Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

The Grady bikini top + Iris Knickers // Edgewater Ave + Tilly and the Buttons

This post is a little out of season for the northern hemisphere but I recently got away for some winter sun!

I managed to sneak away to Mexico this January for a much needed holiday and for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Ten days of glorious warmth, sunshine and beach times couldn’t have come at a better time!

As with any holiday, I love a last minute make. It was especially last minute in this case as we only decided to go through with the trip the week before we left! I didn’t really have much I needed to make – let’s face it, it’s not like my summer wardrobe is lacking – but I did want to try to make some new swimwear that’s suits my post lockdown bod!

I’d been eyeing up the Edgewater Avenue swimwear patterns for a little while now. I liked the variations and styles that were available – I thought it was good source of inspiration for what’s feasible to make yourself! The main downside to these patterns were the lack of support and sizing for larger busts. They’re definitely not going to hold up anyone with any sort of sizeable chest – me included. In fact the pattern I bought – the Grady Top – actually says in the instructions it’s not suitable for larger busts without further alterations like an FBA. There’s no note of this on the sales page by the way, but it is mentioned on the instruction video so I’d highly recommend watching the video tutorial for whichever pattern you might be looking at to see if there’s any info like that missing!

So I went into this with my eyes open at least!

I knew I’d have to do an FBA but I was confident I could achieve that easily. I got the pattern on sale so I didn’t feel like I was wasting my money although I know not everyone will feel that way. To me, all patterns are “basic blocks” and it’s my prerogative to mess around with them until they meet my needs!

I used the size L and did a 1” FBA which gave me a dart under the bust on the basic pattern. I ended up making 3 different tops using the Grady as a base.

The first top used the original Grady pattern as is which I made in a recycled nylon yellow fabric from Made My Wardrobe. I thought I’d like the ring design that ties the top in the back but found this wasn’t supportive enough and was super awkward to tie. I also had less coverage so I ended up preferring to tie it in a big bow at the front.

I made a matching high waist, high leg knicker using the Tilly and the Buttons X Evie La Luve Iris pattern. I like that this pattern has loads of options for different rises and leg openings. It’s a real all in one! I actually tested the Iris for Tilly ages ago but never used it to make further undies. I fully lined the knicker with a nude swimwear fabric and added a seam allowance to the leg openings as the original pattern is designed for fold over elastic to be applied.

I can highly recommend the Made My Wardrobe swim fabric by the way – smooth feel, great recovery and support and a nice selection of colours. I’ll definitely buy more for future swimwear!

The second used a black swim fabric from the stash and used shorter ties on the front for a simple bow. I also added ties to the front neck straps for a halter and removed the straps on the back piece. The matching knicker was one I made last year using a heavily hacked Seamwork Dakota pattern.

The last version involved me cutting a new pattern piece, placing the front seam line on the fold and creating a single front pattern piece crop top. I used a pink grid See You At Six swim fabric that I got as a remnant from Sew Me Sunshine and I also made a matching knicker, again using the Tilly pattern. This time I added a waistband with the fabric cut on the bias to get that diagonal grid pattern.

This fabric was more of a thick scuba and much less stretchy compared to the swim fabrics used in the other two which meant this had a tighter fit and actually felt more supportive.

All the seams (except the waistband) had swimwear elastic added to them – I use the vulcanised rubber stuff from Fabricland which I buy in bulk.

I’m not going to be a swimwear model any time soon but I do enjoy making these sets! I’m always pleasantly surprised at how well it works and how easy simple swimwear can be!

Here are some more holiday snaps!

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