I'm feeling brave. I wasn't sure whether to share this or not, but I'm really proud of how it turned out and I worked really hard on it - plus I'm sure my body isn't the worst thing on the internet!
I used the Coralie swimsuit pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.
I looked at many patterns before settling on this one. I chose this as there are lots of beautiful versions on Instagram on a variety of body shapes, so I could imagine it on myself.
Tilly's patterns always have excellent instructions, so that really swung it for me as sewing knits isn't my strength!
There's a few options for this swimsuit so it's easy to customise to your tastes.
You can make it as an all-in-one or a two piece. The bottoms can be either high or low waisted and there's optional ruffles for the neckline and the bottoms.
If you make the one piece you can choose low back or a slightly higher back and add a built in bra - a really nice detail.
I may make the all in one version with built in bra at some point.
Get the pattern here: https://shop.tillyandthebuttons.com/products/coralie
Fit and adjustments
I chose to make the size I matched up to in the body measurement chart.
If making again I would size down the top as I had to take it in slightly, and size up the bottoms as they are a smidge tighter than I'd like. I've got extra roundness to my lower tummy thanks to two c-sections, so I need a little more room to accommodate it. The pattern includes elastic sewn around the waist seam, but I removed it as it made the waist uncomfortably tight - it fits much nicer without it.
The straps turned out to be too long when I tried on the top, and I removed 4" in total from the length. This was tricky as I'd basically finished the top when I realised - I unpicked the binding, elastic and ruffle at the shoulder seam and made a new seam through all of the fabric, then re-folded the finding and joined the elastic back together. Not ideal, but it looks ok considering!
This super cute swim fabric was from Blackbird Fabrics, you can get some here: https://www.blackbirdfabrics.com/collections/swimwear/products/mini-buttercup-recycled-nylon-swim-tricot-black-liquorice
I also used their swimwear lining fabric, which is a lighter weight than the main fabric, very stretchy and feels lovely and smooth against the skin. It's also cheaper than the main fabric so brings the project cost down slightly.
For the sewing I used Gutermann Maraflex thread and a straight stitch on my machine - the thread itself stretches! This made the construction so much easier in my opinion, than using a zigzag stitch or overlocker.
I bought the Maraflex thread and rubber swimwear elastic from Hey Sew Sister, find them here:
They also have some gorgeous swim fabrics in stock (I ordered mine before summer hit the UK!)
Have you made swimwear? I found making this much easier than I anticipated - I tried making another pattern last year and it was a huge disaster!
I think tools have a lot to do with the success of this; the Maraflex thread and the rubber elastic made it so much easier!