Copper Sophie Swimsuit

A while back, I picked up a couple yards of this amazing metallic crackle swimwear fabric (and some coordinating solid colored fabric) at SR Harris, a local discount fabric store, without knowing exactly what it would become. It wasn’t long before I realized it was perfect for the Closet Case Files Sophie Swimsuit, which has a cool, old Hollywood glamour to it.

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Let’s be honest here, folks. I’m outside of the Closet Case Files size range, and that become more apparent in this very fitted pattern than it is in, say, the Kalle tunic. Because of time constraints and the complexity of making this suit, I skipped a muslin and guessed at the adjustments I needed. If I were to make another, I’d make more changes, but overall I’m really happy with the glam gorgeousness of this attempt.

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I cut a size 18 graded to a 20 at the hips, and used the largest cup size for the 18. The Sophie comes with five cup sizes for each pattern size (0-20), and you choose your cups based on the difference between your underbust and full bust measurement. With this, I “should” have cut a size 16 at the underbust with a cup size 9 — but the cups only go up to 5! So, I started by re-drawing the cups to give me some more — very necessary — volume.

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It took a couple tries to get a size/shape that worked. Luckily foam cups are pretty quick to stitch together and don’t take a ton of foam. Honestly, I still don’t love the shape I achieved — it’s a little too pointy — and if I were to make the Sophie again I might either redraft the cups entirely, using a bra that fits me, or borrow the cup pieces from another pattern like the Cashmerette Ipswich.

The only other change I did to the drafting was to cut the elastic longer than the pattern called for in the thighs, because they were too tight as drafted. On future versions, I would also add about 1.5-2″ in length overall and give a little more width at the hips. The instructions also do not give any description of how to finish the top of the bridge between the cups, but I had just barely enough to fold it over at the top and stitch it down.

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What I am excited by, and what really makes the suit work and feel good on me, are the alterations I made to the support up top. Particularly because the cups weren’t a perfect fit, I knew I wanted more snugness in the top.

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So I inserted a self-drafted bra band, which is powermesh with elastic top and bottom. It attaches to the edges of the bra cups underneath the underwire channeling and fastens in back with a bra hook and eye. If I were to make this again, I’d use firmer powermesh rather than the slightly softer, stretchier stuff — which I also used as lining — but it’s what I had on hand!

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The pattern calls for a laughable 3/8″ strap, which I knew would cut into my shoulders. Instead, I inserted 3/4″ elastic into tubes of my swimwear fabric to make wide, firm straps. To give them a ruched effect, I cut the tubes longer than the elastic and stitched a 3-step zig-zag all the way down the center while stretching. I attached them directly to the suit rather than making them removable using S-hooks because they never need to come off.

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Though I can see everything I’d like to change, I do love this suit. I love the way it glimmers in the sun, I adore the way it looks from the back, and I like that it gives me an extra-glamorous option that my swimwear wardrobe was lacking. And, having worn it to a historically gay beach with Morgan on a gorgeous sunny day, I love that it has good memories attached.

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19 thoughts on “Copper Sophie Swimsuit

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  1. It looks so, so, so, so GOOD! I just love it. Your fabric choices are perfect and I’m really impressed with your work on those bra cups. I really love the look of this pattern but I have also avoided it because I’m out of the size range. I might have to give it a try next summer though, I’m all sorted for this summer with my Ipswitch.

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    1. Thank you so much! I do want to try an Ipswich/Sophie mashup at some point, because I like the look of the visible cups but really want to try the fit of the Ipswich (which looks so good on everyone!) We’ll see what next summer’s swimsuit dreams bring me ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Yay! This is such a great swimsuit! 100% fabulous and glamorous. It looks like it fits you really well (no pointy boobs can be seen in these pics) and you made some ingenious modifications.
    Also ps thank you for being out on your blog. I’m not on mine because my grandma reads it. It is so nice to read about other queers who sew. Queer sewing FTW!

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    1. Thank you thank you! I think the pointy boobs are more apparent in person, but definitely not so much that it impedes my enjoyment of it!

      And yay to queer sewing! It has been so affirming for me to hear the experiences of other queer sewists, so I like that I’m in a position to share as well. I don’t know if you’re on instagram, but if you are, you should check out my side project @sewqueer and the #sewqueer tag — so many amazing queer sewists and stitchers!

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  3. you are amazing. all of your creations make my head spin. thank you
    btw, that hat for reading on the beach, is a winner.

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    1. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you! And that hat is my favorite thing I’ve bought all summer — perfect for the beach and for sunny dog walks! It’s from the San Diego Hat Company and comes in a few different colors.

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  4. I love that! The fabrics are great together, and it looks really well-made. I love the ruching on the straps. A recommended 3/8″…? That seems thin for children’s wear, much less adult bust support–

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    1. Thank you so much! I was kind of shocked to see the 3/8″ strap in the pattern — that was never going to be a good idea for me, or many people with busts! Luckily I had just tried out a similar strap technique on a bodysuit and loved it so I knew just what to do.

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    1. Thank you! I’m not sure if my technique was the best way to go about it, but it sort of worked. The first time I tried to slash-and-spread the cups, but I didn’t like the way that worked. So my final technique was basically to re-draw the top and center seams of the two bottom pieces to make them larger, then add length in the top piece accordingly. It took a couple of tries to get the curve sitting nicely (and I would probably still amend it more if I were to make it again), but that way the outside curve (that gets attached to the body of the suit) wasn’t altered, and I could use the recommended size underwire (which I had already bought before I really thought things through, but it’s pretty close to the size I wear in my bras anyway). Most of the added volume is from the center of the cup upwards, because I my breasts are full on top, but that could be amended for a different shape.

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      1. Thankyou. I am trying to figure out how to alter the B cup in a corset style dress pattern to the F cup I need. I traced a well fitting balconnette bra, and the centre and side seams of the two bottom pieces needed to be about double in height, and the top piece needed to be wider. There is no way cut and spread could have approximated that. But what you did sounds like what I need to do. You have reassured me that I am on the right track.

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  5. OMG SHANNON!!!! You look AMAZING!!!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Love these colours on you and glad to hear how you tweaked the Sophie swimsuit to fit you and it’s totally a brilliant idea to blend the Ipswich with the Sophie to get an even better fit. Girl, you look so hot!! Love this one!

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