Sophie Swimsuit - Closet Case Patterns

A bikini has been on my sewing to do list for quite some time, I think I’m most definitely not alone in finding shopping for them a painful experience... Trying to marry up the perfect colour and style, the super flattering changing room light, and the frustrating uselessness that is places who don’t sell the tops and bottoms separate…

I have a few key things that I like in a bikini, but mostly it’s the ability to actually swim and play beach sports, not just look pretty lounging. To that mind, I had been initially thinking of adapting the Pin-up girls bra into a bikini, but had been stalling on doing the actual thinking of how to make this happen, so imagine my joy when Heather announced the Sophie Swimsuit! Huzah! I snapped it up in short order, ecstatic to hopefully be on my way to my first great fitting bikini!

The fabric

  • I had a bit of Lycra (from Affordable Textiles) in my stash especially for a swimsuit – in fact this fabric was only intended to be a muslin, but I actually now love it!

  • I got the findings and linings from The Emerald Studio – cannot recommend her highly enough, great stock, super-efficient and helpful, and generally lovely :)

The pattern

  • I made no adjustments and sewed up straight 10 for the bottom. For the top based on heathers instructions I sewed a 12/5 cup and blended to a 10 at the the band and 10 for the wings. I did use foam in the cups, hooray for no fripple!

  • The instructions were extremely easy to follow, and the fit out of the box is fantastic! Something that never happens for me! I can actually jump around without needing to hold the ladies. I'm now cursing past Hils that I have never tried a bikini with underwires before.

  • For the top the only thing I’m looking to changing in my next one (because heck yes there will be another) is looking at some sort of fix to help with the cup gaping doing more vigorous swimming (actual laps vs paddling), I’m thinking maybe some clear elastic across the top…? Not sure if anyone else has ideas??

  • For the bottom, I have come to the conclusion that while I love the look of high waisted on others I really don’t like it for me, I started off trimming down the waist line, ended up taking off 2.5 inches, and while I think it fits well. For the next one I need to hunt out a good “bikini style” pattern.

Moments of insanity

  • I actually made this extremely last minute (shock horror…) for a cottage weekend last summer, unsurprisingly my time estimation was a little skew wiff… I ended up hand sewing the elastic on over breakfast the first morning at the cottage haha!

  • However though did learn it’s possible to do a sort of zigzag by hand, well a rough as guts totally made up approximation… that actually held together through a day of swimming, beach cricket and other general foolishness. I actually didn’t replace the handstitching until heading back home to NZ for a visit in Feb this year, again over-planning my vacation/holiday sewing meant it was done on Por Por’s machine just in time to go swimming.

Thanks Ju for taking the pics, I'll be honest this was one of the weirder sewing projects to photograph although the bashfulness took a hike once our combined foolishness + an outdoor shower meant it disintegrated into a Fabio/pained 90s indie artist mockery session

Anyhow... thanks for stopping by

Hils x


  1. Great result! My first Sophie is hanging our right by my machine... alllllmost finished. Its a little bit messy though so definitely just a muslin. I LOVE the style of the top and have been an underwire/foam swimsuit fan for ages... I have tried lap swimming in my RTW ones in the past and had the same problem with gaping. I can't really see how you could prevent it though as it seems to related to the fact that our boobs change shape as we change position. but the foam cups don't change as much. Hopefully someone comes up with an idea :)

  2. Hey, I think you might be right, now i think about it the only rtw I've manged to swim in had the straps much closer in, which would lose all the lovely shaping of the balcony... ah well maybe this time I'll take a little form over function ?

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