Down Under – The Blue Bombshell Bikini

Don’t mind the frosty photos. When I took them, it was a balmy 0 degrees. As I write this, it’s -50. So, in retrospect, last weekend was warm! Of course, I wasn’t thinking warm thoughts as I slogged through old moose track in knee-deep snow to get to this location.

When it came time to pack my bags for our belated honeymoon, I quickly realized that I couldn’t go to Hawaii with just one bathing suit. But living in Alaska, where was I going to get another one? It was too late to order anything by mail. Then I remembered my fabric stash. Sometime around 2005, I bought a length of blue flowered spandex blend. I had moved several times, each time packing up the fabric and thinking that eventually I would find a use for it. That fabric’s time had finally come.

I had enough fabric that I was able to make both a bikini and a simple dress. Since I was going to be living out of a backpack for a month, space was at a premium. I chose McCall’s 6074 for the dress, based on its simple styling and positive reviews. For the bikini, I went with McCall’s 5400 because I liked its halter top and vaguely vintage styling.

The bikini was a challenge. I had never made a swimsuit before.  To further complicate matters, I decided to change the construction of the top. The pattern called for a hook in the back with a solid neck piece. I opted instead to make both pieces ties, which meant lengthening the straps and figuring out how to finish the edges. I was excited to finally open my cover stitch machine, but I did manage to make a few mistakes with it. One edge of the halter top features what I like to call decorative stitching. In fact, I forgot and sewed the fabric upside down, putting all the bobbin threads on the outside.  My biggest mistake came when putting in the elastic on the bottoms. I put in one leg successfully, and was patting myself on the back as I put in the second. When I finished, I couldn’t figure out why the second leg was so much more gathered than the first. It turns out I had sewn the leg elastic to the waistband. Because I have large legs and a small waist, the difference wasn’t too great, so I opted to leave it in. It pinches in at my hips in a slightly unflattering manner, thus the coy “hands on hips” poses to hide the waistline. I also chose to insert liner cups into the top. They seem to float around a bit in there, so I have to smooth them out each time I wear it.

Construction of the dress went very smoothly. It’s a simple pattern. The only change I made was the location and technique for the front elastic. I lowered it to hit closer to my actual waist, since an empire style is not flattering on my body. Instead of creating a casing with ribbon, I used a scrap of fabric. During the trip, I ended up creating a tiny gather in the back of the dress with a safety pin, as I decided it was still a bit large.

Overall, I’m quite pleased.

The Facts
Fabric: Blue flowered swimsuit fabric of an unknown vintage. I know I bought it at WalMart sometime around 2005. It sat in my stash for years, just waiting for the right project! It probably cost less than $5.
Pattern: Bikini: McCall’s 5400 (from my stash)   Dress: McCall’s 6074 ($1.99 on sale)
Year: Bikini, 2007. Dress, 2010.
Notions: Bathing suit elastic, elastic scrap for dress
Time to complete: About 3 hours for both. Most of that was for the bikini. The dress truly was a 1-hour dress.
First worn: On the warm beaches of Hawaii
Wear again? Yes, but not in my backyard for winter photos
Total price: Under $12 for both pieces

Author

Mary

It's hard for a girl to stay stylish in fashion-starved Alaska. Mary does her best with one fabric store in town, but the next one is 350 miles away.

17 Comments

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  1. You brave woman! That is such a fun bikini – I always gravitate towards solid colors for… um, appearently not just swimwear, now that I think of it. Anyways! Bikini looks great, I hope you had a wonderful time in Hawaii, and I hope you never have to find yourself bikini-clad in -50 degrees!

  2. Are you kidding me???? You are amazing, snow beauty!

  3. This is so awesome! The bikini looks great and the dress is too cute. And you are one brave lady for posing in the snow! Brrrr…

  4. That picture is awesome. I love it. Bikini in the snow!

  5. The snow! I would not leave the house in zero-degree weather!

  6. What a great swimsuit! I’m glad you also got to wear it in warmer weather. You are so brave to wear it out in the snow. I love that picture!

  7. You should totally do a snow angel in that bikini it’s fabuous.

  8. Your fabric was well worth hanging on to – it looks great in bikini mode and as the dress.

  9. Mary, great photos and that’s braving the cold. Hope you have an awesome trip in sunny Hawaii.

  10. Holy cow – You win the prize HANDS DOWN for the best seasonal juxtaposition photo!
    (It was only about -2C when I took my photo, and I didn’t wander far from my front door. I thought about doing a snow angel for about half a second, then came to my senses because we had had freezing rain on top of the snow, which meant ice angels!)
    The fit looks great on both pieces, and what a great honeymoon escape from -50!

  11. Wow, now that’s braving the cold! Both pieces look great!

  12. Brrrrrrr! Hooray for Hawaii! The swimsuit and the dress both look great!

  13. When I saw the first photo, I was like OMG, it’s freezing cold! I’m sure glad to see that last photo in Hawaii!! The fabric is great for both the dress and bikini, you look wonderful in both:)

  14. You are far, far braver than I ever would be, getting out in the snow in a bikini!!! Yikes!!!! That makes for a fabulous photo though. :-) (And a super cute bikini as well!)

  15. Wow! Much respect for the snowy pics. Great job!