Friday, 6 May 2022

Free Pattern Friday: Kid's Bikini Bottoms

Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one . I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. I also firmly believe that pattern designers deserve to be properly paid for their work, so if you enjoy using a pattern and can afford to do so, make sure you support that designer. Some designers' websites offer the option to make a donation, alternatively you can buy one of their paid-for products. If you can't afford to do so, you can support the designer by sharing your project via social media to help draw more attention to their work. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

When I first found this free sewing patterns years ago, I thought "Who would need a pattern for half a bikini?!". Well, it turns out, me! I recently made my daughter a two piece swimming cossie that consists of a top and cycling shorts-style bottoms. Initially the fit of the original cycling shorts bottoms wasn't great and I didn't have a lot of faith in them working out. Plus my daughter has swimming lessons, we live close to the beach AND we have a summer holiday booked with a pool on site, so I felt that expanding the set would be a useful endeavour. And it meant I could use up some of the leftover scraps of this spotty fabric. Lord knows I have enough scraps. 

Big thanks to Treasurie for making this bikini bottoms sewing pattern available for free. To access the sewing pattern, visit the blog post and you should find the download link buried in the text after the first couple of paragraphs. The blog post itself contains quite a lot of information including additional tips on how to use the elastic and sewing with Lycra. However, I really hate blog posts with heaps of pop-ups and imbedded videos, so I'd advise using the instructions in the PDF file once you've downloaded it. 

(image source: Treasurie)

Pattern type:

This pattern is for simple, basic bikini style bottoms. No bells. No whistles. The options include unlined, half lined (with lining at the front) or fully lined, depending on the thickness/opaqueness of your fabric and personal preferences. The pattern pieces could also be used at the basis for making undies. 

Sizing info:

The pattern is generously graded from two years to fourteen years. A body measurements chart is included to make sure you're selecting the right size for the child in question. 

Fabric info:

Lycra or spandex with at least 75% stretch is recommended for this project. It takes very little, so could be a great way to use up scraps from adult swimwear projects. I used some scraps of fabric probably originally intended for dance wear, and mesh swimwear lining. Swimwear elastic is also required. I used rubber elastic which I feel is less bulky than other types. 


Once I'd navigated the annoying pop-ups and downloaded the pattern, it was very plain sailing. The PDF file, which contains both instructions and pattern pieces, is well designed and easy to use. It doesn't include the layers function, however the pattern pages are grouped into two size brackets so you're not wasting too much ink on unnecessary sizes. 

I appreciated the additional tips on handling this tricky fabric, which many sewers might not have worked with before. However, I do think I came up with a better and tidier (albeit more complicated and less beginner-friendly) construction method. I used a kind of burrito method for both the crotch seam (above) AND the side seams (below), which meant the insides were super neat with reduced bulk (*brushes her shoulders off*). 

The elastic I had to hand was narrower (6mm) than the pattern calls for (10mm), so I trimmed away the edge of the leg holes so that the crotch wouldn't end up too wide. After the faff of making the two piece bikini for my daughter, and then a bikini for myself, this project felt like an absolute breeze. The fit is excellent. 

Would I make this again?

Absolutely! Although my daughter prefers the look of the cycling shorts part of this three-piece set, I can definitely see myself reaching for this pattern again to bulk out her swimwear selection in the future. 

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