This year has had a bit more of an athletic feel to it over at Sofiona Designs. We started out with the Tamarack Tights which paired nicely with the Cattail Tank (or dress). Then we added the Spruce Skirt/Skort and a cute/casual cropped hoodie (the Clover). The Sturgeon Swimsuit follows that same trend by offering streamlined details, shape and fit all while providing good coverage.
The options on this one are design related and give a different look to the front of the swimsuit.
A simple/plain front is the quickest option (View C).
Add a lower panel for a different look and to tie in a coordinating fabric (View B).
Or use the pieced lower panel to add a visual "stripe" to the swimsuit and mix-match various fabrics (View A).
The back of the Sturgeon features crossed over straps with a separate horizontal strap for colour/fabric blocking.
That horizontal strap also meets up at the side seam with the front lower panel, offering a cool opportunity to blend fabrics/colours from the front to the back of the swimsuit.
This pattern uses a fair bit of swim elastic to help add structure and continued support to the straps. We've created this short video with some important tips for using swim elastic in swimsuits. The basic tips include:
- Pre-stretch your elastic before cutting
- Don't stretch elastic when pinning it around curves. Keep it as even with the seam size as possible.
- When topstitching do not stretch out or straighten the curves. Instead feed the swimsuit through the machine along a curved path.
- Use a longer stitch length to topstitch. Small stitches can stiffen or stretch out the seam.
One thing that we did not cover in the video was stitch length when topstitching. I won't go into great detail here but give just a couple things to consider. For those that are using a coverstitch machine, make sure that your stitch length isn't too short and that your tension isn't tight. With the long lengths of elastic and topstitching, if the stitches are too constricting, you'll end up with popped stitches when they are pulling the suit on and those straps NEED to be able to stretch. A few of our testers really preferred a zig zag topstitching method for their suits. Especially for the little kids that are less likely to be careful when pulling their suits on. For those using a zig zag method, make sure the stitch width is almost as wide as the elastic. You want to catch a good amount of the elastic in the stitching.
OH! And don't topstitch the horizontal band! That band is already drafted to hug tightly and if it is topstitched, it will become constricting!
Because of the fitted nature of swimsuits they just naturally hug kids shapes and curves. It's definitely a garment where things like longer/shorter torsos, sway back stance, toddler tummies, etc. can become noticable and affect fit. It's because of this that we always recommend doing a quick muslin first (this can be done without adding (or wasting) the swim elastic just to get a general idea of the fit on your particular child).
So, let's talk more about fit here because the fit on the Sturgeon swimsuit is not entirely "typical" when it comes to many PDF swimsuit patterns. Both the Narwhal and the Sturgeon suits are created with more negative ease than you may be used to. We have determined that we prefer a more sporty, fitted swim style and this is one reason why we encourage you to try a muslin version first. Your child might be one of the ones that will find it more snug than they're used to and we all know kids can be stubborn about what they prefer!
It may be interesting for you to know that during testing we had about 60 suits made on a large variety of kid sizes and fit preferences. After our first round we added a bit of ease because enough of the kids commented on it feeling a bit tight. With the final adjustments, two of the kids still found it a bit more snug than they preferred and a couple found it almost a bit loose for their taste. Overall we landed on the middle ground while still keeping our overall fitted style intact and keeping personal preferences in mind as well.
On that note, I'm going to share a little tip for when you're searching through the FB groups looking for information about new patterns. This is something that has made me cringe over the years as I've seen this all too often. You'll see questions like "Does it fit true to size?" or "Does it run small?" These are real concerns that sewists have because we all want to have a good final garment. Those questions, however, leave way too much room for personal interpretation on size and preference of fit. "It was way too loose on Sammy!!" you might read before running to cut out 2 sizes smaller. But consider that the answer could very likely be more about what Sammy PREFERS wearing and not really about the size. Now, maybe it really was drafted badly, I won't speak to those possibilities, but take the time to read into the answers a bit. Instead of asking those "Is it true to size?" questions, ask what the intended fit is and use the finished measurements chart where available. Remember, we can talk about "right" or "wrong" fit and really it comes down to what the designer had in mind when they drafted the pattern.
We hope you enjoy your own copy of the Sturgeon Swimsuit and share all your makes with us on IG and in the Sofiona Designs Facebook fan group! #sofisturgeon #sofionadesigns #sturgeoninthewild