The Sewist

I sew, knit and crochet hats. (Not all at the same time. Whaddaya think I am - a machine?)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Not Exactly Esther Williams, I'm AfraidIf the patrons at the YMCA I frequent are any indication, people are very, very attached to their swimsuits. They will wear them until they're faded, ripped, and saggy. And they wear the same one every time they hit the water. One teen-age swimmer wears her black, torn beyond recognition suit over a new pale blue one. You'd think that would slow down her while she's doing her laps, but perhaps that's the point. I remember how embarrassed I was by my dad's frayed-beyond-belief trunks when we would go swimming as a family when I was kid. I was deeply grateful we typically visited our local outdoor pool in the evening so you couldn't see too well. I prayed my father would spend most of his time in the water, where his attire would remain hidden most of the time.

I have to say I'm the same way, particularly since I have a torso longer than most maple saplings. I adore any bathing suit that doesn't give me a wedgie.

Most folk don't wear underwear the same way, I don't think. At least I don't, I have a drawer full of an assorted array of panties to meet every possible need: black, mocha, tan, plus a few very white ones. But there's enough to get through a week or so and then some.

But swimgear? Even though I go to the Y for my own version of water pilates nearly three times a week, I only own two bathing suits. One from a thrift store (that'll might elicit an "eeew" from a few of you, but I'm ok with it). The other? The lavender version of the racer-back suit you see above.

I'm at at a point where I don't like either suits. The thriftie is faded, saggy with the elastic is beginning to show beneath one of the straps. I think it's going into the garbage today. The homemade one isn't much better: it's threatening to tear at a point where I used a four-thread serger. I can see it splitting one day as walk into the pool, not exactly an Esther Williams entrance. Then my worst nightmare (the oh-no-I-have-no-clothes-on one) will finally be true. I also have to wrestle my hips through what feels like a smaller than Coke bottle neck. The elastic is also really wiggly, like it got electrified on the sewing machine.

So it's only out of not-so-bare necessity that I've cut out another Kwik Sew suit. Silly me once again opted for the racer back (so the straps don't fall off my narrow shoulders). But it's cute fabric! Basic black in the back, and black polkadots on a hot-pink background in the front. It'll match the rubber Speedo bathing cap that always feels like it's pulling my hair each time I put it on. So the pattern pieces are cut out. Do I speedily stitch up this baby in time for the next work-out session in a few days? No, not at all. All the parts are parked on a top of a blanket in my bedroom. I daresay I'll wear the falling-a-part suits until there's an intolerable hole or snapped strap on either. How long do you keep your swimsuits?

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Blogger mamafrog said...

Man, haven't bought or made a swimsuit since I started having kids! Don't have a figure anymore that doesn't require stiff shaping in a suit!! Now I'm living in the Pacific Northwest and it's too cold most of the year to get in the water, Brrrr! When I did do the swimsuit thing, I loved to make a couple of new ones every year, especially using Qiana. {That was the pre-spandex version of new miracle fabrics for that kind of thing.} Spandex would be so great for swimsuits since it would hold up better in the chlorine. It's like finding a blouse or dress pattern that fits great--you wear the pattern out and then wish you had bought two of it. I'm really shortwaisted so I'm very picky about good patterns. Sounds like it's time to defiantely bite the bullet and make a new suit. Just think how glamorous you'll feel in the new one!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I did Kwik Sew swim suits for year, the only option for my long torso. I may have to dig out my pattern and give it another whirl, albeit in a slightly larger incarnation.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Madame C said...

As a scuba diving instructor I am in the sea nearly every day. I have four work bikinis and one for best. I have to contend with any white in the fabric going grey from my wetsuit, making sure there are no beads or buttons in strange places that will hurt, that they are modest enough that I won´t fall out while making a briefing as well as the wear and tear of the sunshine and sea and .

Now that two of my four are starting to go lycra-bald I am planning on some recycling my old ones as patterns, my one remaining problem is finding funky fabric on my lil island.

All suggestions for internet swimsuit fabric supplies welcome!

7:41 AM  

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