children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

kwik sew bathers for Clare

I have made bathers a couple of times before, but I’m still not feeling terribly confident with them.  I think that they are definitely something that just takes practice in order to get comfortable with how much (actually, how little) to stretch the elastic when you are applying it.  Recently I assembled this long-ago-cut-out pair of Kwik Sew bathers for Clare.  I have mislaid the pattern and can’t tell you much about it other than it is a simple tank with a scoop back and decorative ruffle across the bottom, and it is probably quite old since I found it at an op shop.

vintage Kwik Sew bathers pattern

No matter the age of the pattern, a simple scoop back tank is a simple scoop back tank! If only I could remember what size I cut out for Clare. The fabric is from Rathdowne Fabrics. They often have swimsuit lycra remnants on sale, and I have a few in stash. It is a shame that I don’t have any of this fabric left, because Clare really likes the fabric.  Especially the sparkly dots.

vintage Kwik Sew bathers pattern

It was very simple to sew, actually. I sewed the front and back together then applied elastic to the neck, armhole and leg edges. I stitched it to the wrong side with a zig-zag stitch, then turned it to the inside, encasing the elastic, and stitched again with a zig zag stitch. I quite like the finish. One of the best tips that I read was that you don’t actually need to stretch the elastic much at all when applying it to bathers, because bathers are designed with negative ease. This means that the fabric and the elastic will both be stretched when it is being worn, and this will keep the elastic snug and comfortable against the body.

vintage Kwik Sew bathers pattern

Although Clare really likes the fabric and the simple design of these bathers, the low back is a problem. She probably won’t actually wear them much, because the shoulder straps aren’t secure enough to hold them in place with the amount of activity that an almost-eleven year old needs to do when in the water! I do have some other bathers patterns – notably Kwik Sew 3605 which I’ve made before and she loves – and this one that has a number of appealing variations.  Maybe that can be my January project.  I am still planning on making a bombshell swimsuit for myself (although the $15 women’s bathers on sale at Aldi today are very appealing considering how rarely I get into the water…)


10 thoughts on “kwik sew bathers for Clare

  1. Lara, I was about to suggest the same thing!! I have trouble with straps falling off my shoulders and I have done the same thing. The bathers are gorgeous and Claire looks beachy and ready for Summer!!!

  2. I had some bathers years ago with that band across the back, roughly where a bra strap would go. It had VERY hefty elastic in it, and a big hook at one end – like the one used on a bikini top – to hook it closed, as it really stopped the bathers stretching out in wear. I used to train a lot, so robust bathers that didn’t malfunction were essential!

  3. They look great and she looks so happy in them. I have the Bombshell pattern too, have taped and cut the pattern but am still too intimidated to cut into fabric, something about sewing bathers seems quite scary!

  4. It’s been a long time since I attempted bathers. The last time the elasticated edges were a dismal failure. I must have about 20 years more experience now, and that tip about not overstretching because of the negative ease is useful. Perhaps I should have another go?

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