Thursday, September 8, 2011

I am not happy with this pattern.

I want to begin this review by saying that I love Kwik Sew patterns.  I have made many, many,many of their patterns several times over. Of the 33 patterns currently in their activewear section,I have made 14 of them.  Of the 20 swimsuit patterns in their roster, I have made 5 of them.  I am not a stranger to sewing with lycra, elastic, or a serger.
That said, I was not happy with my results of this pattern.  I made it three times, for my two daughters and myself.  We are different shapes and sizes.  But we all had issues with the fit of this swimsuit.  Two of us had gaping in the underarms and one had problems with the straps constantly sliding down,  I was very accurate in my cutting and measuring but still there were problems.  

Kwik Sew 3779 reads "Swimsuits have lined front with gathers at side and center seams and leg openings finished with elastic. View A is strapless, has shelf bra lining, double flounce in center front seam, and top edge is finished with elastic. View B has V-neckline, lined upper front with gathers for bust, low cut back, and neckline and armholes finished with elastic."

I made view B three times. Yes it did look like the photo on the pattern envelope.

The instructions were clear and easy to understand.

You can see the gaping under the arms.

This one is mine.  I shortened the elastic around the arm holes by 2 inches.  I also cut the suit on the crosswise so the stripes would run vertically.  The stretch was greater this way too.

I wish it looked like that on me.

 I liked the gathered front to help hide a less than perfect figure. 

 I did not enjoy making this pattern due to the incredible amount of basting. Basting lycra!  You need to have a good quality lycra to be able to baste and gather 3/8" seam allowance otherwise the fabric will roll and curl.  Years ago,(1980"s) I made a very similar style with a McCalls pattern.  I don't remember gathering but using clear elastic instead.  I had fit issues with all three suits.  At first I thought it must be something I did wrong.  So I made another.  This time I cut the elastic a little shorter.  The fit was better but still not quite right.  The third one is the best of the bunch as I tweaked it a little more.  But I am still not happy.  I have never had so many problems with a Kwik Sew pattern as I have with this one.

 I took one of the suits apart (not an easy task) and shorted the elastic around the arms.  It helped the fit quite a bit.  

I have contacted Kwik Sew concerning my problems with this pattern.  To date I have not received a response.  I would not make this pattern again or recommend it to anyone.  I am extremely disappointed in this pattern.

As you can tell I am not happy.  

Instead I will focus on some information about sewing with lycra.  I always use  weights on the pattern and cut with a rotary cutter.  You need a good sharp blade.  
I like to use a 4 thread stitch on my serger with wooly nylon thread in the upper looper.  This will give your seam stretch and strength.

I always apply the elastic with the serger.  Run the elastic against the edge of the blade.  Use a long stitch length to decrease bulk.

When applying elastic to the legs, the pattern tells you to apply it flat in the front and gathered in the back.  You still need to stretch the elastic in the front slightly.  The tension allows it to lie flat and not ripple.  I always try to do the front first, then pull what's left to fit the back. 
Top stitch with a stretch twin needle .  A new trick I just learnt from a Sandra Betzina DVD is to hand wind wooly nylon thread onto the bobbin.  This worked so well.  It gives the top stitching so much more stretch.

I think this might be my best top-stitching ever.

We don't have a beach, but I love this sign my husband made to hang outside the side door.  It directs you to the pool.  Those are junipers not palm trees.

Thanks for dropping by. 

Your comments are always  welcome.

Partying at 

sew many ways


Andrea said...

Janlynn, I admire your perseverance, despite the issues with the pattern. They are all beautiful suits, and I love the gathering on the torso. Even in rtw though, that type of back & shoulder strap is a style I've never worn successfully.

Question - do you prefer double needle topstitching over a coverstitch?

Etcetorize said...

That's too bad they don't fit, all of them look so great on the mannequins. I have a bathing suit on hold at the moment on my work desk and will definitely use your tips if I ever pick it up again. Thanks!

Pamela said...

It amazes me that you made these--so professional. They look beautiful to me, but I agree that fit is important. I think it's great that you contacted the company. Your work with their patterns gives a validity to your complaint.

Kara @ Mine for the Making said...

OH MY WORD! How cute are these suits!!! The polka dotted one is my favorite. I just love the vintage looking one pieces so much!!

Great job! Thanks for linking up this week!

julia said...

What a great review, even if you weren't happy with the outcome! Thanks for the great pics, the insights. I'm sorry such fabulous workmanship and fabrics didn't leave you with suits you feel good about. Thanks for sharing the learning!

Bunny said...

Its clear you really know how to sew a swim suit. The suits are all gorgeous and I would buy anyone of them. It is unfortunate about the fit issues, however. What a bummer!

Kim @ Cheap Chic Home said...

Goodness, Janlynn, if you can't get the pattern to work right, no one can! It's a shame to spend so much time and effort and not have the suits turn out the way you wanted. You do such beautiful work, I haven't attempted a bathing suit since sometime before lycra even was invented. And, I've never heard of wooly nylon thread--will you ever communicate with me again?

Sew Country Chick said...

You did a beautiful job Janlynn. By looking you could never tell you had problems with the pattern. The fit is excellent now! Thanks for sharing at my link up. I see I have to fix my button html!

Shelly said...

I don't think I have ever seen anyone make a swim suit before! WOW! It is a shame that you were not happy with the fit because they are brilliant.

Shelly X

Michelle said...

I am just super impressed with what you came up with! I would have surely thrown it across the room before I made even one. But that is me LOL I am visiting from Mine for the Making and I am a new follower!!

Hope to see you around soon!
Have a great weekend!

donatella said...

how about room & board for a week and you teach me how to make this stuff?
i bought a serger and got intimidated and never used it... go figure.
you might not be happy, but still, looks like perfection to me. and yes, that top stitching was A++

DeniseAngela said...

It's too bad about the problems..... they look fab on the dress forms! I hope to try bathing suits for next summer so your review is very imformative!

Summer Flies said...

Oh my! I have just found your blog and I'm sure am glad (I think)... because I have bought this pattern a few months ago (winter in Australia) to make for the summer. I have red lycra and now I am afraid. I've only sewn two swimmers for my little boy (7) and they are ok when you are 7 but I don't need any more hassle than I am going to have naturally. I am grateful for your review because if it doesn't work out too well I can blame the pattern. Yours look fabulous and even tho I love the polka dots; the tangerine one is my favourite. Wish me luck