I used McCall's #M5400 to sew a bikini for myself. The pattern is marked $16.95, but I got it for $6.95 at Walmart (all McCall's patterns are the same price there, $6.95). Too bad I didn't think to get it at JoAnn fabric last week, since McCall's patterns were only $1 last week.

I used style "C" for the top and "F" for the bottom. I followed the size chart on the envelope, and while the pattern size was significantly larger than my usual clothing size, the pattern did fit true to the measurements. When I held the pattern piece for the bottom up, it seemed like it would be impossibly small, but the finished product fit just fine. I'm not sure how that worked, but I'm glad.

This was the first swimsuit I've attempted to sew, and while I wouldn't recommend it as a sewing project for a beginner, it was a simple enough pattern that I felt comfortable using it for my first swimsuit. There was nothing complicated about the pattern, the trick was working with the stretchy fabric.

One good thing about the pattern was that it called for a lot of basting. With the slippery, stretchy fabric, I think that really helped a lot. The band on the bottom of the top piece doesn't lie completely flat against my ribcage like it shows in the drawing on the package, but then the drawing shows a woman with a B-cup chest. Mine will lay flat if I fasten it a little lower than I'm used to. It's a minor quibble, and since I don't know what alteration precisely would fix it (all I can think of is a little bit of interfacing along the front of the band between the fabric and the lining) I'm not going to mess with it. It fits 96% well, and that's better than a lot of off-the-rack suits, so that's fine with me. I think I'd have to pay at least $80 to buy a suit that fits better, so this turned out to be a bargain.

I took me two evenings to sew. The first I made the top, the next I made the bottom. Someone with better sewing skills could probably finish it in one day. Or they could cut it all one day, then sew it all the next.

The pattern has two more types of tops, and two more types of bottoms, and I might decide to try them in the future. Or I might just stick to this same pattern since it's relatively flattering on me and try it in a different fabric.

I used the stretch velvet since I had purchased a red terrycloth bikini last year, and although I thought it would be all bulky when it got wet, it wasn't, and the slightly textured fabric turned out to be flattering. I didn't see any thin terrycloth when I was shopping this time, so I decided to take a chance on the stretch velvet. It's wash and dry, so that's convenient. I don't know how it will hold up in chlorine and salt water, but really I only need it for this one vacation, so that wasn't much of a concern for me. The color is nice, it even looks good against my pasty-white skin now, so it should be even better once I get what passes for a tan on me (ie normal skin color).

Bottom line: I recommend the pattern. It wasn't too difficult to sew, the fit is true to the measurements, and there are enough variations that everyone should be able to find a cut that flatters their figure.

Here's a photo of the suit

Here's a photo of the suit on. It's meant to highlight my pregnant belly rather than model the suit, but you'll get the idea. I was happy with the fit.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.