I mentioned this when I posed on Facebook, but this was definitely my most difficult and rewarding hacks to date!I was super excited about creating an off the shoulder flounce for a swimsuit to really highlight the fun Magic print on this fabric from Black Sheep Fabrics. Sewing was swim is definitely one of the more difficult fabrics in my opinion, and adding on top of that a hack of this level, it definitely gave my brain workout!
Making the Pattern Pieces
To start, I used Sarah’s blog tutorial on her awesome blog Sewing with Sarah to hack the Greenstyle Power Sports Bra into a solid front. Once I had my sold front piece traced, I extended front over one inch to create the overlapping pieces. This meant cutting two mirrored instead of one on the fold. I used my French curve to taper the front from a standard power bra front into a V front with the extended piece, making it a crossover.
The photo below shows the new piece.
I then traced the flounce from Mcalls M7745, a dress I had made for a friends wedding. I clipped it to my new pattern piece to check the size/length, matching the connection point at roughly the collar bone/top of the base layer to the point in the flounce.
You can see in the photo above that there was quite a bit of extra length (as the swim top I’m making has less ease and vertical length than the m7745 bodice), so I marked the tip where the bottom piece ends and cut off the extra.
I used the extra piece as a guide to trace a new flounce edge, and continued to shorten the flounce height the rest of the way around. It is a bit hard to see, but in the photo below, the orange pen mark shows the amount of height that I’m trimming of the flounce.
Now our flounce fits!
I then matched up the trimmed front flounce piece with the back flounce piece in order to take an equal amount off the height for the back piece.
Now its time to cut pattern pieces and assemble!
- Outer and lining of the base swimsuit
- Two mirrored flounce front pieces
- One flounce back piece
Serge the LINING front piece to the back on both sides. Serge the OUTER front piece to the side on both. Here I clipped the lining and outer pieces RIGHT sides together, but thats not necessary going into the next step.
Then I pinned my flounce to the front OUTER piece, Wrong side of flounce to Right side of outer swim piece. I didn’t hem the bottom edge of the flounce as it is swim fabric and shouldn’t ravel, and I didn’t want the bulk. PSA – there will be a dog-ear (extra fabric) at the top point – leave it there! You’ll use it to hem the loose edge of the flounce (around the shoulder) later.
Flipping the piece over, I re-pinned with the lining piece (Right side towards flounce), which creates a sandwich with the flounce between the outer and lining pieces. This holds the flounce in place, and by sandwiching, creates a nice finish.
Only serge the sandwich from the front crossover point to the shoulder! When you get to the top corner (collar bone area), make SURE to tuck in the flounce, as it is lose around the shoulder. Verify when sewing that the flounce does not get caught where it isn’t supposed to; the photo below shows how I tucked it in in order to access just the outer and lining to continue connecting.
I continued to make the straps using the “strappy” method in the greenstyle power bra instructions.
The photo below shows the flounce (sandwiched and connected) along the front edges, which are the far left and the far right. The part not connected is where it drapes around the shoulder. Then I pinned the flounce to the back piece. Later, the flounce IS then sandwiched between the outer and lining again when serged, giving it the same look as the front, but we baste it together first (read on!)
When pinning/clipping the flounce to the back, match the seams. I used the dress I’d made from M7745 to estimate how far to connect the flounce across the back, but you can always adjust this to personal preference. Make sure to leave space for small holes to insert your straps through.
Hem the top edge of the flounce
Because I still needed to hem the top edge of the flounce, I basted the flounce to the outer (Wrong side of flounce to right side of outer piece, exactly as it lays when finished). I folded the edge over and pinned in order to hem.
The photo below shows that you should have a dog ear (extra fabric) at the top front corner of the swimsuit; this gives you space to fold the flounce over and hem. Hem the flounce ONLY, but leave the hole open (for adding the straps later).
Once the flounce is hemmed around the top edge from top front corner to where the flounce connects in the back, you’ll then sandwich the back pieces and serge along the back.
Next, we add the straps in. The photo below shows that while the pieces are still inside-out from your sandwiching, thread the straps up through the sandwich to meet the corner. The order of fabrics should go: lining, strap, flounce, outer. Make SURE you have the seam side of your strap facing the lining, so that the “nice” side is out.
You’re almost done!! Once you serge/sew the straps at the front, tuck them in the back on either side of the back flounce and slip it on. Adjust your straps for length and re-pin. Remember that this is a swimsuit, so make them tight so they support you! Take the top off and serge/sew over your connection points to secure straps.
WHEW! Your top is almost finished! Now you just need to add the bottom band, using the Greenstyle Power Bra instructions. I basted the front two pieces of my swimsuit together where they cross over to make it easier to attach the band, and make sure NOT to catch the flounce!