DIY Bali Bikini

thumb__MG_0991_1024As always I feel like I should offer some kind of explanation as to where (TF) I’ve been hiding out but it would be a heavily fabricated tale involving schedules, motherhood, auto-immune rashes, absent camera lenses and yeah I’d rather slap myself with a dead fish than hear it too. So here’s a DIY bikini! I have to say, it is one of my most favourite, un-hand-made looking hand-makes ever. Maybe even THE favourite. And so you’re not under any illusions, it was followed up by one of the worst sewing fails ever (two words: dude crotch). Why am I sewing swimwear in the middle of Australian winter, literally after finishing a cosy Linden Sweatshirt, you ask? An event that’s not that unusual but this time my beloved little brother announced he is moving to New York, like, next week and thought we should brocation someplace warm and lush before he leaves: step in Bali!
ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali Bikini
Yes of course my first thoughts were DIY TRAVEL WARDROBE. But then, I didn’t want to get all manic over it only to get to our Aruyvedic Yoga retreat to have to explain that my dosha was all out of balance due to lifestyle factors i.e sewing ALL the things. Plus I was, am, happily in the zone of winter sewing. So, I settled on a compromise: One Pinterest moodboard + four sewn pieces. Which turned into two pieces, one of which was the aforementioned fail. In the end, just this bikini, which thank gaaaawd, turned out pretty damn fine!ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniLet’s talk about the patterns first. I have so much love for both of these. For the top I used the Beverly Twisted Bikini by Named, which is a fully lined, halter neck style top with long wide straps that can be twisted or knotted at the front and closes with a clasp at the back. It also has totally invisible boning inserted in the sides (second pic below) for extra support. In one of those serendipitous sewing scenarios I had the fabric, the lining, the under-bust elastic and the clasp all in my stash and just so happened to have an old and dying bikini with nearly the exact size boning needed for the Beverly. From my experience with Named patterns, the instructions are always on point. And if you’re going to be tackling something like boning, or boning in a stretch fabric, you really want to know that you’re going to be guided through it like a toddler. I was so seriously impressed. And so excited to melt the ends of boning with actual fire!ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniIt’s also obvious how much thought has gone into the details and finishes. Being fully lined, the overall result is so clean and so pro. Only one section of visible top stitching, on the under bust band, but if you’re having a purest moment, like I was, you can move this stitching slightly over and ‘stitch in the ditch’.  I will admit, when I first saw this pattern, I wasn’t so sure I’d even be able to wear it. Not so much bust size, which is something to factor in, but more so if you desire support via bust ‘shaping’. What is not obvious from the pattern photos or the description is that there are secret sections of swimwear elastic sewn into and around the bust which are absolutely necessary and also do a damn fine job of gently ushering your girls where they need to be. Something to take note of, which isn’t mentioned in the pattern, is you will see both your lining and main fabric in the twisted section. I initially cut out swimwear lining before realising this and had to go back and cut new lining pieces out of the main fabric. Only I didn’t have enough so one strap is made out of two pieces joined together.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniThe bottoms were always going to be high waisted! I probably could have copied them from this swimsuit but I wanted to try a pattern that was out there for comparison. And also to be more helpful. The Ohhh Lulu Ava briefs make the perfect high waist bikini bottoms. The only modification I made was adding a waistband, which changed the order of construction slightly but ended up making the finish super neat. If you’re on the taller side you may need to add more length in the waist, which you can either do by just extending the line of the waist upwards or adding a waistband.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali Bikini A waistband makes a nice feature and also means they’re less likely to ride down than when sewn with just a thin line of swimsuit elastic, when water-logged. Something I found out with this pair. Construction-wise the waistband ends up sandwiched between the lining and main fabric. You sew this all inside out and turn back the right way through the leg holes (the crotch seam is already sewn at this point). Then the final step is adding elastic to the leg holes and topstitching (zig zag or beloved coverstitch) down through both lining and main fabric together.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniThe fabric is swimwear lycra from my fav ladies at Tessuti. They always have the most gorgeous swimwear fabric and I like to check in regularly come summer! I love it’s whole boho Tigerlily / Zimmerman vibe. Finding exciting swimwear prints is not hard, there are lots of hot spots online now. I keep thinking how great it would be if Spoonflower were to offer up an amazing quality swimsuit fabric as another option to get designs printed on. I sent them an email about it last year. I think I will keep pestering. In the mean time another source of beautiful swimwear fabric I’ve discovered is Pretty Mercerie. There’s also The Fabric Store (in store only) and Pitt Trading.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniAaah, Bali. Colourful. Intoxicating. A feast for the senses. And incense. So much incense! You really do get the feeling you are in the heart Chakra of the world. We spent the first part of the week at Sukhavati Yoga Retreat which, should you ever find yourself in that part of the world, is something else. Twice daily yoga, sumptuous vegetarian cuisine, compulsory daily massages (Ok, so breasts are included apparently), scrubs, facials, fresh fruit and vegie juices to your room (my favourite part) in a rainforest, on the edge of a creek, in a little village. The end. ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bali BikiniNot even! We took day trips to nearby Ubud which had a very Byron Bay feel (and lots of penis keyrings, see below) and Seminyak, for some shopping and eats. Came back with shoes and a RTW playsuit, of all things. The last two days were spent at the amazing Ayana Resort at Jimbaran. Of course being travel, there were moments of overwhelm. Like the time I got served up a crab appetiser literally seconds after miming No Seafood, NO SEAFOOD.  Overall, an exquisite adventure…Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetIMG_5313Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_5302IMG_5298IMG_5186Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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