Sewing up the DIBY Amelia One-Piece Swimsuit

I’ve decided that when you start a blog, your first post doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just start somewhere and let it evolve, so here goes! I’d like to share my review of a pattern that I just finished testing and has now released.

I can’t remember the last time I wore a one-piece swimsuit, as I’ve become accustomed to the flexibility of 2 pieces in ready to wear. My bust and bottom are very different sizes. According to RTW, if you are plus size you also have a big bust, however I have a modest C cup (Canadian bra sizing). Looking back now, I think I’ve just never had a one-piece that fit well, it always tugged in awkward places.

The Pattern: Amelia One-Piece Swimsuit
Designer: DIBY: Do it Better Yourself Club
Size Range: Misses 00-20, Plus 14-36
Difficulty: 2/5
What I Made: Size 24 bust graded to 26 waist, A neckline (mid front and mid back), sewn in swim cups
Alterations: adjusted for torso height by 6 inches (3 on each the front and back bodice) per pattern instructions

If you haven’t heard of DIBY, you absolutely need to check them out. One thing I really appreciate is Jessica, the owner, is all about size inclusivity – it is an absolute must in her books. Her entire page and group is about empowerment, support and encouragement.

For the Amelia, it’s a pretty straightforward pattern actually, and I think it’s quite beginner friendly.  I think the difficulty comes from working with a very slippery fabric and attaching the elastic. You could practice on your scraps first to get a feel for it. This pattern can be sewn entirely on a sewing machine. If you have a serger and coverstitch machine, you can use those for parts of the construction as well. I used a triple needle coverstitch for the final topstitch. Remember to use a stretch needle when working with swim fabric.

The grading is fairly straight forward and swim fabric is decently forgiving for size. I do not have to do a full bust adjustment, however as the pattern already include darts at the bust it should be straightforward. DIBY patterns are also known for including instructions for grading and FBA right in the instructions for every pattern to walk you through the steps.

When I sewed up a muslin, I was surprised that I didn’t have enough length in the torso. I’m not very tall, only 5’3″, so I disregarded my torso measurement for height/length. But, even if you’re short, pay attention to that pattern adjustment in the instructions. Your torso might be long for your height, or your body shape may dictate that you need a bit more space. Trust the measurement and grading instructions, don’t be silly like me….oops.

I really liked the full coverage of the suit. If this isn’t what you’re looking for, it might not be the pattern for you. The seat coverage is perfect for me. My husband and I went on a mini getaway the weekend after I made this pattern and I used this suit all day at a nordic spa. I didn’t have to adjust wedgies or pull down the fabric around the bum area which is a huge win in my books. I also like the coverage above the bust towards the armpit. Sometimes tissue in this area spills over and I both don’t like the look, but also it can cause some skin breakdown. I found this suit tucked that area in quite nicely.

A note about swim cups…..they are awesome. When I made my muslin, I didn’t sew in cups and I felt very smooshed in the bust area. Also, there’s the issue of cold water or a windy day, and the inevitable nips at attention, which I’m just not comfortable with.  There are  several different type of cups you can sew in to the lining. I used a pre-formed, seamless, straight bottom swim cup from Bra Makers Supply, which I’m fortunate is local to me. My left cup is actually one size smaller than the right. I could add padding to equal them out, but I don’t think you would have noticed if I didn’t tell you, and like most women – no one has a matching set!  I also bought my swim lining at BMS as the feel, drape and recovery was far better than what was available the local Fabricland and amazingly, cheaper. My fabric is from Ann’s Fabric which is also local to me in Hamilton, Ontario. If you are anywhere within driving distance, I strongly recommend you visit them. Their selection of swim fabric was like being a kid in a candy store – it was incredible! Only a glimpse of their stock is shown online.

Good to know…

  • Use pins when attaching the elastic, clips will slide around and drive you nuts
  • Pay attention to the instructions about where to stretch the elastic a bit more, this helps the suit stay put and not gap at the seat and around the arms
  • Choose a high quality swim lining fabric. If you can’t find one, you can also use another layer of solid swim underneath, however it may fit a bit more snug as there will be more recovery when using two layers of swim
  • Check your fabric for the direction of greatest stretch before you cut, it may not be perpendicular to the grain/selvedge; this was the case with the fabric I chose
  • To figure out where to place your swim cups, I tried on the inner layer made of lining and held the cups up to my bust. I had a friend (my husband) trace the outline of the cups in tailor’s chalk rather than trying to pin them and inevitably stabbing myself. I used a wide and fairly long zig zag to attach them before sewing the inner and outer layers together. Tip – if you don’t have tailors chalk, a small remnant of bar soap will make an easily visible mark that washes out!

Options for future versions…

  • “Colour blocking” with mesh swim fabric such as a v-neck or mid-riff
  • Mixing and matching the necklines ie: low front and low back

I can see myself making at least one more Amelia swimsuit. I don’t swim a lot in the summer, but we do spend time outside, at the lake, or at the beach here and there. The sun and I don’t get along too well, as I’m not a fan of the extreme heat, and I burn super easily.  I tend to hide out in the shade or under a sarong. I always say I have two colours, ghost and lobster.  We are just finishing ghost season – aka Canadian winter.

You can get the pattern HERE – DIBY Amelia One-Piece Swimsuit. This is an affiliate link.

It was just below the freezing mark when I was taking these final photos….sooo cold! We were visiting my parents up on the Bruce Peninsula and my dad was laughing at me outside in a swimsuit. It definitely snowed later that day!

Have you tackled a swimsuit before? Do you often wear a one piece for leisure? Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Cheers, Danielle

16 Replies to “Sewing up the DIBY Amelia One-Piece Swimsuit”

  1. Hi Danielle!! Beautiful swimsuit and great sewing job!! Love the thoroughness of your review. We have very similar body types so it’s nice to see what it actually will look like made up. I am going to get the pattern!! I think I may attrach a skirt under the bodice to make it a swim dress-i like this much better and it looks easy to do. Also is it possible with this pattern to sew in an actual bra instead of swim cups? I need the support as I am larger busted than you are. Again, great job and review!!!
    Diane

    1. The pattern actually comes with a skirted option. Though on a larger body like mine, I felt it would be more of a flounce. But you could definitely easily lengthen that skirt piece to whatever you are comfortable with. As for sewing in an actual bra, I have made bras before and you would need to do a few things to get full support like a bra. The pattern recommends using elastic sewn to the lining about an inch below your bust. Alternatively, what I’d like to try is using a bralette pattern or sports bra to sew into the lining. I saw a swimsuit the other day with a bra band and clasp across the back lined in swim, and it didn’t look out of place at all. I’ll make sure to share if I tackle this!

  2. Thanks for sharing your review of the pattern! I am interesting in sewing a suit when my current suit bites the dust!

  3. I LOVE your new swimsuit – and thought your review was really helpful. I especially appreciated the information about the coverage around the bust area.

  4. I find that hand basting the elastic into place at the cut edge of the swimsuit fabric with water soluble basting thread keeps it in place a lot easier – and once it gets rinsed out to remove chalk marks or tiny bits of thread clippings – nobody knows how you got that turned edge so nicely matched to the elastic.

    DD was on the swim team in high school and would need new swimsuits for practice a couple of times a year, usually after telling me that she had plenty of suits & we didn’t need to pick up one on clearance in July. Possibly because none of the suits in the stores were “the right size” for either me or her…getting one was only going to be frustrating when it came time to wear. She knew I had the right pattern and after two drafts, I had it adjusted to fit her very well – with a racer back to make it easier to swim lots of laps in.

    1. That’s a great tip about soluble basting thread! I learned bra making from Beverly Johnson, and she almost never uses pins, wash away tape or basting….so I think I’ve picked up her habits when it comes to attaching elastic. I’ve never used the soluble basting thread, does it break or slip? Or is it quite easy to work with?

      1. As long as your hands are dry – it’s like basting with any plain white thread. If you live in a humid area or someone might absent-mindedly wash random things for you, to help (cough – my dad – cough) – then sew it up as soon as possible.

        I usually get around to sewing it in two days or less. I’ve never broken a needle or jammed a sewing machine because the needle hit the water soluble thread. I have had so many broken needles & bent pins that I have lost count. I once had to have the sewing machine taken apart & put back together because the needle hit a pin in several layers of fabric (belt loop in bathrobe) and the needle was knocked out of place so hard that the needle no longer got all the way down to the presser foot – much less the stitch plate, and certainly not down to the bobbin to form a single stitch.

  5. I love the details you shared in your blog. Great start! I would like to follow your blogs. I think I can learn from you and be encouraged too! Thanks!

  6. You look great! This fabric is so pretty too. It is indeed a blessing to be able to find the supplies you need without having to pay exorbitant shipping rates.

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