The first step in making the Grow With You Maternity Swimsuit is to alter a pattern. I used one of my own drafted patterns that I perfected in my college swimsuit class, but I’ve made it easy by finding a couple of swimsuit patterns that you can easily use. You could even draft your own if you’d like. Basically, you need to find a swimsuit pattern that has an empire line in the front.
The first one on the left is a FREE swimsuit pattern from Burdastyle. I’ve used it before and my advice would be to make a mock-up or two because it’s a short torso pattern. You’ll also need tips to sew your own swimsuit.
The middle one would work just fine, if you don’t use the dress pattern.
The third one would only work if you used the halter pattern.
Once you have your pattern, you are ready to begin. Start with your lower torso front and back pieces.
Straighten out the waist of both front and back by drawing a straight line from bust to hip. I did this because I’ve found I’ve lost my waist. It also gives you side room to grow.
Do the same on the back
Measure the length of the center front of your front piece. Mine measured 14″. Measure yourself from just under your bust to the top of your pelvic bone. If you know how big you get, you will have a good measurement. I guessed at how big I was going to get. Compare the two numbers. Because I wanted to put in lots and lots of gathers, I decided to do a 3:1 ration meaning I’m going to add 2 inches every 1 inch.
Add width to the center front of your front piece. I guessed on this too. I’m going to count on the stretch in the fabric if I’m bigger than this.
Cut on the line you just drew. Add 1/4″ seam allowance to the two pieces you just cut!
Put the bottom piece aside. On the section you want gathered, draw a line in increments that you previously decided. My ratio is 3:1 so I drew an line every inch. Number each piece and draw a line a couple inches in from the old, straight center front line. This is your grainline.
Cut on every line, so I ended up with 12 pieces. Decide how much you want gathered on the side seam of your suit. I only wanted 2:1. I wouldn’t do any more than 2:1 in the side seam. That much is almost too much. Starting at the bottom, tape your lowest piece onto the bottom right corner of a piece of paper. (You may need to tape lots of pieces of paper together if you have a big ratio like me.) Draw the grainline up more than 2 inches. Measure up 1 inch at the side for 2:1 ratio, and 2 inches up in the center for 3:1 ratio. Draw a line from mark to mark, this is the line you’ll match your next piece to. Make sure to match up the grainlines (the two red dots) even though they aren’t going in the same direction anymore.
Keep doing this for each piece, making sure you match up the grainlines. See how the grainline changes direction at each piece? This is because you’re adding more space to the center front then the side.
After you’re all done, you should have a big piece that looks like this. It’s a big curve.
Last of all add a 5/8″ casing the the center front. Then cut out your new torso piece. You’re done with the pattern alteration! Next is the swimsuit construction.
Please, please email me if you have any questions! I want to help you!