Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Alison- Bathing suit

Recently I downloaded a free pattern at for a vintage inspired bathing suit that I fell in love with. Unfortunately there were only six steps in the instructions on how to construct said suit. So, through a lot of trial and error, i.e. seam ripping and extra pattern pieces, I wrote up some pattern instructions!

SO,with out further ado...

From Burdastyle

Alison Vintage Inspired Bathing Suit Instructions

Since this pattern comes with very few, almost useless, instruction, I have written my own as I went along making this suit. I took out almost ever seam at least once. I have also added some markings to the pattern to make matching up pattern pieces during sewing easier. I added a notch to the center front pattern piece, the center fold insert on the curved side at the grain line and to the center tab piece on one of the ends. All you need to do to make these notches is to find the center of each pattern piece and draw the notch. I also disregarded the seam allowances because I felt the suit fit too small and the added seam allowance made the fit better.

1. Body: Stitch FRONT to BACK at side seams

2. Crotch: Stitch CROTCH to BACK with RIGHT sides together

3. Pin CROTCH to FRONT with RIGHT sides together. Baste.

4. On INSIDE of suit pin CROTCH LINING RIGHT side to WRONG side, sandwiching FRONT between CROTCH and CROTCH LINING. Stitch.

5. Fold CROTCH LINING over stitching of back to crotch and pin on the outside. Top stitch on the OUTSIDE.

6. Center Insert and Tab: Fold CENTER TAB lengthwise and stitch. Turn.

7. Match notches of FRONT and CENTER TAB. Stitch.

8. Using long machine stitches make a gathering stitch on un-notched edges of CENTER FRONT INSERT. (Do not gather yet.)

9. Pin CENTER FRONT INSERT (INSERT) to FRONT matching notches. Baste.

10. Pin CENTER TAB to FRONT matching notches. Baste. (Make sure that the seam of the center tab is not facing out.)

11. Fold INSERT over so suit is inside the INSERT. Pin INSERT to FRONT matching notches. Stitch through all three layers and tab making sure not to catch any of the suit or tab in stitching. Turn. (This step is like making a yoke on a shirt so that no seams are visible on the inside.)

12. Pull up gathering stitches. Machine-baste the raw edges together.

13. Fold loose TAB end to INSIDE of suit and pin from the OUTSIDE. Stitch in the ditch on OUTSIDE.

14. Straps: Fold the long STRAP lengthwise with WRONG sides together. Mark Center and pin to center of BACK. Stitch from center out stretching strap while sewing. (This keeps the strap taught against your back.) Stop 1inch from the top of INSERT.

15. Line up STRAP with edge of INSERT and cut a 1cm slit in the STRAP.

16. Turn remaining STRAP section RIGHT sides together and stitch the remaining raw edges to the slit. Turn RIGHT sides out through 1in opening. Stitch opening closed.

17. Fold BACK STRAP RIGHT sides together lengthwise. Stitch. Turn.

18. Pin BACK STRAP to seam allowances above where FRONT and INSERT seam. (This placement reduces side boob action immensely.) Stitch.

19. Serge or zigzag the STRAP seam. Back stitch where INSERT meets STRAP for reinforcement. Trim close to stitches.

20. Closure: this is entirely dependent on what you prefer. I had enough strap to tie a knot, but I find that uncomfortable so I added a swim suit closure. To do this measure the correct length of strap the sew the closure on one end and a small loop on the other.

21. Leg openings: I used 3/8’’ cotton swimsuit elastic to finish the leg openings. Measure the length around the leg opening and cut that length of elastic. Fold the fabric over the elastic and zigzag around the whole opening. Backstitch where the elastic meets. Trim any excess fabric.

I got some help with the binding of the back strap from this blog. I was a little confused since she is French and while her English is millions of times better than my French, the instructions weren't as specific as I'd like... But without her I don't think I would have gotten it at all. So many thanks!

and here is the final product in case you were curious (sans finished leg holes) Please excuse my camera phone...


  1. Thanks! I was looking over the comments at Burda and saw some people that mentioned your instructions. I really wanted to make this, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to figure it out on my own. So thanks again!!

  2. You instructions are most helpful! I do have a question though, When I printed out the pattern, the pieces for the front & back torso look smallish... like they would fit a child. Is this normal? I've never sewed with stretch fabric before, so I wasn't sure if the pieces were small so the could stretch over the body or what. Please help!