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.
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.
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.
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…)