Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Add a Real Bra to a Swimsuit - Tutorial

This summer started out with me spending almost 6 weeks away from home; I was lending a hand to our daughter in beautiful Colorado, and I also took not one, but two quick trips up to North Idaho to see family!  I put about 6500 miles on my car from May 16th to July 1st! Whew!

Upon returning home to Central Texas, and the 100+ degree temps, Hubs and I made a plan to go to the neighborhood swimming pool every evening that we possibly could.  This has been working out really great for the both of us, because we can cool off, and get in some exercise as well! 
But then, there’s my swimsuit....ugh!

I’ve been wearing the same swimsuit for about 7 years now; although it’s still in pretty good shape, I bought one 2 summers ago…and found out that it “did nothing for my figure”.  Now y’all know, I’m not a swimsuit model by any stretch of the imagination, but I do want things to stay in the right places when I’m out in public!  And so, the new suit stayed in my closet, worn only once or twice.
Instead, I took one of my bras and sewed it right into my then 5-year old suit, and it worked out really great.  The shape and straps matched up perfectly, and I've worn it with more confidence since then.

Yesterday, I tried to see if I could do the same with my other swimsuit, however, it didn’t match up very well.  Then, it dawned on me that I had a black, strapless bra that I very rarely wear, so I tried it on under the suit, and it looked like it would work out well!

Here’s how to add a real bra to a swimsuit:

1. Try on the bra under your swimsuit first, and see if the shape of the swim top hides the bra. That’s the only way you’ll know if this has a possibility of working.
**NOTE:  You might not want to do this with a brand-new swimsuit. Those things can be SO expensive!  However, if you want to try it anyway, follow step 1 BEFORE you purchase a new suit.  Yep, right there in the store’s changing room!  Just wear the bra that you plan on “sacrificing” for the swimsuit.  Having a friend or mom or grown-up daughter in the changing room can be helpful if you can’t see the back very well.

Now for the tutorial:

2. Turn the swimsuit inside-out.

3. Place the front of the bra facing the inside of the suit, and start pinning it into place around the curve of the top.  (see photo )  My strapless bra followed the curve almost perfectly; my regular bra would have shown because it was shaped differently than the curve of the suit.

4. Continue pinning the top of the bra band (the part that goes around your torso) to the top edge of the suit, as far as it looks good. In other words, if the back slopes down, you might need to stop pinning and leave that part loose. Just hook it up in the back as you normally would. (see photo ) In my case, the bra itself will fit much more snugly than the swimsuit does, so I’m leaving it loose in the back, not sewn-in. The suit will cover this area, so nothing will show.

5. Use matching thread, and the zigzag stitch & zigzag foot, on your sewing machine.  This is important because swimsuit materials are usually stretchy, and you will need the stitches to stretch without breaking. **Read your instruction manual if you need to know how to set your dials, etc. for zigzag stitch.  On my machine, I have to set the stitch width dial as well as the stitch length dial. I almost always try an inch or two of sewing on some scrap material, so that I know that the tensions are set correctly, and the stitch width is what I want.

6. Never “run over” your pins as you sew! You’ll end up with broken sewing machine needles; not good.

Normally, the pins would be on the garment with the ball of the pin on the right, like you see on that light pink pin.  
I had to pin this differently to keep the black bra from creeping out over the slippery swimsuit fabric.

As you begin to slowly stitch forward, push your back-stitch button, to lock the stitching, so it won’t unravel. Only a few back-stitches are needed.  Continue to carefully zigzag-stitch forward; again back-stitching at the end to secure the stitches. (If you have “boning” in your swimsuit or bra, don’t sew over this because you could break your sewing machine needle.)

7. When you are finished sewing, turn the swimsuit right-side out, and check for any places you might have caught material in where it shouldn’t be stitched. (Correct those areas using a seam ripper to remove the unwanted stitches, and re-stitch carefully.)

8. Try on your suit for fit!

What I didn't show you: this swimsuit also had a "skirt", which I disliked.  Since its a one-piece, it also has the pantie area, so I just carefully cut the skirt off.  It now looks great when worn with my black swim shorts (from my other 2-piece swimsuit).

If you've read this far, and wanted to see a photo of me wearing the swimsuit...well, you're out of luck there.  I'm too shy in front of a camera, much less wearing a swimsuit! 

If you have a swimsuit that needs a little more lift, I hope you'll try using my tutorial to guide you along when you add a real bra to your swimsuit!

Questions and (kind) comments are always read and appreciated!

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