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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, June 8, 2018

Genius ideas: Jalie's Diane swimsuit (swimwear sewing part two)

In three weeks or so I start my summer.

Let me tell you what my summers are like.

For about half the week I do my job type and regular stuff and for the other half of the week I spend my days with my daughter's three kids at this place, the same swimming/sailing/tennis/rec club where I spent the summers  with my own three children when they were younger.

One of the amazing things about Nova Scotia is that it is a modest place to live with some real lifestyle benefits, particularly for families. A club like this costs about the same as a family membership at the Y but for a family of water people like us it has been fantastic resource. My daughter was a life guard, one son was a sailing instructor, and the youngest learned to swim here and went on to be well-known in the local surfing community.

My point is that in the summer we all spend most of our time wet.

My own summers right now on the days I have the kids are spent up to my waist in water with at least one of them hanging on my body and someone else yelling at me to watch them go down the slide. 

There are always at least two swimsuits on the line in the back yard and at least two damp towels going mouldy in the trunk of the car. I start every day at the lost and found trying to locate whatever we failed to bring back to my daughter in the backpacks, and am living monument to the fact that yes any adult can be worn down for money for ice cream if she is tired enough. Which you know sometimes I am.

The wardrobes for my summer are very specific.

I need swim suits that can be pulled on and hauled on without risk of exposure. I need swim suits that a person can actually swim in because some of us are not old enough to go into the big pool without a grown-up. There are no Mi-tais poolside in my life and no laying on lounge chairs. There are always hats and swim shirts because how can you tell someone to put on their sunscreen, sun hat and swim shirt if you don't yourself?
So all of this means I have been long time alert for a sensible suit for real water people and when I saw the Diane pattern I knew this was exactly that pattern:

This is a real bathing suit. The front is high enough and the strap across the back means you can do a breast stroke in it (the grandmother's stroke of choice, something about keeping your sunglasses on and also you can keep your eagle eyes on the charges). The leg is high enough to be reasonable but definitely tugless.

A secure little suit, if you know what I mean.

There was a bit of glam optional in a mesh tie and although I was pretty sure you need a waist to articulate it I went ahead and made this version for my first time out.

I figure why not?

I figure why not a lot.

I actually quite like the tie and have persuaded myself it provides a hint of waist because really, a hint is all you are going to get around here.

I'm stalling.

Here is my most definitely grandmotherly body in my Diane. As to how it feels let's just say I already have two more cut out, plus some for the girls:

Of course I made a rash guard to go with this, using the mesh laid over some power net for the side panels with Jalie 3668, I am going to have to shorten it to above the tie but that will be easy to do:

Now if the ice melts on the pools we will be in business ...


Jill said...

Barbara, this looks great! I always buy Lands End suits because they suck everything in and strap it down, feel good and still look refined and not matronly. This looks to be all of those things with the added benefit of your choice of fabric and (probably) a better price tag. The coordinating garments are also classy and practical. Beautiful work! You look great!!

Bunny said...

Barb, your grandmotherly, per you, body looks amazing in this suit. While watching your charges, know that you look great. Can't wait to see the next one, a bright color perhaps?

auschick said...

This looks great! I love it with the rash guard too.

Jean said...

Great suit-and you look amazing! Love the rash guard, and the tie is a good addition. I am going to try a few of these Jalie patterns, they look really good.

Sewing by Shirley said...

This looks amazing! I love your blog post here (keeping it real in the ins and outs of daily life). What a perfect suit and you look smashing in it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful suit! And thanks for the rash guard link - just what I've been looking for, but missed it when I looked through Jalie the other day.

Also, I have to tell you that I got your book yesterday - it's just FANTASTIC!! I've been sewing for 40 years, mostly self-taught with a few lessons from a tailor, and this truly is the book I wish I'd had decades ago. But thankfully I have it now to remind me of those many details I've forgotten. Well laid out, so well written. Truly a gem. I'll certainly put a review on Amazon because everyone needs this book.
-Ellie in Colorado

Catherine said...

What a great looking swim suit! Love the sash with it too. I do have a question. I noticed in the pattern picture it has cups. Are these for modesty or do they also have a genius trick for support as well? Hoping so.

Jean Shaw said...

Are you kidding? You look fab.

And now I have 3 Jalie patterns to order (leggings, kimono, and this bathing suit), along with your book. You're killing me.

Sydney Brown said...

All I can say is WOWIE!!! You look GREAT! And glamorous with your hat and shades.

beckster said...

I haven't worn a swim suit in years because I have been unable to find one I could wear in public. You look fabulous in this suit! I am so impressed. Maybe, I say "maybe" I will look at this pattern. At 67, it is difficult for me to even think about wearing a swim suit, but it would be nice to get back in the pool.

Barbara said...

Beckster I’m 64. Let’s both get back in the pool!

SewRuthie said...

You look darn good lady. PS I pre ordered your book as I am in the UK and its not out here yet. I hope it arrives for my upcoming staycation!

Cindy said...

That is definitely NOT a grandmotherly body. You look amazing. Love that suit!

Anonymous said...

Two thumbs up, one for the swim suit and one for the model!

Vancouver Barbara said...

The whole outfit is a wowser. Tell us about the jacket too. Stunning.

Nursebennett said...

I think you might have convinced me to try sewing swimwear with this pattern. You look awesome and so does the sui!

Unknown said...

Hello from steamy North Carolina, A couple of thoughts:

1. I hope you're self-deprecating talk about your body is just for your blog. Right now under popular posts is your "Before We Fit: how we see ourselves..." Anyway I remember my grandmother bemoaning her body changes and all I could then think was how weird it would be to have a grandmother with a forever youthful body! Anyway today is my 58th b'day and I'm glad that I'm fit to go hiking with my hubby soon, I'm sure your grandkids are thrilled you can get in the water with them.

2. I've never sewn a bathing suit and wondering how difficult it is and what fabrics would be more successful.

Appreciate your blog, Liese

Audrey said...

I think you look great in that swimsuit but not sure what a rash guard is ?

Barbara said...

Audrey a rash guard is something surfers wear so they literally don't get rashes from their boards. For the rest of us they are swim shirts you wear over your bathing suits for sun protection. Because I am in the sun a lot and in and out of the water with the kids I like these because they are easier than continual sun screen layers.