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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.