DIY High-waisted bikini

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniSo I just popped off to Bali for the weekend, to shoot my latest hand-make because that’s the kind of life I lead didn’t you know? Ugh…I wish! I guess one of the ‘perks’ of being physically grounded, at least for now, is I have to live out my travel dreams through my hand-made wardrobe. Which means getting creative with photography locations. So, no, I am not in the steamy jungles of Bali, or Ecuador, or Madagascar but I did have to brave a whole host of wildlife, including Khaki-Breasted Groundsmen (they were on the lookout for the ‘Boobie’ Warbler, I believe), at this very public city garden / pool scape. It looks like I’m having a great time, doesn’t it? Hanging out, here, in nature, with the frogs croaking and the mosquitoes singing. I love nature, really I do…DA FUQ just touched my FOOT?!!! The things I do for you, honestly.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniAs anyone who’s DIY inclined would know, the day before New Year’s Eve really is the perfect time to think about sewing a bad-ass printed jumpsuit for the occasion. Until you realise that actually, as your first NYE in 5 years (longer?) sans kiddies, you over-looked the whole NYE plans part. And then you’re horribly depressed and the only thing that would possibly make up for a fizzled NYE would be to welcome New Years Day via stand-up paddle board, in some killer hand-made bikini, whilst you sail past the hung-over souls, wiping sand from their eyeballs; a picture of vitality and hand-made awesomeness. The. Only. Way. So, I abandoned the jumpsuit, got cracking on this bikini and along with another NYE plan-less friend, rose early and had a perfectly serendipitous day of paddle-boarding, beautiful weather, delicious food and substantial feelings of smugness!ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniThat was January and I’ve been dying to share this bikini with you ever since! Though, a warning, this post should probably be treated as inspiration only. On every other level it’s uh, not very helpful. Really, you’ll see. I’ve been pining hard for a high waisted bikini since forever ever (see evidence here). Are high waists flattering? I think so. Apparently not, according to one male source, unusually passionate on the subject of high waist bikinis now I think about it. Short of starting a movement to have them banned on all major beaches in three states, he was not a fan. Personally, I do like the shape and after having kids, I feel more comfortable and secure when I’ve got from belly-button below covered but I know not everyone loves them. What are your feels?ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniThere are a few options out there for bikini sewing patterns, but not too many. I think swimwear patterns are still a relatively un-tapped niche, heads up pattern designers. There’s the much loved Bombshell swimsuit by Closet Case Files which has a high waisted bikini bottom option. Named patterns have just released the Beverly bikini, which is really cute though I’ll probably be raising the waist. There’s the Soma swimsuit by Papercut with a variety of one piece and bikini options. A handful of basic swimsuit patterns by commercial companies. And that’s it really. I would really like to see a pattern released for a long-line bikini top with proper cups, moulding and underwire, something like this or this.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniFor me, and I’m pretty sure most women, regardless of cup size, support is paramount in a bikini top. I decided to experiment by taking one of my old RTW bikini tops which I know has an exceptional fit and gutting it. I pulled the entire thing apart, including the foam moulding in the cups,subbed in a new fabric, this dreamy swimwear lycra by Zimmerman from Tessuti, where there used to be black, keeping the white for the cups and straps. Then I stitched it all back together and voila, new bikini. I’m sure if ever decide to study pattern making then dismantling clothing would be a good way to learn. It’s like a puzzle, seeing how everything goes together and in what order and which techniques are being used in the fashion industry, compared to home-sewing.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY High Waisted BikiniFor the bottoms, I went the same route, cut up a RTW piece, traced the pieces, extended the waist to be a high waist, added a lining, added elastic for the legs and waist and cover-stitched it all in place. See…unhelpful! But okay, should you want to make something similar, there are options. Again, there’s the Bombshell high waist bottoms, the Soma bikini bottoms or just go the route of extending a regular pair of undies or bikini bottoms to be high waisted. At least then you know the fit is good and snug. You especially want your leg elastic to be snug if you plan on taking your bikini away from the poolside into the surf or you will spend half your time un-plucking wedgies and the other half pretending French knickers was exactly what you were going for, thank you.ZimmermanBikini-7

Photography by Annie Jane Imagery 

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  • poppykettlewrote:

    BABE. I adore a high waist bikini, and think you pull it off wonderfully. Although the few I have tried on, I’ve felt really odd in and haven’t ended up buying them. Because I’m a sewing schmuck who still buys her swimsuits, obviously! And LOVE that fabric. I’m still daydreaming up a genius plan to sew up that fabulous stuff you sent me way back when I still had a space to sew…
    Love this new set!

  • Amandawrote:

    Hullo, sailor! These are fantastic and team hi waisted bikini for the win! Such gorgeous fabric. And how I wish someone would draft a moulded cup, underwire longline bikini set. We can but hope 😀

  • Sarah - Fabric Tragicwrote:

    Looks fab and that fabric is gorgeous. I’m more a one piece girl myself, mostly because I am THE WHITEST person and no one needs to see anymore of that than possible. And it saves me time on the sunscreen. But if I could 2 piece, I would….

  • nicolewrote:

    high waisted all the way! it looks GORGEOUS!
    you are a freaking genius lady!

  • Jillian - SewUnravelledwrote:

    Beautiful, just beautiful 🙂

  • Anniewrote:

    Gorgeous yet again. Such an inspiration!

  • MaciNicwrote:

    Divine!!!! Love that fabric and I’m definitely on pro-highwaist. Gorgeous.

  • salliewrote:

    You are a total BABE!!! Damn girl!!! I’m all sorts of inspired to make myself some new sexy swimmies after this post, if I only I could look half as good as you in the finished product!

  • Debbiewrote:

    Totally gorgeous! That’s all. LOVE the high waist. Maybe you are the one to finally give me a push to do something about my sad and sorry swimwear state. I find it hard to get inspired though, when Bali is not on my horizon either, but rather, a heavily chlorinated, snotty kid infested, totally unglam wading pool where I do my free-lifeguarding/AKA mum duties.

  • Ashleywrote:

    LOVE IT! That fabric is gorgeous! I still haven’t made it down the swimsuit rabbit hole yet (although I did cut out a soma last year…maybe I should get on that). I am 100% a fan of high-waisted swim. I think it’s so cute and flattering. I’m totally with you on the need for better swim patterns, though. I’ve thought about using a makebra pattern for the top and subbing in swimwear-appropriate fabric and notions.

  • maddiewrote:

    You are such a babe!

    I’m a total high-waisted fan. I used to be a how-low-can-you-go gal, but now much older and wiser, I think a little mystery and modesty is sexy.

    As for swimsuit patterns, most bra patterns can be used to make a swimsuit. It’s just about finding elastic and fabric that is suitable for swimming (i.e. chlorine resistant). It’s also about adjusting the pattern to the fabric’s stretch percentage, which may be different than your bra fabrics.

  • Veronica Darlingwrote:

    I’d love to make something like this… but yes with more support on the bewbs.

    You’ve done so excellently… what a gorgeous set… and yes, for high waisted but I’ll need a spanx version of the bottoms or I’ll be sucking my guts in (post baby) all day wearing them!


  • crab&beewrote:

    Holy cow!! This turned out great! You’re getting quite skilled at dissecting RTW. Such a good idea for these pieces where fit is everything 🙂

  • Jillwrote:

    I adore the shape and design of your bikini top. So gorgeous! If you do ever decide to venture into pattern making, please gift us all with this pattern.

  • Gingerwrote:

    What a gorgeous suit! The white detail on the top is particularly cute! I tend to like high-waisted bottoms on other people, but feel kind of weird in them. Plus my fella HATES them (he thinks they look like diapers, ha!!!). I think I’ll be trying the Named bikini this summer, although it seems a bit silly as I never make it to the beach!

  • Tashawrote:

    I’m team high-waisted everything! You look great and I love the fabric.

  • Amywrote:

    You look amazing, I love it!

  • Elizabethwrote:

    I’m going to need you to send this to georgia ASAP. Thanks. And I love the high waist, I don’t really understand not liking the look – it feels pretty universally flattering,

  • Chie (@vivatveritas)wrote:

    Wow LOVE this! The fabric choice is great. It looks like a designer piece! xo

  • Kate Carvalhowrote:

    I love the high waist look! I just bought the Soma pattern from Papercut and I’m definitely trying the high waisted version. Yours look great!

  • Rachelwrote:

    Yes! This is all kinds of wonderful – I have been waiting to stalk this finished product since your snaps on instagram! Much love to the high waisted versions myself! But have had the same response from the lads in my life who seem to think differently…

  • Meganwrote:

    Ohhh Lulu has a bodysuit pattern I’ve been planning to make into a high-wasted bikini: https://www.etsy.com/listing/175095052/ohhh-lulu-the-ginger-body-suit-and?ref=shop_home_active_2

  • Summerflieswrote:

    Really lovely. The colours are beautiful on you and yes to the high waisted bikini for those who wear bikinis.

  • mokoshawrote:

    love your new swimsuit! and you look hot in it! i used to be pro high waisted bikinis.. so i made one last year, and after a day or two at the beach, i had to switch back to regular bikini bottoms, as i did not find the high waisted ones comfy (especially when wet)..

  • Thewallinnawrote:

    You look absolutely amazing in this beautiful bikini! The high-waisted bottom looks very flattering on you indeed! I would totally believe that you went to Bali for a long weekend 😉 Since I don’t live in a country with lots of sun and beaches, I like to wear the tinniest bikini and to expose as much of my skin to sun and waves as I can. Last year, I made the one piece Soma swimsuit . This summer I plan to sew a bikini version of it with high-waisted bottom. Let’s see!

  • Rebeccawrote:

    Love your bikini! And the lush background makes for some amazing photos! I really like the contrast of the white band on the top. High-waisted suits are so fabulous after having kids 🙂

  • suzywrote:

    That’s a fantastic swimsuit! I love the high-waist bikini bottoms. I had a similar shaped set this year (except I cheated and bought mine from Asos) – when playing with small people on the beach it’s nice not to have to worry about adjusting your swimsuit, and I found the high waisted bottoms stayed in place really well – and also cover up any post-baby tummy and (in my case) recent appendectomy scars that aren’t meant to get sun on them.

  • Reana Louisewrote:

    You’re pretty much a jungle goddess.

  • Sallywrote:

    Definitely a fan of the high waist! I LOVE the fabric you used, and I confess, I have the same feels about nature as you. So bravo!

  • Kat @ House of Lanewrote:

    Ahh the infamous New Years bikini! I’ve been waiting to see this in all its glory. It is gorgeous of course, as all your creations are. I love the fabric and I can’t believe you did this without a pattern. You are amazing!

  • Erinwrote:

    I love this outfit!! The fabric is so cute and looks stunning on you. Woo Woo!!
    Totally agree that there aren’t many swimwear patterns. I looked some up to go to Vegas this year but couldn’t really find any I liked so just went and bought some. Love what you’ve done though, so freaking clever!

  • georgiawrote:

    I second the Ohhh Lulu – she has a great looking one piece pattern, plus any of the ‘panties’ ones would make great high waisted bottoms. A longline Watson would also work a treat.

    check out her blog for handy hints and sew alongs… http://www.ohhhlulu.com/

  • Birgitwrote:

    I think your bikini is just perfect, and I do love high-waist bottoms, I think they look superb!

  • Kellywrote:

    This is gorgeous! In theory I prefer low bikini bottoms, and I would have gone right to them during my 20s. But like you said, two kids later and I’d rather cover up that little wobbly bit that’s low on my tummy, and the part of my body I’m most conscious of. Is your male friend aware that some women feel high waists are more flattering for this reason?

  • Steviewrote:

    Oh my god I am so in love with that Bikini! The fabric, the style, just awesome! We also totally appreciate your getting out in nature for a photoshoot too, it looks awesome on you!

  • Adelinewrote:

    I really thought you was in Bali, haven’t been there in awhile and totally miss it. Initially
    I was skeptical about high waisted bikini bottom but I must say you look great it in. And flattering to the body!

  • SJ Kurtzwrote:

    I can’t decide what I am more impressed with: the swimsuit, the ‘location shoot’ (absolutely friggin’ brilliant, kept looking for a khaki photobomb) or the part where you gutted the top for a lesson in construction. Inspirational!

  • Li Annwrote:

    Amaze-balls! And what sumptuous fabric! Only ever tried the bombshell from Closet Case files, which I love but is difficult to do serious pool laps of freestyle in if you haven’t got enough booty to fill the space. I always look forward to your posts, so many good ideas!

  • kristinwrote:

    it’s so pretty on you!!! great fabric, super flattering design, and i really love these photos. makes me want a tropical vacation NOW.

  • Swimsuit for Mama | LILY SAGE & COwrote:

    […] restocked the swimwear department of the other Iles girls. Perhaps it was seeing Sophie’s awesome two-piece a little while back. Perhaps it was just that someone gave me free fabric and I thought it would be […]

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