Tuesday 3 July 2018

Halfmoon Atelier basic bikini Well's Bay, pattern testing & results

It's finally here!  The Well's Bikini pattern is out.  You can get a discount if you buy it in the next week.

I'm not sure how other people go about pattern testing.  I find it somewhat stressful because you are sewing with a deadline, and also very educational because it pushes me to make one item multiple times and focus on how to make it well.  I love the aesthetic behind Halfmoon Atelier and getting the chance to watch it develop and see behind the scenes.  I was really pleased when I realised that I had enough access to sewing machines to be able to test this bikini - and since I'm surfing I really tested these bikinis a lot!  They've been worn weekly for months now and are still holding up.

My first version is a size 3, which matches my measurements (33-27-37), with a size 4 front bodice.  Anyone with a chest larger than a B cup should probably size up just the front bodice piece.  I found the bottoms to fit perfectly with no adjustments, and they are my favourites of all the bikini bottoms I've sewn.  The clean finish is puzzling the first time around - I think a little video might be made to help out with that - but it's really worth it.  In terms of sewing the bottom without a serger, it works out fine using a zig zag, except on the waistband piece.  Just using one waistband piece and folding it over is better because then there isn't a horizontal seam at the waist which can pull.  I luckily had access to a serger and so I tested this on various seams, first straight stitching and then serging the edges for support.  The seam of the two waistbands for the reversible version is a weak point if you can't serge it.

The top is super minimal.  It's important to pay attention to the length of the shoulder straps to ensure they suit you as they are not adjustable once you sew them in.  Other than that it's a pretty easy make!  I surfed in this right away and found it comfortable under a wetsuit.  My general requirements of swimwear is that it's minimal, doesn't have underwires or things that stick out, and looks ok under clothes.  Other people probably have different requirements...I do not (often) swim, and I very seldom sit on beaches or lounge about in my togs.  This top would probably hold up for swimming but I haven't tested it in rough surf.

For my second one I went ahead with some changes.  I made it halter neck, and I added elastic just above the bottom SA of the flowered side only for the front bodice.  An option to add elastic has now been provided and it does increase the security of the top - you can now add elastic both above and below the bust, but I only put it in the bottom of the suit under the bust.  (I made a third version with the elastic but it looks JUST LIKE THE FIRST ONE so I won't bore you.)  I was not planning to ever reverse it so I also just used the one waistband instead of two, so I could sew the entire bottom on a normal sewing machine.

 I don't like the halter neck version as well.  I find that it compresses my chest a lot more and somehow has less boob room.  The pull from the halter doesn't balance the back tie quite as nicely.  I also discovered that the single foldover waistband ended up lower, possibly because I overlocked the double waistband and therefore used less than a 5/8" seam allowance. 

Fabric:  I did indeed have enough confidence to go right ahead with this Liberty of London swimsuit fabric, from The Fabric Store.  It's great.  The honeycomb coloured lining that I got to use with it is very tacky and malleable and generally crap to sew, but feels good on.  The black lining is stuff I've bought online and have had for awhile and is extremely solid, slippery and dense.  I expected the black/dark suit to be tighter, but it's not - the material of the pink suit really sticks to me nicely. In fact I don't love my changes.  I don't think I would make the halter neck again.

This pattern was made to be minimal and not require special supplies.  That's why you can use strips of the fabric itself instead of elastic, and the back ties.  But since I surf all winter, including at times when I can't feel my hands afterwards, I plan to use swimsuit clips for this suit in future to make it easier to untie.

All versions of the suit that I tested were active tester versions, and some very small changes have been made since then including increasing the coverage of the bum a bit, and lengthening the shoulder straps.  I had such a fun time testing this suit and I'm pretty happy with my new collection.  I've been wearing them 3-4 days a week while surfing since I started pattern testing in March, and can just say that it is really better to use an overlocker, but if you don't have one, then use a strong zig-zag.  Stitches that I couldn't support with an overlocker have definitely pulled and snapped with time.

The bottom comes with the option to make knickers as well and I'm sure I'll do that eventually, because I really love the fit.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for sharing! I was just looking for simpel bathing suits with no fancy notions needed (I live rural) and this pattern came up - I loved your simple and honest review and I love your swim suits!