales, support an innovative industry.... Heck, I even had some new Lisette sewing patterns....
I contacted Eclipse Textiles who are listed as an importer of Carvico fabrics into Australia. They were extremely helpful, their minimum order is as little as 1m, but they only sell wholesale to fabric retailers. However, the lady at Eclipse was happy to post me the big fold out Italian swatch book with all the colours (and the luxurious feel) of the VITA range as well as the Australian importers copy sheet (some missing and a few renamed, but mostly the same).
I hit up a friendly fabric retail business (thanks, you're the best!) and she agreed to do a side order on my behalf. A few other Melbourne fabric hounds joined in and we picked our colours while poring over the swatches at a local wine bar. Then we ordered...
Printed fabrics are all well and good but I'll happy mix and match my solids and eschew the prints 'cause this stuff is just too nice not to use. The orange in A's previous suit is one of the Carvico VITA fabrics and the feel of it and the sewing of it couldn't have been more different to the rest of that suit. Ok, just get yourself some somehow. Enough said.
Pattern: Jalie 3134
Size: "j" width, "l" length
Fabric: Carvico VITA recycled Nylon/elastane.
Swimsuit lining from GJ's, 1cm elastic from Vo-Le