I am going to do my best to give construction details here, seeing as I did most of the sewing on it years ago. The review will be about its general functionality, since I figure there are sewists out there curious about how well these suits actually work (hint: not too bad!) Also, forgive the dog hair in the close-ups.
Here you can see the deep darts I had to take opening out into the bloomers.
The boning placement seems bizarre, but works acceptably.
The rick rack was sandwiched between the lining and gingham, alas, the zipper was not.
Pattern: McCall 9705 ca. 1954 $4
Size: 12 Bust: 30", Waist: 25", Hip 33" altered to fit a Bust: 36", Waist: 39", Hip: 37"
Fabric, etc.: 1 1/2 yds. gingham, 1 1/2 yds. white quilter's cotton for the lining, 1 1/4 yards fabric covered featherbone, 1 yd. 1/4" swimsuit elastic, 16" nylon zipper all from Joann Fabrics
Needle Size: #14 and #12
Cost: Don't know
Time: 4 years!Notes:
- I did not use cotton jersey as recommended for the lining, I used quilter's cotton.
- I also attached the bodice lining differently. I completed the lining and outer shell separate of each other, sewed them together at the elastic leg openings and then topstitched through all layers at the waist. Then I folded in the seam allowance at the top of each and hand sewed it shut. The instructions have you assemble it so that the bloomers lining is flat lined. You attach the bodice lining to the bodice (right sides together) at the top and center back seams and then turn it.
- I did do the zipper as recommended, where it is exposed inside rather than have it sandwiched between the lining and the bodice, but I wouldn't recommend this, it is a bit scratchy.
- When applying the boning, it was already pre-bent from being stored in a loop. You don't want to apply it with the curve follwing your own body's curve because the ends will point out from you too much. It is counterintuitive, but you want to apply it opposite from your body's curve. This way it sort of fights a battle with the fabric and ends up hugging you in properly. My professor had told me that when I started this project and I'm glad I managed to hold on to that tidbit for so long. The boning, being from JoAnn's wasn't exactly top quality so it felt like it was already giving in to body heat after the photo shoot. I wouldn't necessarily run out and buy metal stays, but I might spring for something better if I continue to wear this and it bends too much.
- All in all, I would totally recommend this to an intermediate sewist, maybe even an enthusiastic beginner who has a few projects under her belt already. The fit is not as hard to achieve as you might expect and it is nice that it doesn't require much yardage. It also solves the problem of not liking to be seen in something so exposing as a modern swimsuit.
When you get out of the water, it is a different story. It is droopy, clingy and doesn't dry quickly. The worst is that the leg openings sag out, so I might tighten the elastic up. I would be curious to know if doing the lining out of jersey, as recommended, would have made any difference.