7.07.2014

beach babe-in'

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Hi Ya'll!! I hope all my buddies here in the States had a great holiday weekend - maybe you got out of the house, made your way to a nearby pool, or park, or beach, maybe there were some hotdogs involved? Some beer? Or maybe, like me, you spent your holiday holed up with your sewing machines and your newest pattern obsession! Nothing like a long weekend for churning out a few handmade goodies! Which of course culminates in an uber awkward photo session, this time on the beach, in a bikini, with some very curious onlookers!

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Some of you that have been around here for awhile might know that I am currently calling the little beach town of Galveston, TX "home". And while it doesn't boast the classiest or most scenic of beaches, there is still a freaking ocean (okay... gulf - smaller waves, but still salty, and a heckuvalot warmer) just a mere 5 blocks from my front door. And I am not one to turn my nose up to sand, sun, and surf. Actually, I luurve the beach. And living here has taught me that fleshing out my beach (and pool) attire with some new, stylish, non-stretched-out-elastic-saggy-butt swim duds is not only fun, but necessary, as these little garments get quite a lot of wear in a season. Which is why I'm always super psyched when I hear that a new swimsuit pattern is on the market! Last year I got my first foray into sewing swimwear with Heather Lou's Bombshell swimsuit (the suit that made waves across the sewing blogosphere!) And this year I felt ready to take on some more swimwear sewing.

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This is Papercut Patterns newest addition to their collection - the Soma Swimsuit (bikini, variation 2). I was pretty intrigued by this pattern when I saw the release of their newest collection, TRI, but I really fell in love, like, hard, when I saw Lauren's adorable stripe-y version.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't seriously tempted to copy every. single. thing. about that suit! Right down to the yellow trim (and Lauren's hot bod!) But, alas, I begrudgingly made myself muster an inkling of originality and began searching the internet for some fun swim fabric of my own.

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My search didn't last too long, however, and I ended up landing on this nylon spandex from none other than Girl Charlee.  For the contrast triangle I went with a light coral tricot.  Looking at the fabrics online this seemed like it would be a fun color combination, but once I got them together I wasn't so sure - maybe black would have been better? No matter though, I still thought they looked good enough to forge ahead, as you can see! I also decided to get the most out of the different color shifts in this floral-y print by cutting the bust cup pieces out of two different areas. I like how this really highlights the style lines of the top. Otherwise, I thought they might get lost in this busy fabric.

I ended up having to draw in my size for this pattern, because my measurements landed me squarely in between an XS and a S. In retrospect, I probably could have gone with the XS, as drafted, for the top - which was only a half inch off from my bust measurement, but you just never know! After all, there is nothing worse than a swimsuit that pinches your fleshy parts too tight! And almost equally as bad is a swimsuit that is so big you lose it altogether every time you dive into the pool or get hit by a wave! So I wasn't taking any chances. And, as a matter of fact, I am grateful for that extra inch I added to the bottoms!

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I was also a bit worried about bust support with this top. Let's get a bit TMI... I have a pretty average sized bust - I wear a 34C (or a 32D, depending on the bra) however, when left to their own devices, my ladies like to point towards the side, or perhaps I just carry most of my breast tissue towards the sides. So my yearning for bust support wasn't so much about lift (although that's welcome too) but more about keeping my lovelies front and center. After reading Lauren's review of this pattern I gleaned that it would be a bit awkward, or down right impossible, to add swim cups. So I started looking for another route and ended up buying some poly laminate foam from Sew Sassy. This is basically the same stuff that swim cups are made out of, just in one giant sheet instead of formed into boob domes. I cut the two bust cup pieces out of the foam, minus the 1cm seam allowance, then constructed my bust cups as indicated in the instructions - which basically leaves you with the cups and lining connected at the center, horizontal seam (all seam allowances neatly enclosed) but the edges all free. Then I slipped the foam pieces in and topstitched them in place along the horizontal seam. The instructions tell you to only topstitch the bottom cup, but I found that without the topstitching the foam created a little 'ridge' - so both the upper cup and bottom cup got the topstitching treatment.

Once again, in retrospect, I probably could have left it out and I would have been fine - or done as Lauren did and just triple the layers for the bust cup - but this does give a nice, defined boob area, and no chance of nipple show through.

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I also bought black lingerie elastic from Sew Sassy, and used some leftover rubber swimwear elastic that I had from last year's swimsuit sewing for all the edges. However, the lingerie elastic was a bit flimsier than what I was expecting (I saw later that they sell bra straps separately, and that probably was more along the lines of what I had in mind, and what the pattern calls for - this elastic is more like what you might use on a camisole) so I decided to get creative and use multiple straps to help hold the top in place. It does the job, and looks like a cool design feature, even though it was a total spur-or-the-moment, 'make it work', kind of decision.

I love the cut of the bottoms on this suit! They're actually pretty substantial, but they're just a touch cheeky! Sexy!

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After taking these photos I discovered that my swim fabric totally changes colors when wet - in this case with under-boob sweat! So classy. Ah well, I've already embarrassed myself about as much as I can by even posting these pictures on the internet, what's a little boob sweat to top it all off?? 

But seriously, if you would have told me a few short years ago that I would be making my own swimsuits one day I would have called you crazy pants. But here I am! And it feels awesome! Also, when I think about how much I spent on materials for this (and I have a TON left over) and how fast it was to sew, and then I look at the price of a good portion of the swimwear out there, I feel like I just cheated the system. Affordable, handmade, swimwear for all!! 

Now to (safely) get to work on my tan... let the beach bummin' commence!

xx

72 comments:

  1. So stinking cute! Love the fabric and color combination. You look great!

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  2. Lookin good! Living in the middle of Kansas, I definitely don't have access to a beach, but I wish I did so I could make an awesome swim suit too!

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  3. What a beautiful design Sis, and the color looks FABULOUS on you! xoxo

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  4. You look gorgeous! I'm making this swimsuit too after seeing Lauren's version, and yours just makes me want to even more than I already did! Hopefully I look just as fabulous as you two ladies in it...

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  5. Gorgeous! I love the print and how you used different parts of it to highlight the lines of the top. You look stunning!

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  6. This looks awesome!! Love the fabric choice, and those black straps are perfect!!! You lookin' sexy! ;)

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  7. Wowzers! You look fantastic in this suit! The fabric choices are great and the fit is fantastic! I was also ispired to try my hand at making a bathing suit after seeing Lauren's versions and so far I've made version one of the bikini but I can't wait to make the version two!

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  8. Very cute! I actually grabbed a woven version of this same fabric a couple months ago, but your swimsuit really makes me wish it was a knit....!

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  9. I always enjoy your posts. You look amazing in that suit!

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  10. So unbelievably cute, the suit and the fabric look so good on you! I'm major jealous of your beach hang also, and if I were hanging at that beach when you were photographing I'd be getting all up in there to try to figure out where you got that suit from!

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  11. You look super fabulous! Totally loving the color combination :) I wouldn't have thought to use the different shades of the swim fabric to define the cups like you did - it works really well here :)

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  12. i have resisted the urge to buy the soma pattern up until now. lauren definetely gave me a hard time, but you may just be the one to tip me over. you look fabulous!! i love the colours, and i really like the idea of the foam laminate.

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  13. your new swimsuit is super cool and you looks gorgeous, sallie! i really love fabrics you choose.. and i wish i have a beach five blocks away, this way i'll have to wait until i get to the sea to take pics of my new swimsuit :)

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  14. Stunning suit!! Much cooler than any you'd find on the rack... Can't wait to see it in person!!

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  15. Girl, you got it going awwwwnnn! Love it. I'm so glad you found a way to add some bust support, thanks for all those tips, I feel like I could attempt it now. Still would like to figure out how to do the same with the one piece. Your soma is so so divine! Especially love the colors and I think the slice of coral in the middle works beautifully.

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  16. Epic work, lady! These are some swish togs (yup, I totally just threw a Queensland word for swimmers in there just in case you wanted some variety!)

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  17. boob sweat.


    i love you.


    this is freaking terrific -- the colors look like three scoops of sorbetto!

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  18. You are SUCH a babe!! Love everything about this... boob sweat and all :)

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  19. Rebecca at Sew PomonaJuly 8, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    Beautiful swimsuit! I love the color combo of the fabrics and the double straps look great!

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  20. you look great. i love everything about this swimsuit! i really want to make it, but like you are worried about the support issue. ive never heard of the poly laminate foam as you suggested so maybe i can give that a go. love this!

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  21. Looks great! I really like the color combinations, and your photos make the beach look pretty darn scenic! I live blocks from the beautiful Pacific Ocean, though you have to get down a 500 foot cliff first, and once you're there is both air and water is 56 degrees and there's fog everywhere... so I need a wetsuit and end up jealous of all of the beautiful swimwear out there!

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  22. Oh heyyyyyyy gurrrrrrrrrl! This looks awesome! So, I'm supposed to be packing for my trip, but now I'm eying my sewing machine, wondering if I can squeeze in a swimsuit make before tomorrow...

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  23. www.tresbienensemble.comJuly 8, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    This is gorgeous! I really love this pattern and the variations that come with it! I haven't ventured into swimwear yet, but I'm building up the courage!

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  24. I literally just printed out this pattern and I'm sewing another swim pattern right now (my first). So exciting! I think your idea for using the foam sheeting was great. So you replaced one of the layers of swim fabric with foam? Am I understanding correctly.
    I always get so excited when you have a new post on your blog. They are all hits, and you are adorable, by the way!

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  25. Nevermind, I re-read and I think I understand now how you did it. Very clever!

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  26. I love it! Nice job.

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  27. Gah! Love your version of this! The black straps, the fabric mix, the way the coral matches your cheeks: pretty + awesome

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  28. You are definitely a total babe in this, and I love the print combination you used!

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  29. Not to be TMI as well, but you have "east-west" breasts. They point east and west. Wonderful term, right?

    I think you did a great job on this. The colors you chose, and have been choosing lately (i.e. red and white stripe dress) are surprising me. But in a good way! I see you as a blue girl. Maybe because of all the dying projects? I like you in these pink, red and coral colors though!

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  30. It will totally make sense when you go to sew it - and you might find a better way to do it! That's just what seemed to make the most sense to me at the time. But, basically you just slip the foam in between the outer fabric and the lining. It's a little fiddly, which is why I wouldn't be surprised if you came up with a better solution! But I basically just pinned and squished it around until it worked! I trimmed off the seam allowances to make it less bulky, but the foam is pretty thin (about 1/8").

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  31. I think the top is actually designed pretty well to give you a bit of compression, which is helpful with support, but I was just nervous. You never know when you make something for the first time, so I was airing on the side of caution. I actually wanted to try to fit it with wires too, but I think that might be impossible (though you could put boning in the side seam). The foam is pretty thin - 1/8" - it gives a nice shape but I don't feel like I'm wearing a padded bra, ya know?

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  32. Oh THANK YOU!! I was honestly getting a bit fed up typing 'swimsuit' over and OVER again!! Haha!! Now I have a new word to throw into the mix!!

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  33. I feel like for the one piece you'd have to rig up a little inner bralette - like maybe cut the pieces for the bikini version 1 and sew cups to the wrong side and some tight elastic at the bottom? I dunno, it's definitely tricky!! I'm just too nervous to go totally without SOME booby support!!

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  34. this looks spectacular on you! love the fabric you used and how you can really see the pattern details. great job! i'm embarking on my first swimsuit (jalie--though i almost went with this one!) today for our upcoming TX vacation. i've never been so nervous to start a project... hope mine turns out!

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  35. Beach babe-in for sure. Love all the rosy hues!

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  36. I love how you cut out the cups in contrasting parts of the print!

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  37. Thanks Mary! Yeah, I have a major soft spot for the Galveston beach! I feel a bit bad for it because it can get such a bad rap (not entirely unjustified - tar balls) but it has its own special charm!

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  38. WOO HOO!!! Girl, you know just the thing to say to win this girl's heart! I have major love for Joanna Newsom. She's the only harp-playing, poetry-crooning, indie babe in my heart of hearts!!


    And I completely agree that these straps are probably not long for this world. They are just topstitched on so I figure they are the easiest thing to replace. I'm hoping they'll at least take me through this season and I can just spruce them up for next year. I'm debating what to replace them with though... self fabric seems obvious, but I find they can stretch out really easily - any suggestions?


    And finally, I'm pretty sure I wasn't getting the side eye because of my babe-itude because I went to the (un)official gay beach to take these photos! It's far less crowded than the other beaches, and mostly occupied by very tan, middle aged men in speedos, cruising. That's not to say those gentlemen can't appreciate a beach babe when they see one, however I think they mostly thought my photo antics were humorous!

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  39. HAHAHA! "Well look it at Miss Thang over there!" I can just imagine.

    What about wrapping swim elastic with black lycra for straps? I know I saw a tutorial on that somewhere...

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  40. papercutpatternsJuly 8, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Wow Sallie, I LOVE your version... you look gorgeous in it <3 Over the next couple of weeks we have heaps of tutorials lined up for making your own straps and bindings, adding support and lots of how-to's, so maybe you need a few more swimsuits for your beach hang out :-)

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  41. Thanks!!
    I'll definitely be tuning into the blog for those tutorials! I actually really want to make a little fleet of Soma's that can all be mixed and matched, so there will be more in my future!

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  42. So cute and you look amazing! I love coral! Great photos, you look amazing, and well done for posing, presumably alone, in full view of the other beach goers. Your confidence knows no bounds (I would just shrivel up and die!).

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  43. Absolutely fabulous! I love the style, and that fabric is amazing. I love the way you put it together. Looks great on you! And makes me miss the sea...just a little ;-)

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  44. You look fantastic! I love your fabric choices. Between you and Lauren, I'm now thinking of sewing more swimsuits. And massive kudos for posting swimwear pics, I know it can take courage.

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  45. Ha! "East-West" breasts! I'll have to remember that term!


    I think I have been wearing some different colors lately! But I've actually got a blue dress in the works, so I haven't strayed TOO far out of my color zone!

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  46. I totally love your fabric choices and the way you mixed patterns to get the panel definition - so clever! ^_^ You look gorgeous, and confident - you make me want to make swimwear! (*gulp*! lol)

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  47. Absolutely stunning! I especially love the print placement and the coral centre piece, perfection. I was holding off this pattern thinking I'd self-draft a suit but you've made me want it even more.

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  48. OK, I love this suit and you look super cute and your tips for sewing up a proper bikini are getting bookmarked for sure, but what I really want to know is: Where on this blessed island did you find a beach that wasn't covered in several feet of seaweed?!?!

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  49. HAhahaha!!! An excellent question!! You will note I was not posing in front of the water! Behind the tripod was a deep, thick, PASTURE of rotting seaweed! Complete with large mountains of it where they tried to bulldoze. I was way down on the East End, and decided this dune-y view was much more scenic.

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  50. Beach Bummin' indeed!

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  51. carrieinstitchesJuly 9, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    You look beautiful! I love the suit, so flattering and I love the cut of the top, kind of bra like which is good for support and shaping. I almost bought that fabric to make a bombshell but have not commited to bathing suit making yet.

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  52. I re-read the pattern instructions and am wondering if I could construct the top, construct the lining and the face them wrong sides together. That way you could slip a bra cup in there. I like their method of enclosing all seams but for me the bra cup coverage and support is important.

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  53. Yes, you totally could. Although I would still go back in and topstitch the horizontal seam because, weirdly enough, I think that gives good support and helps shape the cups.

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  54. I think butt coverage is the most important feature when swimsuit shopping and this one is perfect! Doesn't cut you off at the waste causing yucky muffin top and doesn't cut your cheeks in half which i hate hate hate! Great fabric choice too lady. Big thumbs up from me! ;)

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  55. I love your suit! I like your fabric choices and the double elastic straps! You look fabulous!

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  56. Great looking swimsuit. Time well spent. Ignore the lookers. It's hard enough to get good pictures for the blog.

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  57. WOW!! Your bikini is totally adorable and how HAWT are you?! Just beautiful, and now I am seriously tempted to get this pattern, even though it's the middle of winter here; that's how much you have inspired me! I LOVE the black straps, and the printed fabric is very cute too!

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  58. You look amazing! Love the combo of print and solid you used. I really need to get my mitts on this pattern!

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  59. http://prettyflorals.co.ukJuly 13, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Love it!

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  60. So cute! I really love the color combo, awesome fit!! You will be looking great on the beach this summer.

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  61. I love the color choices! Great job.

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  62. This looks amazing on you and I love the choice of the coral for the contrast...subtle but fun. I made the other two views and they have both gotten a lot of wear (I still can't believe I posted them on the internet, ha!) and may have to copy you now!

    xx
    C

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  63. Wah? Gasp! Fizz! Ding?! - That's my brain malfunctioning from over stimulation.
    How can you be so talented and so damn sexy! Like, is that even fair? God we need to talk about your talent distribution please. Dang!


    Looking mighty fine lady! Love the two piece!

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  64. Sallie!! This is the most amazing make EVER. You did such a beautiful job, and you look amazing.

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  65. I love how you color-blocked the top of the bathing suit! At first I thought the pink and black spotted sections were two different fabrics, but then I saw that the bottom ties it all together so perfectly. (P.S. Thanks for reminding me that I really have to start sewing swimwear!)

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  66. I LOVE the coral contrast to this print. You look ready for several future beach days throughout the summer. Thanks for the link back!


    www.girlcharlee.com

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  67. I love this bikini! The fabric is so pretty! I love the contrast piece in the middle. I just finished my 'muslin'. And I'll be testing it tomorrow. I hope everything stays in the right place :)

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  68. Hi Sallie! Hope you aren't drowning in rain this week. We're drowning in mosquitoes. This is an amazing suit, made up of the prettiest colors (I think the coral instead of black is pretty rad). You lucky swimwear wardrobe girl. I rarely go swimming in Austin which makes me sad because I'd love to make more suits. Will have to vent this creative impulse on more lingerie, I guess. ;)

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  69. I wanted this pattern the moment I saw it. It's great to see it made up on a real person. Love the color combo, love the multi straps, and now I love the term "boob domes" haha!

    And I grew up in Corpus Christi. The beaches there are pretty "meh," too. Texas ain't exactly the Bahamas in terms of beaches, lol.

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  70. omg omg!! I just adore what you've done with this pattern AND your fabric placement... what a gorgeous bathing suit!!! I think the strap placement at the back is my absolute favourite part of this suit - really quite unusual but so attractive. And that beach? I want to be there, right now. Sure beats mid-winter in Melbourne :)

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  71. When we were kids, we said, "Baben Soup" for bathing suit. Your post reminded me.

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  72. I like the pattern that you chose here for the bikini. I really appreciate the detail you did with the color blocking, I think that really made the piece stand out.

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