I’ve been watching (what seems like) every sewist I know tackle swimsuits this season with admiration and apprehension. As much as I wish to make my own swimsuit, it just seems like an overwhelming task (although Ginger Makes and her last project has me feeling less afraid). Trying to sew swimsuits for my girls seems doable–less fit issues for little girls than for a 35 year old woman–but when I can find cute little suits for $15, it seems hardly worth the effort. Then it hits me. I am in love with European inspired swim trunks for little boys and they are nearly impossible to find in the stores. With my project decided, I head off to Mood Fabrics in Los Angeles to pick out some 4-way stretch swimsuit fabric, swimsuit lining and an eyelet plier kit to make my drawstrings look extra professional (with all their great fabric drawing my attention, I don’t think I ever noticed how many sewing accessories and supplies they carry at their store).
The nice people at Mood Fabrics help me immediately find this comical, boy-friendly swim fabric (complete with aliens, astronauts, teddy bears, frogs, rockets and “shoot guns”). I decide it would be perfect for the test sample made from my homemade little European swim trunk pattern (inspired by a pair of swim trunks from H&M). Turns out the boys love the test sample way better than the final project.
After some wear testing in the neighborhood sprinklers, I grade the pattern (in a totally non-professional, make-it-work kind of way) to fit my 5-year-old and added some new style lines just for kicks.
The second swimwear fabric I pick out at Mood Fabrics isn’t exactly swimwear fabric. It has 4-way stretch but it is a rayon-spandex blend. Even though I have no idea how it will hold up in water, I purchase a yard because I love the yarn-dyed pattern too much to not give it a fighting chance.
With a control piece cut, I throw the fabric in the wash to see what happens. Nothing. It handles the wash water perfectly. Even with chlorinated water still untested, the standard wash test results are good enough for me to move forward, cutting and sewing two matching little European swim trunks.
After wear testing the suits just a few miles away from the Mood Fabrics LA store (hello Manhattan Beach!), they held up great against a hard day of play. Now we just need to work on new tan lines to match the new suits.