Before we went to Cairns Clare decided that she needed new bathers. She wanted a two-piece, but one that would be practical. We searched the stash, then searched online. We found the Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates #1 pattern.
The pattern description from the website is as follows: Make your own tankinis and bikinis using this pdf sewing pattern with options for a crop top or singlet top and briefs for swimming. Garments are designed to be made from stretch fabric and can be sewn using an overlocker/ serger or a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. Pattern will fit girls in sizes 2-14 years.
I have already forgotten what sizes we sewed for Clare, but we pretty much looked at the sizing chart and went by that. It was possibly a 12 for the pants and a 10 for the crop top. The fabric is a swimwear nylon/lycra remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics, and the lining probably came from there as well. I fully lined both the bottoms and the top by cutting the pattern pieces from the lining as well then laying the two together after sewing side seams. Edges were finished with neon orange fold over elastic that was in my stash.
The straps were criss-crossed at the back, tried on and pinned in place before sewing to ensure that they were the right length. As I had just enough leftover fabric, I also made another wrap bikini top to coordinate. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of that one yet! It’s based on the Madalynne Sierra bra, modified to work in swimwear lycra.
Bathers are surprisingly satisfying to sew. I think that these were done entirely on the sewing machine, with a straight stitch to join the side seams and a zig-zag stitch to attach the fold over elastic. You get better at how much tension to put on the elastic the more that you do it. You can’t see it clearly in the photos, but this fun fabric has a glittery overprint. There are terrific bathers fabrics around, especially at shops like Rathdowne Fabrics. I find that no matter what I do, bathers really only last a year, so I’m glad that I enjoy sewing them! I’m amassing a rather nice stash of women’s bathers patterns to sew as Clare and Stella get older.