Ohhh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit: DIY Leopard Print Contrast Panel Swimsuit
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.
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.
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.
In this next picture you can see I have added height to the lower cup section to fill in the gap.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?!
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:
- 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.
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.
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…