Ipswich Swimsuit Part 3: Starting Construction

Welcome to Part 3 of my Ipswich Swimsuit adventure! Today on the blog I’ll show you how to: 1. Sew the upper back section of the Ipswich, and 2. How to sew the crotch seam using the burrito method. (Spoiler alert: it’s magic!).

After constructing my Ipswich Swimsuit bra, I felt relieved to sew the swimsuit itself. Straight 3/8″ seams instead of concave-to-convex bra parts? Yes, please! I won’t bore you with the details of sewing the front and lower-back pieces together because – like the sewing itself – they were very straightforward. This being said, don’t get complacent! You’ll want to look at the instruction diagrams carefully, as well as review the Cashmerette Sewing Swimsuits for Curves video a few times before diving in.

A Few Construction Changes

To begin, I basted the swimsuit front to the lining wrong-sides-together at a 1/4” seam allowance with a narrow zig-zag, as Jenny suggests in her instructions. But, the fabrics kept migrating away from each other because only one set of upper and lower feed-dogs* were on the fabrics.

The lining fabric tends to migrate away from the main fabric without both sets of feed dogs engaged.

I realized I needed all feed-dogs engaged to be successful. So, I decided to baste the main fabric to the lining (or power mesh) using a long straight stitch (4mm) with the needle all the way to the right. Having the needle all the way to the right allowed me to sew a 1/4″ seam with both upper and lower feed dogs engaged. Then, after I sew the actual seams with a zigzag stitch, I stretch the fabric along the seam and break the basted straight stitches. 

You can see I put my needle all the way to the right.

Finessing the Key-Hole Opening

The finicky keyhole!

The most difficult step today is finessing the keyhole opening. You need to fold a tight curve toward the wrong side, and then topstitch it in place. In the video, Jenny suggests stay-stitching an edge to fold against. She doesn’t mention this method in the written instructions, but I think it’ll really help. 

Stay Tuned for More Construction!

Next week, I’ll insert the swim bra (after my underwire channeling arrives), sew the front to the back, insert the leg elastic, and perhaps make the straps. This is an empowering project! I am amazed that I can engineer a flattering and supportive swimsuit for myself! Next, read Part 4 here!

See you next week!

*Feed dogs: Two or three short, thin metal bars, crosscut with diagonal teeth, which move back and forth in slots in a sewing machine’s needle plate. Their purpose is to feed the fabric through the machine in-between stitches.

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