See what I was talking about with the Barbie ’57 Chevy vibe? Mint green and hot pink. It feels so much like ’50s nostalgia in the ’80s. And I love it.

As you can see, I cut the pieces for the Reno bikini top and high-waisted Dakota bottoms from Seamwork magazine. Just how high are the bottoms? Check it out:

On the left is the lining for back of the bottoms. I cut a small. On the right are a pair of size medium low-rise, bikini-cut cotton undies. In the middle is a can of sparkling water, for scale and hydration.

Damn, dog. That’s A LOT of coverage. I’m so curious to see how these bottoms turn out. I’m so used to wearing low-rise bottoms. It’s going to be a huge adjustment to see myself in something different.

Part of me is worried that I don’t have an inner pinup girl to rock them as they should be rocked. We shall see.

To ensure accuracy, I cut everything from a single layer of fabric (save the stuff that needed to be cut on the fold). The results were great, but it did take about three hours. There was zero rushing.I’m treating this first go at Reno/Dakota as a muslin, and I’m going to try to baste as much as I can before sewing with a proper stretch stitch. We’ll see how that goes. Because of all the negative ease and elastic, I think it will be hard to judge fit without sewing it together correctly. But I’m going to give it a go. In any case, I’ll end up with a lot of practice on the pattern and fabric before the real deal garment.

Here’s a closeup view of some tailor tacks.

Remember how I was concerned about the transparency of the mint zebra fabric? With the lining, it’s opaque (at least when it’s dry). The mint zebra has a nicer hand than the hot pink; it’s beefier.

While I was cutting the swimsuit, my son asked me to make a bandana and coat for his dog softie. So here’s a photo of a dog with a swimsuit lining coat and spandex bandana.

Before I get into assembling pieces, I plan to play around with stitches and sewing feet. I’ve read that:

  • Cutting elastic long offers more control at the end of a line of stitching.
  • A walking foot keeps fabric moving smoothly.
  • Tissue paper helps stabilize slinky swimwear fabric.

I will report back on all these assertions!

P.S. I ended up ordering rubber swimwear elastic from Sew Sassy. The store sells five yard packages of various widths for less than $3 each. I discovered the store through Closet Case Files’ post on sourcing swimwear fabric and notions, which I recommend if you’re interested in making a suit. Could be good to explore the different vendors well before you need to hit the beach!

Over to you: How would you “muslin” up a swimsuit? Am I bananas to think a basting stitch is going to help me understand fit at all? Please sound off in comments!

P.S. Here are some other swimsuit posts, should you be interested:

Swimwear sewing tips: 8 can’t-miss resources in one place
Revealed: Retro Reno and Dakota swimsuit
Slicing a Swimsuit: Underway on Reno and Dakota
The latest: Ready, set, swimsuit!

P.P.S. Click here to see all the times I sewed Seamwork patterns!