Hi Everyone! 
When choosing the fabric for my August Minerva make I thought that I'd hope the best for the weather and brave some foreign waters with swimsuit making. This was such a fun project to figure out. I'd forgotten how much I love drafting patterns. I decided to self draft the bikini top, because I couldn't find any patterns with the design that I wanted. Although, please note that all of the following steps were completely improvised, and are by no means the 'proper' way of doing things. The fact that the lycra fabric has so much stretch means that fitting is a tad easier! The lycra has a matte and shiny side, and I used the matte. 
As I don't have a swimsuit block, I thought the quickest way to get one was to use one of my existing swimming costumes as a base. So, I folded the swimming costume at the centre front and pinned it to the pattern paper. I pinned exactly on the lines of the side seam so I could join the dots when the cozzie was unpinned. Then I had a basic template to adapt. I then drew the style lines that I wanted; a V neck and a separate bust section, ending up with 2 pattern pieces.
However, there was still a bit to do with the pattern, because I wanted some gathering detail at the bust, so I slashed and spread the cup pattern piece for some extra fullness. Then I checked that the pattern piece covered the cups included in the kit. They were more solid than I was expecting them to be, but they do offer a lot of security. After that I added seam allowance, grainlines etc. and cut them out of my emerald lycra! Below is what the 3 front bodice pieces looked like when cut out.
Then it was time to sew them together! I was really impressed with the quality of the clear elastic, as previous experience with different brands weren't so positive. I first gathered the cups with my serger, but then decided that it would actually be more sensible to do that with the elastic, so I did that instead. I also used the elastic to stabilise the V-neck. When the front was sewn together, I folded that in half. pinned it to the fabric and cut out the back that way. The back was sewn at the side seams to the front and straps of a random length were cut and sewn on to be trimmed down later.
I then cut out all of the bodice bodices again, to serve as a lining. When I had 2 identical tops I pinned them right sides together and sewed all around the top of the back, the armholes, the straps and the front so that all of the inside seams would be hidden. Then I turned everything out the right way, and put the cups between the 2 layers. The hem was overlocked with elastic to stabilize it and turned over and top-stitched. Oh, and all around the top of the swimsuit was also top-stitched. Then the top was done!
For the bottoms I originally tried Ooh Lulu's free pattern for July; the Hilda bike shorts. They were a complete palava to sew, and in the end I decided that they didn't work for me. So then I tried So Zo's free pants pattern which had a really easy to follow tutorial. I did lengthen them so they would hit higher up the waist for a more vintage vibe. I accidentally printed them not-to-scale but I hoped that would work in my favour as I'm normally a size 6 anyway. It did at the waist, but I needed some extra fabric at the leg holes. Remembering Kitschy Coo's barrie briefs I decided that binding was the way to go. It worked, and is barely noticeable! 
The bottoms ended up looking quite good, but they are so uncomfortable to wear! Maybe there isn't enough coverage? But I am really pleased with how the top turned out, although I do wish that I had gotten a sharper point at the V-neck. Unfortunately I won't be able to wear my new swimsuit for a while because I had a jaw operation last week on my lower and upper jaw, so am currently recovering from that!

That's all for now folks! Thanks for reading, to Minerva Crafts for the fantastic kit and Edward for taking photos!

Lauren xx