Testing the Waters with Vi vi by Laela Jeyne
I'm all about trying new things...so giving swimsuit sewing a try this year seemed like the perfect adventure! My kiddos absolutely love to be in the water, so having multiple swimsuits around is certainly helpful!
I immediately fell in love with the line drawings of the new Vi Vi Swimsuit by Laela Jeyne, so jumped at the opportunity to test it for my girls. I've never sewn with swim fabric before, and have heard that it can be so tricky...but decided I was up for the challenge! I love the classic lines and the optional ruffle detailing...so sweet!
I chose the low back, no ruffle version for my middle girlie and used an ombre swim fabric from Knitpop that I received in a mystery box. She loved the pink to purple to blue and I let her help pick which colors would go where on the suit.
For my little girlie, I went with the high back, ruffle option. Be aware...this is an early tester version,and the ruffle in the final pattern had more length, and thus more gather/ruffle added to it. I picked up these stripes at Imagine Gnats and the coordinating purple came from Wal-Mart, of all places! The purple didn't have as much vertical stretch as the stripe did, so I only used it on the tiny shoulder piece and the ruffle.
Overall - I really enjoyed trying this pattern. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. This project was the 2nd one I've done that uses binding on the neckline...and this method was a bit different from the first I tried. While it's still not perfect, I can tell my technique got better with each installation, and it doesn't feel intimidating at all. I was a bit nervous about the leg elastic, but it also went in with no difficulty.
The trickiest part of this pattern for me, was making sure to get the neckline to look right when attaching the small shoulder piece to the front bodice to complete the neckline and swimsuit front. There are notches on both pieces to help with alignment, but the main bodice one can easily disappear when attaching the neck binding, so make sure you mark it well...I would also have preferred a notch at center front, where the two pieces meet, so I measured and added it as a reference. In the end, I was pleased with how the neckline came out on both suits.
The ombre knit from Knitpop was definitely a thicker, nicer swim fabric to work with than the stripe - I've heard several people recommend starting with a thicker swim fabric for your first swim sew rather than a slippery, flimsy one. The stripe was a little on the thin side, but didn't give too much trouble. I basted my lining around the leg and neck openings on both fabrics, as instructed in the pattern, before beginning construction, and had no trouble there. It is definitely easier to attach the binding and leg elastic when you aren't worried about losing a layer, so I highly recommend NOT skipping the basting step!
I'm so happy I took the plunge, and tried something new! Sewing swimwear was nowhere as difficult as some of the stories I've heard. I love being able to create suits for my kiddos that are both cute and modest! My little one has been growing like a weed, and I should have remeasured her before starting construction...she could already use going up to the next size...so I see more sewing in my future ;)
Laela Jeyne is releasing their Summer Collection today, and has both the Vi vi Swimsuit for girls (sizes 12 mo-10) and the matching Violet Suit for ladies. I see many more of these in our future! Check them out while they're on sale through 6/27!
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