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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, July 23, 2010

Being cool: sewing a rash guard

If you have anything to do with common sense, kids, or dermatologists these days you know that sun protection is a big thing.

The EWG has written a 2010 sunscreen guide that says a lot of what we use as sun screen is not that good for you,  but neither is skin cancer of course. Ombrelle, the version that is sold in Canada  in the drugstore is excellent and safe because it uses chemicals approved in Europe but not in the US yet so not for sale in there. You might want to tap some Canadian friends to send you some. The best advice is to cover up when you can and wear a hat. The test for sun proof fabric, without paying an arm and a leg, is something that you can see very little light through when you hold it up to the light. My African cottons are excellent BTW, anything crisp.

This is interesting. When I lived in Australia in the 70-80s no one wore a hat and everyone was always getting things burned off their noses or worse. You go to Australia now and everyone has a hat. 

We were just all brought up not to worry about this.  I don't know about you but my mother survived being home with us in the summer by saying one line - go out and play and don't come back in here." That's what we did. But at the pools and beaches these days and all the little kids are wearing these swim suit T shirt things and shorts - cost a fortune and so cheap and easy to make. 

Now I am in the water a lot in the summer and more so with Miss Scarlett, so I observed my surfer son and decided to make myself a rash guard to wear in the pool, or when I was hanging around in the sun a lot. To wear with the hat.

These are just swim suit fabric tops that ideally have flat locked seams and seams that are offset so you don't have seams on seams to minimize friction on the body. Surfers wear them to protect their chests sometimes when they surf without wet suits.  

I used Kwik Sew 3455 for my prototype and am pleased with the result. I chickened out and didn't flatlock the seams, stitched them with stretch stitch on my machine and cover hemmed over those seams from the wrong side so they looked like flatlocking, but the next time will do the real thing.

I was very pleased with this pattern. The shoulder seams are moved forward like they are supposed to be and the side seams wrap around the back, which would be better if I were lying on a surf board, which of course I am not.

The only thing I did wrong was make it too loose, my size according to the pattern, but once you are in the water this things grows (remember those baggy bum bathing suits you get stuck wearing as a kid?) so I really, really suggest you flat pattern measure and make these things at least 1" negative ease. You would certainly hear from a kid if you didn't.

Any tight fitting T shirt pattern would do and you might want to fool around with moving the seams like this pattern has.

Oh, and BTW I figure I saved about $60.00 by making my own - it is criminal what they charge for any so called sportswear and this really is just a T shirt.


Omega said...

Very pretty T shirt, in many ways I'm sure it's better than what you would have purchased RTW.

Jodie said...

I really like the shirt. Does it have a defined waist shape? I'm looking for a pattern for a very narrow 12 year old boy - he's at the awkward stage of too tall for childrens and too small/narrow for mens. And this way I might use it too!
Your thoughts would be appreciated,

Barbara said...

Hi Jodie,

No real defined waist shape and all you would have to do is straighten it out. XS might work for him and he shoulders would be small. Had same issue with my youngest son. You might also try a Jalie T shirt because their multi size patterns are good if you want to lengthen a small size and just try wrapping the seams. This top looks very RTW though. Let me know how you go.


Jodie said...

Thanks Barbara:
I may give this a go later in the summer. He's at the stage where looking like ready-to-wear is a plus factor - heaven forbid he wear "home made"! Such a tough age.
Thanks for your thoughts, I enjoy your blog,