Bodysuit dress 2018

Hey all, my name is Katie, I live on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, and I’m addicted to sewing underwear and swimwear. Why? Well, there’s only so many dresses, skirts and tops one can own. Plus, when you get the fit right, it’s like angels singing, and you’ll probably never buy RTW ever again. Also you can make your garments as bright or subdued as you like, the possibilities are endless.

I decided I wanted a new one-piece swimsuit and figured that I would attempt to mash together two of my best fitting patterns – Ohhh Lulu’s Romy bra and Megan Nielsen’s Rowan bodysuit.

Ohhh Lulu Romy and Megan Neilsen Rowan mashup swimsuit

Pattern name

and.

Size range

Ohhh Lulu Romy ranges from XS (34-35” / 86 cm bust) to XXL (44”-45” / 114 cm bust).

Megan Nielsen Rowan ranges from XS (34″ / 86 cm bust, 26″ / 66 cm waist,  36″ / 91 cm hip) to XL (42″ / 107 cm bust, 34″ / 86 cm waist, 44″ / 112 cm hip).

What size did you make?

In the Romy bra, I made a Large, and in the Rowan bodysuit I also made a Large, grading to a Medium at the waist.

What are your measurements, height, and body type?

My measurements are 40″/31″/40″ and somewhere around a 36DD bra size. It’s hard to tell as I sew most of my own bras now and the sizes vary a lot between patterns. I’m 165cm (5’4”) tall. I’m an hourglass shape.

What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?

I made a heap of adjustments to combine the two patterns so they would work as a one-piece swimsuit. I’ve made both in the past before, so was already quite familiar with how they are constructed and how they fit on me – which is why I was so keen to use them together.

Romy + Rowan suit mashup

For the bodysuit:

I compared the Rowan front and back pattern pieces to my favourite old RTW one-piece and marked the point where the bra needed to join, added seam allowance and cut along that line. I also added 1cm to the centre front to allow for the zip.

It’s also worth noting that the bodysuit has crotch snaps but I eliminated those and just joined the front and back pieces at the crotch without any adjustments. I cut the front and back pieces from the main fabric and the lining.

Suit lining

For the bra:

I compared my bra pattern pieces to the bodysuit pieces to see how well they lined up. They were pretty close! All I had to do was take about an inch out of the bra back band piece (which I’d already adjusted to be cut on the fold, rather than in two separate pieces).  I cut the back band piece so it was straighter than curved to fit along the top of the bodysuit. There was already seam allowance in the centre front for the seam, which would now have a zip sewn into it. All these pieces were cut out of both main fabric and lining, except the upper cup which isn’t lined (but bodysuit dress 2018 could be if you really wanted to).

Construction:

This was pretty straightforward. The bodysuit pieces were constructed as per the instructions (but sewing the fronts and backs together at the crotch), and then I placed the lining inside the main fabric and basted them along the leg openings and also along the top to make everything easier to deal with later.

The bra pieces were constructed as per the Romy instructions but I then attached it to the bodysuit pieces instead of adding the elastic band to the bottom.

Adding the zip was the most difficult part, but I basted it in by hand first, which made it much more stable. The fabric still wanted to move around a bit, so maybe a starch spray would help for next time. As it turns out, I can get it on and off without the zip anyway.

To finish the top, I used swim elastic and strips of fabric to create binding. I also used binding for the legs, but without the elastic, as they were snug enough already. The straps are also strips of fabric with elastic inside. I made them nice and wide for better support and so they don’t dig into my shoulders.

Bra detail

What fabric did you use?

The fabric is sport lycra from Spoonflower with swim lining from The Remnant Warehouse.

Fabric and notions

What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?

Separately, yes. I love both patterns and have made them a heap because they are nice and easy to understand. I particularly love the way the Romy bra has all the seams neatly enclosed. So combining the two wasn’t too difficult at all, but obviously I couldn’t follow all of the usual instructions.

How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?

Individually, I love the fit of both. I was a bit nervous about going so rogue on them but it worked really well. The bra provides a decent amount of support and shape for a non-wired bra, which is due to the nicely curved princess seams.

I love how the Rowan bodysuit fits my butt and hips. I sew a lot of lingerie and I often have trouble with that curve that runs from the back of the hip down around the butt. I have pancake bum syndrome basically – so there’s often too much fabric along that curve. Rowan hugged that curve without any changes, so it’s a winner for me. I also like how the leg opening is lower.

Front, side, and back views

Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?

I will definitely make it again; we spend a lot of time in the water – both at the beach and in the pool. I like having a variety of swimsuits for different conditions. This one will be great for the beach because nothing is going to move in the surf. I’m going to leave the zip out of my next one, just for something different. I won’t be making any other changes because I’m really happy with the fit.

Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?

Megan Nielsen has a sewalong dress for the Rowan Bodysuit:

I used this tutorial for the binding:

And this one for the strap construction:

Tutorial: Two Ways to Sew Swimwear Straps

Pattern Rating: Please include your ratings at the bottom of your review. (1 is the lowest score, 5 the highest.)

Size Range (1-5)

Rowan: 2 – while it’s fine for me, I realise it’s not super inclusive

Romy: 3 – Goes a bit higher but once again, not super inclusive.

Instructions (1-5)

Rowan: 5

Romy: 5

Both have great instructions.

Construction Process (1-5)

Rowan: 5

Romy: 5

Both are quite straightforward.


Final Fit (1-5)

Rowan: 5

Romy: 5

Both fit my body shape quite well.


Overall Rating (1-5) + Explanation 

Both get an overall rating of 4. I love both patterns and they work really well for me, but an extended size range would bump them up into unicorn status.



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