Diamonds On The Outside {Ohhh Lulu Cindy}

So you’d think that if you can make a bra, you can make a bikini top – right? Sort of. Maybe if I didn’t get cocky at the last minute and decide to add foam. That was my downfall, I think. Mostly it’s cool, definitely wearable. There’s just a few puckers on the cups from the foam, as I sort of just made it up as I went along.

Here’s the bits and pieces used:

Ohhh Lulu Cindy pattern for both top and bottom.

Power mesh from The Remnant Warehouse. Yes again. I have a metre of the stuff and even though those lovely gold bits come off in the first wash, it’s really supportive mesh and quite easy to sew with.

Black and diamond spandex from Boo! Designs.

Underwire casing, boning and metal square thingies from Booby Traps.

Wires, foam and straps stolen from another bikini top.

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Swimming in this house involves the pool, the river or the beach. All are salt. All end up being quite active… activities. It’s imperative that all my bits are contained and stay that way. So the spandex on its own wouldn’t be supportive and secure enough for me – hence the lining with power mesh. Now you might be thinking ‘Whaaaaa?! Bra power mesh in a bikini?!’. But here’s the thing, I dug through my stash of swimmers and found that most of them used standard power mesh, as well as underwire casing and even picot elastic. So it must hold up ok in the water. And again, we’re mostly salt swimmers rather than chlorine. Usually the sun and constant wear ruins my swimmers before anything else can.

A RTW top with picot! Just assembled with the picots facing in instead of out.

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Like I said above, I decided to tackle foam this time, which made me rethink my steps a little bit. I decided to assemble the cups in the spandex and the lining and attach the cups to the lining layer. Turns out I should have cut them down a bit, as I ended up with foam in the seam allowance at the top of the cup – but we live and learn.

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To be honest, I’m feeling a bit cocky at this stage. I mean, it looks pretty tops. Attaching the spandex cups to the lining brought me down to earth again with puckers and wrinkles and all sorts of confusing things. Anyway, onward. The rest of it went together as per normal, but instead of hook and eye closures I just cut the back band on the fold so I could pull it over my head. Another genius move that I didn’t think through. Oh it worked when I tried pulling off my velvet Cindy over my head, but I didn’t take into consideration that adding the hook and eyes actually makes the back band bigger. Oops. It’s a tight squeeze, but I can get it on without ripping any seams. Bonus is that it won’t move in the surf either. Silver linings.

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Here’s a closer look at the underwire casing. It goes on the cup seam allowance. Clever, isn’t it?

Then we trim the seam allowance so it is nicely contained under the casing and stitch down the other side. Then a mini version along the side seams for the boning.

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Finishing the raw edges along the neckline and under the arms is what I was most worried about. On bras, you use pretty picot and it’s easy. But that’s a bit too bra-ish for a bikini. Fold over elastic is an option, but it’s previously been established how rubbish I am with that stuff. I could make binding out of spandex, but errrrk, maybe next time? So again I referred to my RTW tops and thought that the simple attaching of narrow swim elastic and folding over would do. I decided to attempt encasing it nicely with my over locker. Not so nice, my stitch was as wide as it could go, but still needs to be wider. I finished the bottom band with picot facing in.

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Annnnnnd done. Check out those wrinkles.

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Thankfully most of those wrinkles disappear when you fill them out with a body. I didn’t mention much about the construction of the bottoms, but they went together like these ones and I adjusted the legs a bit. I somehow managed to make these ones a bit bigger too, so I’ll have to make sure I correct that with the next pair.

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