Project number 4 on my 2013 grand plans was a black and yellow bikini.
I bought a couple of pieces of reasonable quality Lycra off Trade-me (a new Zealand auction site) for eight dollars. There was a blue, black and white, graphic print, and the same thing in yellow, black and white. I used the yellow one to make a circular skirt before Christmas. It was a casual item, shorter at the front than the back with an elastic waist. Yellow really does me no favours, but I wanted an easy, quick skirt to take to Queensland and I made it the night before I flew out.
Despite my reservations about yellow I wore the skirt a lot, and decided that it was a perfect addition to a travel wardrobe for the tropics – flexible fit, never needs ironing and dries really quickly. Knowing that I had a little of the yellow print left, I decided that I needed a bikini to wear with it.
I did procrastinate a little when I got home, but at the beginning of March I was invited to a fancy dress “Caribbean Carnival” evening. Now I’m a sucker for fancy dress – it seems like a great excuse to dress up in a manner that would probably be considered inappropriate at any other time. I little research suggested that beachwear with colour too much jewellery and a bizarre head dress with lots of feathers would probably hit the theme on the head. This was the push I needed to get the bikini done, so I could add the skirt I’d already done and accessories to transform myself into a “Caribbean Carnival Queen” for the evening.
This turned out reasonably well, and I had serious fun with the head dress (a cheap Alice band with feathers, beads and sequins glued on at random). It was it a fun evening, although my limbo dancing clearly needs work. I was also awarded a bunch of roses for the best fancy dress!
Am I the only sewer who jumps into fancy dress with such enthusiasm?
Having done the bikini top, I don’t have enough fabric to make the bottom half, but I have a couple of pairs of plain black briefs that would work fine.
The process of making this was a massive learning experience.
1) Beach wear needs a very heavy weight lycra – I actually sewed this double throughout in an attempt to replicate heavy lycra and I’m still not sure how it will stand up to getting wet.
2) Standard patterns do not provide coverage for anything more than a B cup. The same applies to ready-to-wear of course, and that’s why I wanted to make my own.
3) Finishing the edges with a Lycra fabric are fiddly and if I was doing it again I’d hand tack all the seams before trying to sew them. Lycra slips something horrible and a bikini doesn’t have enough fabric to hold on to while sewing it.
Whether I ever wear it as a bikini, it made a lovely fancy dress, and would certainly do as a poolside outfit.