Grace + Jasmine Bikini!

Tutorial, Uncategorized
Before I went on my mini-vacation, I made myself a couple bikinis.  Bikini tops have always been a hard fit for me.  I have a petite band – about 28″, and a comparatively large bust, about 36″.  Ready to Wear tops never fit tightly under the bust, nor do they provide adequate coverage.  So, using the Jasmine Bra Pattern and the Grace Panties Pattern I whipped up a couple bikinis with some minor alterations.
The Jasmine Bra is really easy to alter.  First, it is cut in stretch fabrics so the fit is forgiving.  Second, there is really only one seam to alter – the side front princess seam.  To fit me, I adjust the height and the curve of the cup. Here is an example of how I would adjust the Side Front Pieces to accommodate a large bust:band ratio.  For myself, I only added about 1/2″ to the total height of the bra, and about 1/2″ to the bust apex (the fullest part of the bust).  I then blended those extensions into the existing lines.  I then did the same to the adjacent Center Front princess seam. Depending on your size, and stretch to the fabric you are using, you might want to add more or less.  I wanted a tight fit across the bust to prevent any slipping and to take some weight off the halter ties.
The second alteration I made was to the band.  I wanted to use a 1/2″ wide hook to fasten the back of my bikini top, so I had to reduce the width of the CB band, as well as add a small extension.  To do this, marked on my CB line the width of the hook opening, which was 1/2″. I then added Seam Allowance to the top and bottom, and ended up with  a band that tapered to 1.5″ wide.  I also extended the band by 1/2″ so I could thread the band through the hook and create a loop on the other side.
I did a few things differently when I sewed the garment.  First, I lined the entire thing, including the band with knit lining, which is important for a bikini top – it provides a little more support and prevents the suit from clinging. I also added some gentle ruching to the CF seam.  To do this, I flat lined the CF pieces (but do not baste these pieces together!), pressed the Seam Allowance (SA) open, and using pinking shears, trimmed the SA back. Using a wide Zig Zag Stitch, I tacked down a length of elastic, then pulling the elastic, continued applying it over the center front seam, on the inside.  The tension of the elastic should create gentle ruching.  If you want more exaggerated gathers, run two rows of baste stitches along either side of the seam, pull to gather, then apply the elastic over top of that (not applying tension to the elastic).
Flatline your CF Pieces, and press your seam open.  
Add soft ruching with elastic down the CF.
I wanted a bikini that I wouldn’t have to worry about folding over or slipping, so I decided to add plastic boning to the Side Front and Side Seams.  This does not really support the bust, but gives the top shape and prevents it from folding down. I stitched the Side Front Seams of my exterior fabric, so that the seam allowance was on the inside (just like you normally would). The lining should be left loose at this point – only attached at the CF.
I had some un-covered plastic bones in my stash.  I cut 1.25″ strips of swim lining, to use as casings.  I wanted to use a casing that would allow my suit to keep stretching.  Layering two strips, I stitched the casings on to the inside of the Self (fashion fabric), overtop of the princess seams creating a 1/2″ channel, then using pinking shears, trimmed back any excess.  I then cut my bones approximately 1″ shorter than the length of my opening, maybe even slightly shorter.  I rounded the ends with scissors, and inserted  it into the casing, between the 1st and 2nd layers of lining. In the photo below, you can see a sample I sewed where I also boned the CF seam.  Do not bone the CF seam if you are adding ruching.

Bone casings are added to the inside of the Self Fabric.  Use a double layer of lining to prevent your bones from working through. Do not bone the CF seam if you are adding ruching.
Insert your bone into the casing, between the two layers.
Now that the Side Front Seams are boned, I sewed on the Side Front Lining to the Center Front Lining piece, so that the seam allowance would turn towards the inside and would be completely incased.  Once the entire front of the garment was sewn and lined, I stitched on the band at the side seam, treating the self and lining as one. I finished the side seam and then top stitched it down, 1/2″ away from the SA, to create a side seam bone casing.  I then added a small bone to each side seam. I did not stitch on an interior casing here, because you will already have a lot of bulk, between the Self + Lining of the band, and Self+Lining of the Side Front.
After that, the constructing is pretty straight forward.  I added elastic along the top and bottom, stitched on my back hook, and added long, thin halter ties.  You could easily add straps, or a wider ties, whatever your heart desires. 

Below you can see how nicely this method works… you end up with a boned top that also has fully encased seams.

 The bottoms are much more straight forward.  I cut a size medium for myself. I fully lined the Center Front and Center Back pieces with knit swim lining.  I also added elastic around the leg to prevent it from”creeping” while in the water.

Here it is at the beach!

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  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Perfect! This is such a cute suit! Can't wait to try this myself!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Really cute! I have the same problem (bust/band ratio it is) so I will give your method a try!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Really cute. You make it look so simple.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    What a beautiful bikini. I love how versatile these patterns are!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Really, really cute and simply! Question… the grace panty is designed for bias woven int he center front, right? So did you make any adjustment for the change in fabric, or did you just go with it as is?

    • Reply
      July 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      I did not make any alterations to the Grace Pattern! It is designed for use with woven(bias)+knit, but can be sewn entirely in knits as well 🙂

    • Reply
      July 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Oh! I didn't reallize that. I feel like an idiot! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    How do you mean chafing? The inside of the top is lined, so there is no more chafing than any other swimsuit! Boned garments when properly fitted, should not chafe or poke.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    many, many foundation garments, dress bodices, etc have boning directly over the bust. The boning goes along the seam, just like it would in any boned princess seam foundation garment.

  • Reply
    Kristin Jones
    July 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I just had someone ask me about if your patterns can be used for petite/larger busted ladies so I'm so happy to point them in this direction! Also thanks for sharing your technique and your swimsuit – you look stunning!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Awesome suit!!! You ladies are really inspiring some beach trips this summer!!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Oooh lovely!!!

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    It's so pretty and classic! I'm sure you'll get tons of use out of it. I really want to try a Bambi swim top, so this is encouraging!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2013 at 3:02 am

    ha, that's funny, i'm actually in the middle of making a similar bikini with your patterns. love yours!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2013 at 8:42 am


  • Reply
    July 6, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    That's an awesome suit- and you look fantastic in it, Sarah! Now I want to make one!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    This is a great suit, Sarah! Thanks for sharing the construction techniques!

  • Reply
    james cp
    July 28, 2013 at 3:53 am

    very Nice blog, Best new bikini 2013 cost $8….visit ===>

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for this great tutorial! I've just bought the Grace and Jasmine patterns and I can't wait for my swimwear lining to arrive.. I just have one question regarding the top lining part, did you use swimwear lining or just regular knit fabric? I've got a think cotton knit fabric that I thought I might use, but now I'm not sure if this is what you mean..

    • Reply
      October 29, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Hi Kim! I used a nylon swimsuit lining fabric – you will generally find it called just that, "swimsuit lining." Most larger fabric stores should carry it (my local store has it with the spandex fabrics). The reason you would line your swimsuit with a nylon knit lining as opposed to cotton is that nylon will dry much faster. Cotton will absorb more water, and take longer to dry.

    • Reply
      October 31, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Thanks Sarah! I knew I was going in the wrong direction.. Luckily I've found proper swimsuit lining online and it just arrived yesterday 🙂 So I'm hoping to finish them today.. Thanks again!

    • Reply
      December 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Sarah, I finished my bikini and blogged about it, here's the link if you want to see it:

  • Reply
    Brianna Escobar
    March 7, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    If I were to make this (with out ruching) a long line, would I simply add a band to the bottom and continue the boning through the seams?

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