How To: Turn your Bra into a Tankini!

How To: Turn your Bra into a Tankini!

Hi All!
It’s the second bonus tutorial! Because I love you all so much!
This is one of my favourite tutorials so far, taking your favourite bra pattern and turning it into a beautiful tankini!
As after using all the tips in my Bra-making with Foam tutorial from earlier, I made up a foam-cup bra, and stopped right at the stage where you start to apply your elastics. That is when you add the tankini in!
I made this tankini using a beautiful floral print stretch mesh- which is perfect for a tankini because it is light, flowy, and doesn’t need to be hemmed- perfect!
Now another thing I should mention is that this tutorial is designed for a full-frame bra pattern, rather than a partial band pattern. – Let’s begin!
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To start you want to take your front frame/cradle and tape it together with your back band along the seamline. You can use your bra pattern exactly as-is if you plan to finish in the back with a hook & eye closure. If you would rather have a more ‘swimwear’ look you can also narrow your band to fit into a G-Hook, I’ve narrowed mine to fit into a 1″ G-hook at the back, and then I’ve added a tail of about 2″ to give some fitting and wiggle room when I thread it through the G-hook at the end.

Now you’ll want to trace the bottom of you bra frame, marking the center front, the side seam, and the center back (this is the bra hook placement- which would be the point you attach your hook & eye, or the fold point that your g-hook would sit in). In this photo I traced all the way past the g-hook fold, but please ignore that.

Now that you have this, you want to measure on your body how long you want your tankini skirt. Do this by starting at the center front of your bra, at the bottom of your bridge, then measure down your body to the point you want your tankini to end. For my mom this was 13″.

Then on your pattern measure straight down from the center front and the center back 13″, making a box.

If you left your pattern like this, you would have a very straight tankini skirt, with no allowances for your hips.

 

In the back of this tankini, you want to have some wiggle room to fasten your bra hook. Measure approximately 1.5″ in from the center back along your bra-frame line, and 3″ down the back of your back seam, and connect these in an arc. This will give a nice little space in the back to allow for your bra fastening.

Now this is the point where you want to add in all your volume, and I like nothing more than a lovely flouncy tankini skirt!

I like to use the slash and spread method, where you slash your pattern, the spread it to add some volume. This gives a lovely circle-skirt type of volume, so there is no extra gathering and bulk at your bra frame, but it just flounces and flows out from there in waves! Really flattering and easier to sew!

For this tankini skirt I’ve drawn lines where I want to split the pattern and add some volume: one in the middle of the back, one at the side seam, one in the middle of the front, and then I want to add some big fun volume in the front, so I’ve added 5 lines, which will all be slashed and spread. I’ve also added just a little at the center back seam that you can see!

Now to the slashing and spreading! Remember that this is one side of your pattern piece, so the extra you add will be to both sides! I find that with stretch mesh- you really can’t go too wrong- it’s so forgiving and light!

I decided that for the middle back, side seam, middle front, and the first two front slashes, I would add 3″ of width. I did that by slashing along my line, inserting a piece of paper under, and measuring a 3″ gap between the old hemline marks.

To create some bigger drama, I added 5″ to the three front slashes closest to the center front.

 

Also (and of course I didn’t get a picture of this step)- You need to add a seam allowance along the top frame edge, this allowance should be the same width as the elastic that you are using for the bottom band of your bra, since this will be sewn into the bottom elastic allowance on the frame of your bra.

Add a standard 1/4″ seam allowance along your center back seam (or whatever seam width you like to sew your stretch mesh with).

At the center front I’m going to be leaving my tankini open, so that it has a slit up the front. For a nice finish with this style I like to add a little extra seam allowance, about a 1/2″, this is so that I can fold it in on itself (so there are no raw edges showing) and so that I can overlap the fronts.

Once you have your skirt pieces cut out you will take you your bra that you’ve made up (just the the point of before you add your elastics)

Then you can see laying this out, just how your skirt pieces will be attaching to your bra- you want to attach them along the bottom frame of your bra.

So flip your skirt pieces so they are right sides together with your bra, and pin it along the bra frame, remember to line it up just overlapping the center front (so that your skirt pieces overlap) and you skirt should end 1.5″ in from your hook and eye.

( In this picture you can see how I fold it in on itself just to hide the raw edge from the outside)

After you’ve pinned both sides, I like to baste it down with a zig-zag stitch like this, you can faintly see that the bra is under these skirt pieces in the picture below.

Once you have it like this, with the skirt side up, you will stitch your elastic to this edge. Imagine there is no skirt piece and you are sewing your elastic to the bottom edge of your bra just like you normally would.

The next step is to sew your elastic, on the second pass, like you normally would, only when your flipping it back in towards the bra cups, make sure that you separate your tankini skirt from the bra frame, so that your skirt is going down and your bra is going up.

This way your elastic will only be shown on the inside, and your tankini skirt just looks like it’s seamed with your bra frame. It’s a very similar technique to if you were adding a ruffle there, or piping.

Then all you have to do is finish sewing up your bra as usual, however you planned, and sew up your center back seam of your tankini skirt!

And voila!!

It’s really super easy! And with the stretch mesh it’s even better because you don’t have to worry about hemming or finishing the edges, it’s best to keep it very simple and light!

I can’t wait to show you the photo shoot I did with my mom for this one so you can see it on her!

I also have another little surprise for you with the photoshoot reveal! 🙂 😉

So much fun stuff happening!!

Do you like tankinis? Do you think you’ll use this tutorial?

Talk to me in the comments!!

xo

erin

[BAW23]: Gingham Bikini

[BAW23]: Gingham Bikini

Hi All!

It’s SWIMWEAR MONTH!!! You know me, this is my favourite, there’s nothing better than making swimwear- it’s like underwear for outerwear that I can show off to the world (not just online he he)!

And I was thinking about what I wanted to make this month and reminiscing about last year and my favourite makes, and last year on Week 23, I made my Retro Gingham 2 piece bathing suit– which I still love so much! But this time I thought- wouldn’t it be nice to have that same feel but in something a little lighter, more bikini, less ruched?

So I present to you my 2016 Gingham make- the Gingham Bikini! Yes, I am completely in love!

I made this using the same pattern from my demi lace bra in Week 4 with my France Wires, which I think gives it that perfect itsy-bitsy bikini look- but with WAY more actual support and shape!

But most exciting of all I used my new microfiber foam! It’s an absolute dream to work with and is like heaven against your skin, I think this is going to be my new staple! I just love the look and feel of foam in my bras and this foam is the best I’ve ever worked with!

I sewed my foam up like usual, finishing the top of the bikini with a binding edge, and using my swimwear elastic for a clean finish on the bottom band. Which also goes along with the simple elastic finish on my bikini bottoms!

And the fit of this is, as usual, spot on! And I think the foam makes it sit even more comfortably and smoothly! I can’t wait to wear this to the beach this summer!

But I suppose lounging around in the sunroom with Gibby isn’t too bad either 🙂

Of course, I don’t like to make things that I can’t offer to all of you lovelies, so here are the links:

So what do you think? Do you like this new bikini version? Or do you like last year’s retro stylings?

It’s a tough decision, I guess I’ll just have to run around all summer in these to see which one wins for me 🙂 *those moments when you really love your job* 🙂

 

How is the start of your June? Any little teasers about what you’re making?

You know I always love to hear from you!

xo

Erin

[BAW12]: The Cast Away Collection

[BAW12]: The Cast Away Collection

Hi All!!

I am so excited for another week of swimwear and to show you more pics of all the swimsuits that I made this month!  As you saw from last week, I made three different style bottoms: The High Waisted, the Boyshort and the Bikini, which to me are all essential in a swim wardrobe!!

I’m calling these my Cast Away Collection! Because they are everything that I would want if I was cast away on an island (along with my piña colada, mask & snorkel of course!)

 

THE HIGH WAISTED

 

 

I think of high-waisted bathing suits as so glamorous! I like it start right at my natural waist to show off the smallest part! And a medium cut on the leg height, to make your legs look nice and long!

 

I love a good print with this style too, something that screams glamorous tropical island!

A little bit of ruching never goes amiss either!

 

THE BOYSHORT

 

I think of this as a more sporty chic style! It’s what I always reach for if I’m going to be running along the beach, or poking in the tide pools for critters! And I love this style under my wetsuit too!

It’s super comfortable to wear and lets you get up to all sorts of shenanigans like my sister and I were!

Starfish!!

THE BIKINI
 

 

The bikini to me is such a classic, it’s so fun and flirty! I like my bikini to be just a little bit cheeky and high-cut to make your legs look a million miles long!

 

They are even better when you make them in a mermaid print, and go swimming in the ocean! I bet I scared all the sea turtles with my paleness!

But it’s also the perfect style to lounge on a hammock and tan!

Did I get you all excited for some swimwear??

Next month I’m going back to some bra-making, but I promise that isn’t it for swimwear!! I will be releasing this Cast Away Collection as PDF patterns sometime next month! EEKK!!

So are you excited for next month? Which style of bottoms is your favourite?

Also don’t forget to send in all your submissions to bra.a.week@gmail.com for the March Round-Up Post next Sunday!!

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend!

xo

erin

[BAW 11] Easy Ways to Accessorize your Bikini!

[BAW 11] Easy Ways to Accessorize your Bikini!

Hi All!

Today I have something super fun! As you know, I was away on holiday last week and I made myself some bikinis for the trip. And I basically lived in my bikinis, which got me thinking of ways that I could change them up, and make them more interesting that just the same bikini everyday.

I also made lots of bikini strings using the second (and my favourite method) of sewing swimwear straps from my tutorial  , and with this method you have to trim off the excess fabric from beside your seam, which leaves you with all these tiny little strips of swimwear fabric…

Which naturally got the creative juices flowing, and I thought about all the beautiful charms and accessories that I could string on to my bikinis! And this is what I came up with on my trip!

Very simple things like this little fish charm for a bit of fun!

Or a silver turtle to add some interest!

Or some interesting charms with extra strapping!

So now that I’m back and have full access to all my beads and charms I thought I would go through and come up with some great bikini accessories that will mix up your bikinis!
Here are three accessory ideas for a simple black bikini- the most versatile swimwear I own for sure!

 

Adding a little rhinestone bling to the string of your bikini between the cups makes a really simple bathing suit look SUPER expensive and classy- especially when you pair it with high-waisted bottoms!

 

But some days I’m feeling a little more fun and tropical- and I love matching black tops, with printed bottoms and tying them in with an accessory! Not to mention it adds a little attention to the décolletage!

 

But then sometimes I’m feeling a little more sporty chic! And I love to pair it up with some simple boy shorts and a fun charm that hangs lower- like this fox! I think it’s just so fun!

And a little bonus pink bikini idea!

 

Accessories also really jazz up bright bikinis too! I LOVE this little leopard 🙂 and with my mermaid bikini bottoms- it’s the perfect land meets sea!
I hope I’ve inspired you all for some swimwear coming up!
I know that for me bikini accessories are amazing because I am a totally indecisive style chameleon, and I love that I can make one bikini look like five different bikinis with just a couple strings and charms! And of course mixing and matching with the bottoms is great too! I just love having choice!!
Which of these bikinis is your favourite version?  Are you inspired to spice up some of your swimwear?
Let me know in the comments!
xo
erin

 

[BAW 10]: Bikini Time!

[BAW 10]: Bikini Time!

 Hi All!
This week I have something super fun! Bikinis! Which is why I’m calling March Bikini Month!
Now I do have a super selfish reason for making March Bikini Month- and that’s because I’m on a family trip to Grand Cayman right now! I am writing this post with the ocean lapping at the shores – and yes it’s bliss! But I couldn’t leave you without the Bra-A-Week Challenge post this week, and I couldn’t leave for my trip without some super cute bikinis!

Because they’re so quick and fun to make- and because I have a sister- I thought it would be a good idea to make more than one for the trip, then of course I got inspired and a little carried away, and ended up with 3 different styles of bottoms that I love: Bikini, BoyShort and HighWaisted! And then some tops to mix and match!

So because I’m in the middle of doing some blog photography here- instead of showing you one make, I’m going to do a little preview this week, tutorial next week, and then a full showing the third week of March!

Here I am doing a little beach combing in my nautical boy shorts!

 

 

Getting a little hammock time in my mermaid bikini, with an accessorized bikini top.

 

And of course I couldn’t be taking underwater shots without a  little selfie fun with my sister Kristie!

Well there you have it! There is your little preview of some of the suits I’ve made for this month! I can reveal that I have three bottom styles, and I left with 6 bottoms and 3 tops to mix and match! So you will be getting lots of shots! And these could possibly be patterns in the future.. maybe 😉

How has your week been?

What are you making this month? Anybody joining me with bikinis or are you sticking with some bras?

Let me know!

xo

erin