AAAHHHHH I’ve been keeping a secret and I’m so excited to show it off!!!!
Last month I tested the new Nautilus Swimsuit pattern from SeamstressErin, and she’s finally released it! This pattern is quick and so cute. Erin breaks things down into small, clear steps and almost every step is illustrated, so even if you’re new to sewing swimsuits, you can follow along and be successful.
I’m impressed by how much work Erin put into the pattern. Just during the testing phase, she sent out five drafts based on tester suggestions. And I just read through the final draft – it’s been beautifully revised, making it even clearer. She’s also adding a video sewalong in the near future.
On to the nitty gritty details.
One surprise for me was that the pattern instructions are for a conventional sewing machine rather than a serger. Erin includes lots of tips for working with swimsuit knits and suggests several stitches you can use. I used an elastic straight stitch for sewing pieces together, attached the elastic using a wide zig-zag, and topstitched using a twin needle (Erin doesn’t suggest a twin needle. I was being wild and subversive.)
The most difficult part of the suit is sewing the first twist. The hard thing about it is simply that it’s confusing. After reading through the twist instructions without comprehending them, I set about following the pattern step by step. And what do you know, it worked out just fine. Since the twist is the first step, you get it out of the way right at the beginning.
I made the suit from fabric in my stash; it’s a print from H. Greenblatt & Co. that I got at a dollar shop in the LA garment district. The suit is lined with the same fabric. Erin includes instructions for adding boning and cups to the top, but I chose to leave these out.
I made view C, the two-piece with a twisted top and plain bottom. The Nautilus Swimsuit pattern comes in sizes 0-24 with separate patterns for cup sizes AA, A-B, C-D, and DD+. For the top, your underbust measurement determines your size rather than your full bust. However, the full bust measurement helps determine your cup size.
I measured full bust 33″, under bust 30″, so I sewed a size 0A-B top. My underbust is an inch smaller than the smallest size, and the underbust did turn out too loose for me. If I made this again, I’d make the same size, but pull the elastic under the bust tauter.
**Detailed description for anyone making the same adjustment**: In the pattern, the instructions have you pull the elastic very tight between the CF and a notch a couple inches away the bottom seam. After that, you’re supposed to sew between this notch and the side seam, barely pulling the elastic taught. To adjust for a 30″ underbust, I’d pull the elastic 1/2″ to 1″ tighter between this notch and the side seam on both sides.
The pattern calls for a 1″ hook closure for the back. This large hook can be hard to find. However, if your fabric store sells Prym products, I can recommend these transparent bra straps. Here in Germany they cost 7.90 euros, but you get 4 hooks so you’re set for a few bikinis.
I wasn’t sure what size to cut for the bottom because my measurements are waist 27″, hips 41″. This makes my waist a size 4 and my hips 10-12. Because my waist and hip sizes are so different, I was worried the bottoms would be too loose at the top. I decided to cut the bottom front in size 10 and the back in size 12 for extra bum coverage. I can recommend this for anyone with large bum in proportion to their body. The top turned out snug enough and I like how it fits.
Having tested the pattern, I can now recommend it with confidence. If you want to dive into making swimsuits, try this pattern!
Happy sewing and swimming!