Besides the summery “Elsa” dress, I made 6 other garments for the girls before our trip to Florida and they are all MATCHING outfits (3 things for each girl)! Haha. Didn’t really think that I was the type to go all crazy with matching sibling outfits, but I can’t help it – it’s just too cute! I hadn’t made anything matching since their panda shirts, but Yuki really gets a kick out of it, and whenever she’s wearing her outfit, she usually wants Kaya to put on hers too.
Anyways, these projects are also exciting to me because they are SWIMSUITS. I don’t know about you, but sewing swimsuits has been on a different level of sewing in my head. Something a little more intimidating than regular kids clothes, it just seemed complicated and tricky. The fabric, the elastic, the fit . . . I was nervous to try it, but since I love learning new skills, I was also really excited to try it.
So when Suz of Sewpony mentioned she was working on a swimsuit pattern and asked if I wanted to try it out, I said ‘yes’ right away. The pattern is the Cosi Swimsuit and it comes in sizes 6 months – 10 years and a whole bunch of views (7, I believe) including both one-piece and two-piece styles. Despite my fears, sewing the bathing suits were not nearly as scary to make as I thought they would be. It’s totally doable! And once I finished the swimsuits and they were actually wearable, I felt like I had unlocked a new level in the game of sewing. Score!
I’ll start with Yuki’s . . . First of all, she loves it. And I love it too. The only bummer is that it’s too small! I mean, it’s ok and she’ll probably wear it for the rest of this summer, but that’s it. Good thing Kaya will eventually grow into it!
Based on Yuki’s measurements, size 2 was going to fit perfectly. I didn’t really want a baggy suit, so I just went with size 2, no modifications. Turns out, I should have sized up. The place that it’s most obvious is by her armpits. The “armholes” of the swimsuit cuts a bit too low and too far in and I really have to pull the halter ties tight in order for the suit to stretch to an appropriate height on her chest.
This exact style isn’t an actual “view” on the pattern, but I used View C and just omitted the leg ruffle. I thought she would want a peplum/skirt, but she opted for the simple plain version and I’m so glad she did. I was inspired by Kristin’s Cosi and Rachel’s first two and got helpful tips from both of their posts. The main one being that it is not necessary to zig zag stitch the gusset lining to the main swimsuit fabric. It’ll leave a very visible line on the outside of the suit and, like I said, isn’t necessary. I also tied little knots to the end of the halter ties like Kristin did. Otherwise, I sewed up the pattern as directed!
The trickiest part for me was putting the elastic in the leg holes. I had the darndest time getting the elastic evenly spaced along the leg hole fabric without too much gathering of the fabric. I realize now that part of the problem is that I should have been making a larger size (therefore, more fabric around the leg hole, less need to stretch). But it still worked out ok, it just took a lot of time and patience.
Kaya’s suit is View D – the one piece with the skirt. I thought this view would be appropriate for a younger kiddo. Pretty sweet, no? I made the 6 month size for Kaya since she’s pretty petite for her age. It fits really well now, but I probably could have sized up for her too if I wanted it to last longer.
When I cut out my pieces for this suit, I noticed that the front and back pieces did not match up at the crotch. One was significantly wider than the other. I quadruple checked the pattern to make sure I’d done everything right and then emailed Suz. She got back to me right away and it turned out that there was an error with the smaller sizes of the pattern. It’s fixed now, but if you bought your pattern right when it was released and you are planning on sewing the small sizes, double check your pieces and contact Suz if you think you need a new version of the pattern.
The only modification I made to Kaya’s suit was to sew the straps directly into the back of the suit instead of messing with adjustable straps and the extra hardware it required. I’m just lazy like that.
Ok, I NEED to talk about this fabric now!!! I immediately knew that I had to go to Britex for swimsuit fabric. You guys know that I don’t shop there very often – usually only when sewing for special occasions. But I remember them having a good selection of lyrcra/spandex and I honestly couldn’t think of anywhere else nearby that would have any. The moment I spotted this fabric I thought it was GORGEOUS! So, not exactly what you might think of when you think of a kids bathing suit, but I loved it and I knew Yuki would approve of the colors.
This fabric is NICE. It’s also pretty pricey. It’s a nylon/lycra blend from Italy that is 55″ wide and $39.99 a yard. I know, I know, that’s really expensive for some baby bathing suits, but the good news is, you need a very very little amount to make some kiddo swimsuits! I bought a half yard and made both of these plus have a decent chunk leftover. I would love to use this fabric if I were to ever make myself a bathing suit! I think it would totally be worth the price, because the quality is top notch. It only makes me that much more sad that both girls are already growing out of their suits!
If you’re interested in this fabric, it’s not available through the online Britex shop, but you can email Britex and send them a link to this blog post (so they know what fabric you’re talking about) and they can set you up! Also, if you’re interested in more designer swimsuit lycras, the customized swatch shopper service would be perfect for that.
Overall, I’m very very glad that I made these swimsuits. I feel like I have a new skill under my belt and a practical one too! Making these swimsuits wasn’t terribly difficult and I plan on making more, for sure.
The Cosi pattern is super cute and I will probably be using it again for future suits. I’ll be sure to size up next time though. I did want to mention that the other part I found a little tricky is that while having so many views in one pattern can be a good thing, it was a bit confusing to follow the directions. Some steps applied to all of the views, some steps applied to just some and I found myself, several times, searching through all the directions looking for the step that I needed next. I’m not sure how this could be improved, and honestly, it didn’t stop me from making some sweet swimsuits, just be warned that it might take a bit of time to sort through the directions.
Looking back, though there were a few difficult spots, I think that some of these were the types of problems you might typically have the first time you sew a pattern. I’m sure that it will be much easier the second and third time around.
Needless to say, both swimsuits have gotten a ton of use already and I already have several fabrics lined up for more! In some exciting personal news, Yuki started swimming a bit by herself this past weekend! It’s just a start, but she’s pretty pumped about it, so we’re going to put her in some swim lessons soon. So I guess I better start churning out some new suits pronto! 🙂