Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Papercut Patterns Palooza Part 3: Soma Swimsuit

Here we are, the last entry in my Papercut Patterns Palooza! You be the judge of whether or not I saved the best for last, because I love my Pinnacle Tops and Pneuma Tanks just as much as my Soma Swimsuits.


Like the other Papercut patterns, the Soma is packed with options. First up is View 2, a "bustier style" with pieces that form cups, and no back closure. I have a 33" bust and made a size XS. I think the fit is okay, but it would be better with an underwire, if I could figure out how to do that. Following Lauren at Lladybird's idea, I used two layers of swim lining for more padding/coverage. I'm not entirely happy with that decision, and if this wasn't a print you would be seeing a lot of wavy seams. It got super bulky.


Speaking of the print, it's amazing! The Fabric Fairy (my FAVE place for swim knits) stocked this Banana Leaves swim knit months ago and I tried to resist it. I told myself I didn't need another swimsuit this season (I already had the neon green swim knit that you'll see in a minute). But when I saw that fateful "Almost Gone!" on the website, I decided I had to have it. But alas, I waited too long, and it had sold out by the time I went to buy it. I frantically emailed Megan, the owner, and begged for any yardage she had left. They don't call her the Fabric Fairy for nothing! Megan let me know she had a 21" piece left and it was mine if I wanted it. I paired it with her suggested solid colored green, called Banana Leaf Green, and used that for the lining.


The instructions for the suit were excellent, although I recommend paying careful attention to your notches in order to properly construct the cups. I did not topstitch the seams because I was afraid of making them even more wavy, and I did follow Lladybird's other piece of advice, to burrito the triangle piece so that all seams would be fully enclosed. I'm not sure why that wasn't part of the directions, except that it was pretty tricky (not impossible).


The other change I made was to use extra straps to make the back look like a Pneuma Tank. I am posting the above photo despite my own hang-ups about how my post-three-kids body looks, because I do want to mention how cheeky the bottoms are. I have a size 38" hip which is between an XS and S so maybe they wouldn't be so skimpy if I had sized up instead of down.


I also wanted to make View 1, and had this neon green swim knit (from Mood) in my stash for a while. Full TMI disclosure: those are *not* my nipples showing through, even though it definitely looks like it. This view has a dart and I just did not get as smooth of a dart as I could have. It looks pointy and not really flattering. I also doubled up with this fabric and I think I should have used a proper swim lining instead, to make it more opaque in general (which is what I did on the bottoms).


I did insert cups into this suit, but once it was finished and I tested it out in our hot tub, it was stupidly obvious that there were cups. The fabric was even more sheer when wet. I ended up unpicking the underbust elastic and pulling out the cups.


Instead of using FOE under the bust, I used a thicker picot elastic. For visual balance, I used the same elastic on the waist of the bottoms, which did essentially raise the rise a touch (because I wasn't folding over and encasing elastic). The cut of the leg is the same, so they're still cheeky, but they are a bit taller. I did end up shortening the strap elastic to perfect the fit, but that will depend on your elastic. There is a sewalong and I believe it was there that I read how you should not over-tighten the straps, because that will cause the top of the triangle piece to collapse and not lay flat. So, it's a tricky part to balance.


I think the style lines on this view are super cool, especially the back, but this particular fabric is kind of a miss. I've generally had better results with swim prints than with solids, unless the solid is black. I think from now on I'll stick to prints, they just hide stuff better.

The fun part is, I still have one more view I could make with this pattern! I wish I needed 100 swimsuits but alas, just hanging out in my hot tub after the kids are in bed doesn't necessitate it. I enjoy making swimsuits and the majority of both of these were made on my regular machine with a zig-zag or three step zig-zag stitch. There is certainly a learning curve, but View 1 of this pattern would be a great intro suit.