Oh my gosh I am AMPED that I have a homemade training suit. Particularly because the next one will be EVEN BETTER. I think I’m going to make future suits in some Spoonflower print (of my own design?? Get some illustrator practice?), because Econyl hasn’t really made it to the home sewing market yet, and I’ve yet to come across deadstock. Which is also to say I didn’t source ethically for this suit; I just got a discount bit of swim from Blackbird and lining from the local Fabricland. I have plenty more of both, so more swimwear will be made from each, but probably not another training suit, as this is a little lightweight for the level of wear I hope it will see (and for my tastes generally).
So, this suit! This is the Spring Racer by the extremely fashionable and extremely good at swimming Debbie Iles of Lily Sage & Co. Both these qualifications gave me great confidence in making this suit. I got a pleasant surprise off the hop, in that, having a swimmerish body, I fit directly to a straight size in the Spring Racer, which uses Debbie as the block. Normally, my hips end up in a size or two smaller than my waist. What a treat!
Overall, I really like the fit of this suit. I’m not a huge fan of spaghetti straps on myself aesthetically, but for practice I don’t mind them at all. The butt/leg cut is bang on for me, and my very mildly tweaked back suits me nicely. The only place that’s really off is the center front, which has an odd little bit of bunching. I have no idea how to fix this, so I hope someone can help me figure it out! Or that I can independently.
In fact, the slightly tweaked back was my attempt to address the bunching, and it helped some. The straps as designed should just meet at the back, as is pretty normal in racerbacks of this style. I ended up crossing mine a little bit, which tugged the folds of fabric, but not enough to resolve the folds entirely. Maybe I should size down at the chest (which would not mean the sizing was off at all - I’m at a highly fluctuating point in my life)?
As for construction, this simple suit was nice to put together. There were a couple places where the instructions sort of changed in detail - that is, attaching elastic around the edges, sometimes it was quite spelled out when one should do the second enclosing fold, and sometimes not, and stuff like that. This led to a little bit of confusion for me, but really nothing that a baste or a little imagining couldn’t get you over.
My actual biggest quibble is with the notions chart - which says how much elastic to use for the leg opening and back, separately, then describes how it will be applied to the other areas. I was tired when I looked at this and ordered too little swim elastic. I think it would make more sense to just list an estimated total, since for a first time project it would be hard to guess what yardage to buy (even if one properly read the chart in the first place!). I ended up using non-chlorine-resistant regular braided elastic for a large part of the project, since Fabricland didn’t have any on hand once I got going.
I need to shorten the bodice on the next one of these to get a more-perfect fit, as I get some wrinkling that will get baggier over time. I always prefer my training suits to start out on the too-tight side to start!
The suit does what it’s meant to - it stays in place beautifully while swimming and diving, without chafing. It feels really comfortable and in-place, at least for the couple of times I’ve worn it to practice. Now I just need to actually get back to training!
Complete side-note… getting live photos of swimming promises to be an excellent training tool - I ended up making these gifs that let me see one motion over and over again to actually understand itand you can scrub through the mini-videos to get a good look at your motions. Just from these accidental training clips, I can see I want to work on narrowing my breaststroke kick (and confirmed what I already know about my fly).
Pattern: Spring Racer by Lily Sage & Co
My measurements: 36 inch bust, 30 inch waist, 38 inch hips
Size made: 36
Fabric: Nylon Swim Tricot - Red from Blackbird Fabric
If there is a next time: shorten bodice maybe 1.5 inches to eliminate body folds, use a firmer swim fabric, figure out those dang center front wrinkles. What to do about that neckline?!!