Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit: DIY Leopard Print Contrast Panel Swimsuit

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit and Simplicity 1896 Kimono

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit and Simplicity 1896 Kimono – ugh – morning hair

Hello Dear Readers,

We are back from our short city break to Barcelona and enjoyed the Spanish sights, shopping, sun and food. I had a couple of opportunities to wear my new swimsuit and overall I was very happy with its performance. Here are the details.

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit

The pattern that I elected to use was the Ginger Body Suit and Separates pattern by Sarah of Ohhh Lulu. I actually bought this pattern more than a year ago, and I have just checked and it doesn’t seem to be available at the moment in her Etsy shop. But if you love pretty, feminine handmade lingerie then check out her shop…sooo pretty!

I decided to use this pattern and not the Bombshell pattern because I thought this pattern would allow more bust support. That’s not to say I might not have a go at trying to make the Bombshell pattern more bust supportive, now that I have more of an idea what I am doing, but the lines of this pattern just seemed to suggest easier modification.

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit and Separates

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit and Separates

Let’s get down to the real business. I need a G-cup. Yep. And there are no swimsuit patterns drafted, that I know of, that cater for the larger cup sized woman. I am guessing we are in a minority, but it is frustrating, and the thing I dislike the most about finding attractive RTW suits. (BTW, Mary just wrote a great post on this very subject over on the Curvy Sewing Collective blogsite). So, the first thing I did was purchase a G-cup bikini top from eBay. I did this because I wanted to make sure the cups were going to be chlorine resistant. I mean, there would be no point in spending all that effort and time making a swimsuit for it all to disintegrate after the first few wears, right? I figured that purchasing a RTW bikini top in my size would hopefully give me something which would be fairly chlorine resistant.

Cups purchased (and unpicked from the RTW bikini – it was an underwired one…I have kept the wires for another project), I then set about modifying the cups on the Ginger bodysuit pattern. In the picture below you can see I used the actual foam cups to make the increases to the pattern. I found this method worked very well for me. The Ginger cups come in two sections: upper and lower. I pinned the upper section in place and found it matched the upper part of the foam cups quite well, so I decided to increase the lower part of the cups only.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

In this next picture you can see I have added height to the lower cup section to fill in the gap.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Here you can see I have added height to the lower cup, but the length of the pattern cups are not quite sufficient to cover the sides of the foam cups.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

I decided to slash and spread the lower cup as you can see in the picture below, adding a wedge in to the lower cup (sorry I would have used different coloured paper if I have thought about it). I did the same to the upper cup too,  although I did end up pinching out a little bit on the lower cup where I felt the paper was gaping away.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Here’s what I ended up with. You will notice I also decided to split the lower cups into 2 sections, using this tutorial from Amy at Cloth Habit.

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

Increasing cup size of Ginger Bodysuit

So that is how I increased the cups on the swimsuit. You can read about the rest of the modifications that I did in my review below.

Some other points:

  • I pre-washed my fabric (I generally pre-wash everything…just paranoid about shrinkage and the ensuing frustration/ heartbreak).
  • I used my rotary cutter to cut the swimsuit fabric….not a general fan of using a rotary cutter on fabrics but this time it made things so much easier.
  • I made a muslin (using some cheaper swimsuit fabric). Totally worth it. I couldn’t have perfected the fit otherwise.
  • All my fabrics, including the power mesh that I used to line the front of the suit and the (chlorine resistant) elastic was purchased (online) from Fabricland. Yes, this site is messy and I don’t like their system of not having set postage charges, but they have a great selection of swimwear fabric.
  • I constructed most of the swimsuit on my serger, but zig-zagged the elastic on (to the wrong side of the leg holes, top of front and back), folded over so it was concealed and twin-needled it using my regular machine.
  • I also added a band of 3/4″ wide elastic beneath the cups for further bust support. In combination with the cups, it worked.
Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit - back

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit – back

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit - inside front lining

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit – inside front lining

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit - inside back lining

Ohhh Lulu Ginger Swimsuit – inside back lining

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

The Ginger Bodysuit is a bodysuit, which you can also turn into high waisted briefs and/ or a bralette. I elected to make it into a swimsuit. There is a basic (but adequate, probably more suited to slightly more experienced sewers) sewalong to turn the bodysuit into a swimsuit on the Ohhh Lulu website.

Pattern Sizing:

From bust 32″ to 42″ (C cup), and hips 33″ to 42″.

I ended up enlarging the cups to accommodate a G-cup.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, I think so.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

I managed, so yes. I did have to re-read some of the steps a few times to understand.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like the opportunity for colour blocking and the lines of the pattern make it easy to adjust. Nothing to dislike as such, although I thought it was hard to get the V-point at the front of the swimsuit accurately sewn, and it was also very hard to get the cups sewn in neatly. This might improve with practice?!

Fabric Used:

Swimsuit lycra for outerlayer; swimsuit lining for back and cups, powermesh for front lining, chlorine resistant cups, and elastic for openings, straps and underbust support.

Note: I wish I had doubled up on the powermesh. I felt I didn’t have enough support on my tummy. Or I could just cut down on the chocolate 🙂

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Lengthy!!

  • Increased cups of swimsuit from C-cup to G-cup.
  • Increasing the cups meant I had to carry this increase down the front seams.
  • Following on from the above point meant I ended up removing a total of 6 inches from the back seams, tapering to nothing at the waist, effectively doing a sway back adjustment as well.
  • Removed a total of a further 4 inches at the side seams.
  • Pinched out 0.25″ at the front seams, at the mid thigh.
  • Converted the lower cups of the swimsuit into two pieces.
  • Added 3/4″ chlorine resistant elastic as underbust support and also in the strap tubes to give futher support. The pattern has you effectively flat lining (underlining) the entire swimsuit. If doing again I would sew the front lining separately, add my elastic and then sew to swimsuit, as I think it would be tidier.
  • I wish I had doubled up on the powermesh. I felt I didn’t have enough support on my tummy.
  • I concealed my crotch seam during construction.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might sew again. Yes, I would recommend.

Conclusion:

I am so proud of myself for making this pattern fit and sewing it up. It feels well made and secure and it’s another step forward in my sewing journey.

 

In case anyone is wondering, the chiffon kimono style cover up is adapted from Simplicity 1896. I used the top part from View A and lengthened it down, along with the band/ facing. I did rolled hems on my serger. I don’t love it, but it served a purpose.

Simplicity 1896 Kimono

Simplicity 1896 Kimono – Bet Lynch has nothing on me!

Congrats if you made it all the way to the end of this rather lengthy post! Have a great week and see you all soon…

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About sewmanju

I love to shop, but I also love to sew my own clothes, and am currently on a mission to improve my (fairly basic) dressmaking skills. I confess to going into shops and being outraged at the prices of some (not very well made) garments (is it an age thing?) and think "huh, I could make some thing at least as good as that for less" (is it something to do with coming from the Indian subcontinent?) So this blog details my sewing endeavours, both good and bad....I love to nosey through other people's sewing projects....now everyone can get to see mine.

51 responses to “Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit: DIY Leopard Print Contrast Panel Swimsuit”

  1. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) says :

    very glamorous! all that pattern work paid off. what a great suit and you could never find such a great fit in RTW.

  2. zibergirl says :

    So nice of you to share how to enlarge a bra cup using RTW. You look terrific in your new swimsuit!

  3. Fiona M says :

    Oh, Bravo! That is a lovely swimsuit, and also love the floaty cover up too.

  4. Nessa says :

    You my dear are a Very clever woman! So brave to create your own swimsuit and such a genius idea to use a G cup from RTW to create your pattern!!!!
    Well done, you totally deserve that holiday!

  5. Meigan says :

    You are a Rock Star! This looks awesome!

  6. Amanda S. says :

    AWESOME job on this swimsuit. It’s super flattering on you and now you have a custom pattern you can make over and over and it’s sure to fit. On a side note, I find the bombshell suit incredibly droopy in the bust, or at least it looks that way on most who have made it up. So I think your choice to go with this for the better support a good one.

  7. Jen (NY) says :

    So cute! As a fellow “G” girl, I really appreciate the explanation of your process. RTW one piece suits are particularly difficult and if the top fits, the bottom never does. I’m on a major summer wardrobe replacement project already, and so I probably won’t be making a suit this year–but I am now inspired for the next one! Thank you!
    ~Jen

  8. Helen says :

    Great swimsuit and you look fabulous!! I’ve been hesitating over getting this pattern but you’ve sold me!

  9. Angela says :

    What a va-va-voom swimsuit–so glamorous! Your coverup is also awesome:) And great explanations of your changes. Enjoy wearing it — you look great!

  10. lilysageandco says :

    Ooh la la! Just sensational. Great choice of fabric both cosi and kimono. I love kimonos right now! Also so impressed with all those construction details. I’ve only ever sewn kiddie swimsuits which obviously don’t involve the pitfalls of cup sizes and panels …and fitting…so I think I will look back on this post in the future when I ever work up the courage to sew a lady suit….maybe next summer 😉

  11. Michelle says :

    THANK you for sharing how you increased the bust cup size on this. Your swimsuit looks fabulous!

  12. jennyrecorder says :

    You look fabulous and I wouldn’t worry about the powermesh thing across the tum, the leopard print is enough to detract from any “lumpiness”! i have the same problem and am considering making the high-waisted bikini in a busy print…personally, I have been considering buying one of those tummy flatten things that Japanese women wear when they don kimono!!!

  13. Mary Danielson Perry says :

    Wow! Not only is this suit gorgeous on you, but the construction work you did is AMAZING. I am in awe over the perfectly fitted bra cups — copying their shape based on the rtw foam is genius. Love, love, love this suit and this post!

  14. Ebi Poweigha says :

    Great job! And thanks for sharing your bra cup adjustment process — very detailed, very clear. Enjoy your new bathing suit. 🙂

  15. Carolyn says :

    Love how you made the bra cups work so that you ended up with an amazingly beautiful swimsuit!

  16. velosewer says :

    Everything about your cozzie is great. The fabrics. The choices your made about notions. The fit. And the coverall. I’ve learnt a lot from your post. Thank you.

  17. stitchedupsam says :

    Wow, totally amazing job! I’m going to bookmark this post for when I need swimwear, I loathe swimwear shopping so might have to follow your example and try this pattern if I ever need some again!

  18. Sew, Jean Margaret says :

    You have done an amazing job on creating this swimsuit Manju. Beautiful work.

  19. Candice says :

    This swimsuit looks stunning on you, you created a beautiful, well fitted swimsuit..

  20. Tia Dia says :

    Va va va voom, girl! I love your animal print swim ensemble. And what a great fool-proof sure-to-fit way to redraft the bodice. You look like you enjoyed your trip and looked so stylish while having fun!

  21. beebeesvintagedress says :

    Manju this is amazing! I meant to say hi to you at the Minerva event but I kept missing you. I hope Ohh Lulu brings that pattern back as I’ve been dying to try it out for ages!

    • sewmanju says :

      Hello….you should have found me and said hi! Next time perhaps? Yes, I think this is a great pattern that just doesn’t seem to have had much promotion. Thanks for visiting.

  22. karen shaw-jones says :

    Amazing make, you look fabulous. Your blog always gives me inspiration especially with patterns i wouldnt normally look at. I am a busty large cup too and have the Bombshell in my pattern pile but will consider this now ive seen your stunning make.

    Was lovely to say hi at Minerva Meetup.

    Karen (wannabsewing)

  23. mia mcnab says :

    This looks fabulous on you. What a great pattern too. For what it’s worth, I feel that there are plenty of G cups and above out there, but thanks to the idea that anything above a D is huge and unusual, they aren’t really catered for. This despite the fact that a D cup is only a 4 inch difference between the underbust and full bust, M and S have a lot to answer for. Anyway, a great make and as always I love your style.

  24. Jenni says :

    Looks like a fab costume, and cover up, hope you had a lovely holiday xx

  25. Amy says :

    You’re a sewing superhero! This looks brilliant!

  26. MsMcCall says :

    Fantastic post, so helpful with all the drafting and construction details, and happily for a super glam result!

  27. Nicole says :

    This is sooooo impressive! It looks so professional and chic. Thanks for showing pictures of the steps you took to adjust the bust/cups. I haven’t made a swimsuit yet (a little terrified of that particular garment) but this was such a good informative post for when I finally take that plunge.

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