Seasonable Sewing: A New Bikini Top

After a intensive project that required lots of hand sewing, I was ready for something quick and easy.  It doesn’t get much easier than two triangles of fabric and some straps.

The fabric I bought a few years ago in a discount fabric store in San Francisco.  I made a bikini from it using McCall’s 5400, using the view with more coverage.

I actually made another version of this pattern in light purple.  Since bikinis obviously take very little fabric, and there’s not much else you can do with swimsuit lycra, I decided to make another version of the top in the tropical print.  I made the same size as the previous version, which fits fine, but this one gaped pretty badly.  The pattern does have cup sizing, but unlike for the c’s and the d’s, the a/b cup is the same size!  I am a b cup, so I figured that if anything it would be small.  If any a cups out there make this pattern, be warned!  I did a quick fix by unpicking the elastic on the front of the cup, shortening the elastic by one inch and then gathering the fabric onto the shortened elastic.  Definitely not the “right” way to fix it, but this was supposed to be a quick and easy project.  If I ever make this pattern again, I will pinch out a dart on the pattern piece.
The most difficult part about making this suit is turning the long tubes of fabric for the straps right side out after sewing the seams.  I thought I would share a little trick I have that makes it way easier.  I actually learned it years ago at a beginning serging class.  (You do have to have a serger to do this, though.)  This can be used anytime you have to tube a skinny tube of fabric inside out.


First, make a thread chain that is a couple inches longer than the length of the strap.  This may seem really long, but do not be tempted to skimp on this by say, tying a piece of yarn onto the thread chain.  Ask me how I know about that.
Then, fold your strap in half lengthwise, right sides together, with the thread chain inside of the tube, near the fold.


I pinned the strap and pinned the thread chain in place.  It is very important that you do not sew over the thread chain; it must be free to move inside the tube.  Serge your seam.  Then, starting at the end that you started sewing (so not the end with the tail of the thread chain sticking out), start pulling the tube inside out.
The tube is sewn.  The upper thread is the one that is inside the tube.


Starting to pull the thread inside out.
Turning inside out.
Once you get it started, you should be able pull on the thread chain to facilitate turning the tube inside out.  It should go really quick from there.  Much faster than the usual way of turning it right side out a little at a time, which I find very tedious.
All finished!


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