Flamingos, Mermaids and Unicorns in Spandex {Ohhh Lulu Cindy Hack}.

Not literally those creatures dressed in spandex (let your mind go there for a minute), but printed on spandex. For adult humans like myself who enjoy a bit of frivolity on their swimmers. I used the Ohhh Lulu Cindy pattern, which is a great pattern that I have sewn up multiple times as lingerie. For my first foray into swimmers for myself, I decided to just start with the bottoms and tackle the tops later when I can decide on design. All my bra patterns will need a fair bit of hacking to work as swimmers, so I went the easy option first. Plus I have a few plain black tops that will work with printed bottoms and most of the time I wear a rashie anyway. Because that sun is dangerous, my friends.

I ordered a flamingo print from Boo! because it was on sale due to a slight print fault. I also grabbed plain black spandex from there. I didn’t know if my first pair would be wearable, so I didn’t want to spend a lot. Turns out they are totally wearable, but I did end up tweaking the pattern slightly for my second pair. I also ordered sports lycra from Spoonflower because the prints are just so awesome, but I wasn’t sure what the quality would be like so only ordered a small amount. The blue lining is from The Remnant Warehouse.

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The only downside to the Cindy pattern in my opinion, is the fold over elastic. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great when done well – very much like RTW underwear. But even though I’ve tried, we just don’t get along. Sorry FOE, it’s not you, it’s me. All me. Plus, it’s not really intended for swimwear because everything has to be chlorine resistant. So, that leaves making binding from your spandex (looks great, makes me want to cry) or bands to cover the raw edges at the leg openings and waist. You could also use swim elastic and fold it over (like I did here). I went the band option because I find them easy and they add a tiny bit more coverage, which I like.

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I started with the flamingo fabric and cut the pattern out exactly as is, simply omitting the jersey gusset and cutting the main front and back panels out of the lining too. You don’t want a traditional underwear gusset in your swimmers – that little guy will fill with sand and become very unattractive, not to mention uncomfortable. My first step was to attach the lining and main fabrics at the front and back of each (so the joins are then facing each other on the wrong sides of the fabric) and then baste the lining front to the main front and same with the back pieces – from then on treating them as once piece of fabric.

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Everything goes together very easily after that – front and back side panels get attached and then you attach both pieces together at the side seams. I used my over locker, but you could do the same on a normal machine with a zigzag stitch. I then stitched the seam allowance down on the side panels with a zigzag, I just like the finish and think it provides everything with a bit more strength. The last thing I want is a wardrobe malfunction at the beach.

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It’s a good idea to try on the swimmers before you put the bands on, just to check the fit. Then I just attached the bands in the usual way (mark into quarters, gently putting tension on the band as you go). And the eagle eyes will notice I attached the top band upside down. Oops!

All done. The fit is decent, but I felt like I needed more bum coverage. The pattern is designed to be high cut, so I really should have thought about that a bit more. My husband assures me that a bit of butt cheek is fine, but I feel more comfortable with everything contained.

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It was Saturday afternoon when I finished these and my neighbours were out in their yard, so I chickened out of taking proper photos outside. Here’s a mirror version instead. Fit is pretty good, but you can see what I mean about the coverage.

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Today I tweaked the back pattern piece a little and added a curve, as well as making the waistband a bit wider. Then I cut into that very special fabric. I used the same swim lining and plain black spandex for the side panels and bands.

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I love them, and the fit on the butt is better – but I think next time I might experiment with lowering the leg openings in a more pin up style. Maybe. Not sure. I’m just not used to the higher cut, so I feel a bit self conscious. It is all the rage for this season though. I also made the waistband a touch too wide, so I’ll narrow that a little next time too. All in all though, very wearable. And this time I felt brave enough to tackle photos outside.

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