As I've mentioned before, I'm usually not much of a swimmer. I really need my glasses, chlorine gives me headaches and I get sun burned easily. Those things conspire to make me neither a keen visitor of the swimming pool nor the beach.
And as a result of that, me making swimwear has been as much about pattern making and sewing exercise as about the result.
My retro bathing suit is the prime example of that. It looks great but I only really wore it once, and then I found out the leg elastic was really a bit too tight. Not very surprising considering that I made that thing after only a couple of lingerie muslins...
I made these bikini's two years ago, with the intention to use them. I wore the one with the bandeau top under my wetsuit when we went rafting last year.
And then, a week before my holiday this year, I dug it out again. The weather was warm and I needed a break from work. And I had decided that a bit of swimming in the sea would be just the thing.
It was only then that I discovered the weakness of this bikini: That strapless body doesn't stay up when you're moving against the current. After every stroke, I had to pull up.
For our holiday, I tried on the other bikini, hoping it would perform better... Well, not so much. Remember that breast growth thing? That was after I made these bikini's. I had noticed the bandeau didn't fit that great anymore. I should have remembered that other bikini was a bit tighter to start with... I couldn't maneuver that drawstring front in anything near to a decent position anymore.
Fortunately, I was in a wetsuit again for this holiday's water activities, so I could still wear the bandeau bikini.
I'll have to address the situation though. I'd like to have a swimsuit I can actually use for swimming. I tried some on in a store to get a bit of an idea. RTW bikini bottoms still have that very low rise, tops and one pieces come in endless variety.
And then I realized: there are bathing suits for beach beauties and there are swimsuits for sports swimmers. And the latter and basically only sold in sports stores and the sports departments of department stores while the former are sold by lingerie stores and some fashion chains.
Beach beauty suits often have foam cups and regularly lack proper shoulder straps, while the sports suits tend to be cut high on the chest and have compression shelf bra constructions (if they have any special bust treatment at all)
Again, the world of RTW doesn't look very appealing to me. I has opened my eyes though.
I may not be a sportswoman, I'm even less of a beach beauty. If I want to be able to go for a swim, I'll have to think about functionality. Both bikini bottoms are still perfectly fine but I will have to make a top which is the right size, has a stable closure (not just ties) and real shoulder straps. I may just make a triangle bikini top which sticks to those rules and see from there (unfortunately, the 'bikini tops' page of Pattern School doesn't load, I hope it will again later).
Another item for my to-sew list...
What surprises me, is that, despite the amount of swimwear sewing I've seen on sewing blogs, I haven't read anything about functionality vs. looks issues. I wonder why.
Is this something regular swimwear wearers are aware of, so they pick the right styles for their use without the need to think or talk about it? Or am I just a bit over-sensitive about the issues with my swimwear?
I'd like to know what you think about making and wearing different styles swimwear...