We're back fro another great day of SWIM WEEK!!!!!!!! And today we have an amazing deal for you from Coles Creations. Use the special discount code on her full priced swim patterns (including the doll swim patterns, sold separately) - it's PRSWIM40 for etsy and already marked down 40% on Craftsy!!! The All for one is also on clearance (the the 40% off wont work, but it is a great deal!!!)
I started sewing swimwear completely by accident. When I placed my first order of knits from Chez Ami (now closed) a few years ago, another lady’s invoice got stuck to mine in their warehouse. So they mistakenly sent me both of our orders - and hers happened to be about 10 yards of swim fabric. I called them to get a return shipping label and they told me to sew up some suits and enjoy the fabric. It was awesome customer service and I was super excited.
And then I remembered that I’d barely just started sewing with knits and had never sewn a swimsuit. So...what’s a girl to do?
I bought a couple of swim patterns, tried a few times (rather meekly), and promptly gave up.
Every time another summer rolled around, I’d remember that big box of swim fabric and try some more. Last year, Nicole Scott of Cole’s Corner and Creations invited me to test a new swim pattern of hers, the Bow-a-licious Swimsuit - it was high time I faced my fears, and with reinforcements. Cole and her mom, Beth Conkwright, are the formidable duo behind Cole’s Creations who have years of swim and dancewear sewing experience under their belts and more tips and tricks than I could have possibly imagined. It was like unlocking another level of sewing, folks. You know the Butterball turkey hotline that pops up every (American) Thanksgiving? That’s Cole and Beth when it comes to swimwear. They were my hotline, and slowly but surely I’ve gained a bit more confidence.
(It also helped that I sewed up a half dozen swimsuits for Miss P last summer, and she didn’t have any wardrobe malfunctions. And nor did the swimsuits just fall apart or fall off of her, which were my other fears.)
Fast forward to this summer, and I haven’t bought even one swimsuit for my girl. I’m not opposed to buying one if I need to, but I think I’ve got this. Cole was testing a new pattern recently, the Lakehouse swimsuit, and I joined that test too. I made two suits during the testing process, as I experimented to find the best way to add length to make a suit that was perfect for my tall and lanky girl. Need help sorting out sizing or figuring how much to lengthen or shorten? Cole and Beth are always a message away and happy to help. As an added bonus, Cole makes matching dolly patterns (15” and 18” doll sizes included) to sell alongside most of the patterns in her shop. It seemed a little silly at first to make a swimsuit for a doll who ISN’T WATERPROOF, but oh man, when I saw the look on my kiddo’s face I knew I was sucked in and this wasn’t the last dolly swimsuit I’ll be making. (These were among the easiest photos I’ve ever taken, too.)
I transferred my sizing knowledge to a new Bow-a-licious suit for Miss P, and it was smooth sailing (pun intended). The fit is fantastic - I love a full coverage suit that doesn’t ride up and stays in place, and my girl loves all of the fun details that Cole includes, like the sweet little bow. The back of all of their patterns is seamed vertically up the center, and that adjusts the shape to accommodate little kid bums without giving them big ol’ wedgies.
The final pattern in the Cole’s Creations trifecta of swim patterns is the All 4 One Swimsuit, which was actually Cole’s first pattern ever (and is discounted heavily since it doesn’t meet her current standards for pattern formatting - the sizing is spot-on and the pattern is well-drafted, but she’s since updated her formatting significantly). This one has lots of options included and I found it to be a little more challenging than the other two suits, but Miss P really loved the bodice of this one and wanted me to give it a go. The fit was great with this one too, and I loved that Cole included three different ways to attach the straps in the back and showed suggestions for fitting right in the pattern tutorial itself.
Since making my first successful (read: wearable) swimsuits for Miss P last summer, I’ve used swim patterns from several other designers. I have found a few that I’ve really liked, but I will always recommend Cole’s Creations to someone looking to start sewing swimwear. I think the Bow-a-licious is the simplest of the three patterns, and makes a great basic tank suit if you omit the bow, too. And with five pieces of swim elastic to sew in (the neck, arms, and legs), it’ll give you plenty of practice with what is arguably the most challenging part of the process. Cole includes tips (even suggested stitches - and stitch lengths, too!) for using either a serger or a conventional sewing machine to attach and finish the elastics, and for finishing and topstitching with either a sewing machine or a coverstitch.
We went to our town pool recently for the first time this season, and Miss P picked her new rainbow stripe swimsuit (from the Lakehouse pattern) for that outing. She was comfortable and confident as she started to make her way back into the water. Her friends were loving her rainbow suit, and one of the other moms commented about how well it fit her with what is perhaps the ultimate compliment - “Wow, it looks like it was MADE for her!”