Kitty Hugs

The Elusive Sun Shines! To the Beach, Posthaste!!

Kitty HugsLately, around these parts, the sun has been an elusive and mysterious stranger.  When it does decide to briefly grace us with its presence, people race out into the streets and stare directly into it!!  So, on this beautiful sunny week-end, Kitty and I were finally able to hit the beach, with me sporting my very first me-made beach cover-up and swimsuit, Jungle Boogie style!Jungle Boogie SwimsuitThe lovely and effervescent Leila from Three Dresses Project and the always fabulous Katie from Kaddidlehopper hosted Swimalong 2013.  It was great to learn about styles, sewing techniques, proper notions and history of swimsuits.  And, it gave me the green light to go ahead and sew my very first swimsuit.  You can check out the swimsuit linky party here.  The party goes all summer!Jungle Boogie Swimsuit by the LakeThen, as perfectly timed as anything could be, the very charming Kristin from Sew Classic teamed up with the engagingly crafty Ashley from Craft Sanctuary to host Show Off Your Skivvies.  It is a terrific sewalong that has interviews with designers, links to free patterns, and the goal is to sew and be brave and wear your lingerie, swimsuits and undergarments.  And, it gave me the courage to actually wear my swimsuit for the blog.  A big thanks to both of you!Running on the BeachI sewed high waisted bathing suit bottoms made from instructions and a pattern downloaded from here.  I added the gathered side panels to add some design interest and shape.  I drafted my own pattern for the swimsuit top.

Two Piece SwimsuitThe front of the swimsuit top is a rectangle measuring 1/2 the width of your bust/chest measurement minus approximately 1″ to 2″ (2 cm to 4cm) long and about 5″ wide, depending on how much coverage you want.  The back of the top is another rectangle measuring 1/2 your chest measurement minus 1 to 2″ (2 to 4cm) and about 3″ wide.  The back will be narrower than the front, so that you gather the front rectangle into the back when you sew it together at the sides.Kitty Swims

Swim Kitty Swim!!

Swim Kitty Swim!!

I then cut a lining the same size as the front rectangle and sewed in bra cups for structure.  The lining, with the attached bra padding / cups, is sewn to the front rectangle with right sides together, then turned inside out.  After sewing the top front piece to the back piece, I made a very thin strap and tied it around to cinch the middle and add shape.

Zebra and Giraffe

What do you use to line a giraffe print swimsuit? Zebra print!

I also sewed a coordinating beach cover-up called the Peachy Beachy Poolside Cover-up, a free pattern download from Fabric.com that I obtained hereBeach Cover-upI used a very thin burn-out jersey and the fabric edges rolled like bocce balls down a steep hill!  It was very difficult to flatten them out to sew the seams.

Beach Cover-up Neck Facing

Neck facing with 2″ drop at CF. Do you see how the fabric edges Roll Over? Bad fabric. STAY!!

One issue I had with the pattern and instructions was with the neck facing.  They wanted you to sew it around the neck, and then down the centre front about 2″ in a straight line and turn it to the inside.  I did this first, and it caused a rather unsightly bump in this area that I believe would have been there even with a good pressing and top-stitching.Beach CoverupSo, I re-drafted the neck facing to be the same width all the way around and stitched it without sewing down that length at the centre front.  When I turned it to the other side, obviously less of the beach cover-up top turned under with the facing, so the bottom front opening is actually lower than it should be and sits just above my waist instead of just below my bust.  This still looked good, just a different style.

Kitty in Sunglasses

Finally, the sun! So…bright…

I would like to know if anybody has a technique of how to work the neck facing the way they want it sewn without causing a large bump in the centre front?  Do share if you have any ideas.  Thanks!

I leave you with fabulousness.  Guaranteed. Enjoy: 

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117 thoughts on “The Elusive Sun Shines! To the Beach, Posthaste!!

  1. The suit and the cover up turned out so cute. How did the toggle closure on the cover up work out?

    I can’t believe your cat–it swims! That is amazing.

    • Lol! Yes, he does! Kitty is quite amazing at many things, I have to admit. And, thank you for your compliments! I actually did not use a toggle closure, but used a ribbon trim loop on one side of the front and sewed a button onto the opposite side. But, then, my symmetry ‘spidey sense’ began tingling, so I sewed a matching button to the other side, on top of the ribbon loop. All symmetrical now. :)

    • Thank you Tanya! It’s my first swimsuit so was pretty chuffed when it was actually wearable! And, yes, Kitty is often in tow, wherever I may roam. It’s a good thing.

  2. Your suit and coverup are so cute! I love the zebra lining with the giraffe print outside – lol! And how fun that Kitty likes the beach!

    I’m not sure I understand why they wanted you to sew the facing like that. Honestly, I always try to eliminate facings whenever possible. I probably would have just sewn a bias binding and turned it to the inside and topstitched.

    • Thanks Brooke!! I couldn’t resist mixing up the jungle animal prints! And, yup, Kitty’s a trouper, for sure!

      Oh, interesting, I was waiting to hear your thoughts about this as I could not figure out how to turn it without getting a large fabric ‘clump’ right at the front. I don’t mind facings, especially for fabric like this, so thin where some fabric up front (I also interfaced it) would make it lie flatter. But, I could not figure out how to stitch the facing that extra length down the centre front, then turn it?

  3. Could it be a mistake in the directions? Would not be the first time…makes more sense to stitch and flip and then run the stitching down the center ditch to hold everything flat.Never seen a cat swim and I love the sunglasses! Animal prints and a perfect cover-up…hope the sun lasts longer for both of you! Great job!

    • Thank you Mrs Mole! It does not appear to be a mistake as they even have lines drawn on the bottom half cover-up piece where you are to sew down on either side of CF on the facing and bottom half piece before you are to turn it to the inside. I did topstitch as well, and it does ask you to topstitch, but not before first sewing that 2″ drop down at the CF. So, I don’t know how they turned it without causing a great clump of fabric there The only pics they have are a drawing of the finished product, so can’t tell from that. Kitty is quite the swimmer, loves the water, not afraid of it, at all! And, he needs to protect his delicate eyes from the sun……:)

  4. What a lovely beach outfit. Thanks for the info about making the bikini top… if I can get my hands on some bright purple Lycra I’m going to make a bikini so all I need now is a bottom half pattern!

    • Thank you!! I hope the swimsuit top works out for you, it was pretty simple to make and is pretty comfortable, as well. If you like the bottoms that I am wearing, I have put the link for them in the post, above. She has a pattern for 2 sizes, large and small, however, make sure you take into account the amount of stretch your fabric has. She does not take this into account and I originally made the small, but because my giraffe fabric is actually quite thick (you don’t need a lining with it, if you don’t want one), it stretches much less and the size small was reeeeaaaaaaaallllly tight!!

    • Thank You Lizzy!!! It was my first time making a swimsuit and working with this type of swimsuit lycra fabric. But, it was not difficult at all, this fabric was actually much easier to work with than the thin burn-out jersey. That was a nightmare with the constant fabric edges rolling. I say give it a go and make your own swimsuit for the summer-time!!

    • Thank You so much Janene!! (your comment was in the ‘spam’ folder, no idea why??). But, anyway, fished it out, and so delighted that I did. And, you are welcome for the links and tute, hope it makes sense. I love it when I can find some free patterns to download. Kitty also thanks you for your lovely compliments. He’s quite a trooper isn’t he? There were many dogs on the beach that day as well, and he was not phased one bit!

  5. Both of these items are amazing. The swimsuit really flatters you. I’ve gone and looked up that bottoms tutorial. The cover up is super cute. Can’t believe you took kitty to the beach and he actually swam!!

    • Thanks so much Amy! The swimsuit bottoms are comfortable and were pretty easy to make, even with the added gathered side panels. Just keep in mind the stretch factor when sizing them. The blogger does not account for swimsuit fabric with more or less stretch than what she used, so the sizing may not be correct. I originally made a small, and due to my fabric having quite low stretch, they were way too tight! And, yup, Kitty is a swimmer!!! Most people don’t believe it till they see it. He also likes to play with floating tub toys when I’m taking a bath.

  6. your outfit came out great. Looks really nice on you. Love the materials. Kitty has quite a reputation for special effects. I hope he doesn’t run out of ideas for his next appearance.

    • Thanks so much Tia Dia! I love giraffes too, they always have this ‘way laid back’ expression, no matter what is happening. And, thanks for your congrats! It felt nice to be able to model a swimsuit the same way I’d model a skirt and top.

    • Thank you zibergirl! It actually wasn’t so difficult, once you learn how to work with the fabric! And, glad you like the pics, I’ve just found a picture collage program and was having such fun with it!! I will be using it again, for sure. Thanks for dropping by the blog :)

  7. You took your kitty to the beach on a leash!!! I have been begging my bf to let our kitties come out with us but he thinks they’ll be miserable outside of the apartment but your kitty is so happy! I must try this (after all the necessary training, of course)!

    I also adore the giraffe print – it is so glamorous and your suit looks perfect. I especially love the panels down the front bottom – I may use that idea on my own! And thank you for the lovely shout out. I am so glad we got you to show off your suit as you look incredible and my life would be incomplete without pictures of you and kitty splashing around in the water!

    Also, very strange about the facing for your cover-up. As much as I love jersey, it rolls something terrible and it’s a huge pain. I’m not so sure about the directions as I don’t really understand them – but I must say your fix looks great! (And I must find a large floppy hat like that immediately!)

    • I did take Kitty to the beach. AND, it was not his first time! He’s been pretty much every summer, he’s a beach lover, that one. Kitty recommends it for your cats, BUT, you need to make sure that they will not bolt and are comfortable in outside places and on a harness. Cats will be able to wriggle out of a harness SO fast, they are different than dogs, so I would practice IN the house first.

      Thanks for your compliments, I also loved the giraffe print as soon as I saw it, and had to buy it! And the panels add design interest but also help to disguise anything you want disguised and really ‘fit’ the bottoms to your body much better as there are gathers there instead of just a flat, smooth front.

      This jersey is not recommended for somebody with no patience. Honestly, it took hours to straighten it out to be able to line up the raw edges to sew a seam.

  8. Great job on sewing the swimsuit and the cover-up!! Of course, you look terrific in it. I still have not figured out how to handle the annoying curving edges on knit fabric. Maybe one day it’ll hit me.
    Amazed that Kitty let you take her even near the water…

    • Thank you Samina! I did hear about first soaking a very thin, or slippery and delicate fabric in starch and/or gelatin first to help stabliize it, I wonder if that would work for thin knits that roll as well? And, yes, Kitty not only let me take him to the water, but he loves it! Doesn’t mind getting wet, at all.

  9. what a fabulous bikini, I love the zebra inside… is there anyway it could be reversible? 2 costumes for the price of one!
    And I am very very impressed at beach going, sea swimming kitty!

    • Thanks so much! I did think about reversible, but, (I don’t know if you can see from the pic of the top in the blogpost), but there is zig-zag stitching where I first attached the bra cups to the inside of the lining, before attaching it to the top front and turning inside out. So, you would see this stitching if I reversed it. Kitty is also delighted you are impressed with his antics!

  10. What a gorgeous swimsuit! I love it. All of these sewists making their own are tempting me to try making one of my own.

    Now I’m seeing these beach photos, I’m reminded of your fab Gatsby project. Please tell me you’ve worn your beach pyjama to the beach as well!

    • Thank you very much! I will be your cheerleader in saying, ‘GO, make your own swimsuit!!’ And, this has actually been the first of 2 whole days in a row where we’ve had blue sky, heat and sun all day long! So, we hit the beach as fast as we could to take advantage of it. I have, however, worn my beach pyjamas to the backyard and they feel so breezy and wonderful, flowing across my skin. I must make something else in that floaty viscose fabric.

  11. I love your swimsuit, great lycra print! And your cover-up is pretty too but Kitty outshined the day I think, brighter than the sun! :) The sunglasses photo is my favourite and seeing her swim gave me a big smile, I’m not sure Harri would appreciate the beach as much, she is unimpressed with the rain right now so our first outside outing had to be postponed.

    • Thank you Mel! And, yes, I knew from the moment we hit the beach that no matter what kind of items I had sewn and no matter what poses I struck and no matter how bright the sun was, King Neptune of the Water Kitties would outshine everything. I’m used to it. At least he lets me pet and feed him. :) I’m excited to see Harri’s first outdoor outing. And, I wonder if this would count towards Indie Pattern Month? The bottoms are taken from another blogger (link in post) and the top was self-drafted by me and the beach cover-up was from fabric.com (free pattern, link in post). If so, please feel free to include it in your links when you post!

  12. Great bikini! And I can’t believe that Kitty didn’t mind being put in the water! My cat will tolerate a bath once in a while, but it’s pretty obvious she’d rather be doing just about anything else.

    I wish I had some tips for you on the beach cover up, the only thing I can think is that maybe you didn’t clip some corners or something quite far enough? I know I always struggle with that because I’m always afraid it’s going to fray or I’ll accidentally go just a teeeeeensy bit too far or something….so then I end up having to flip it back out and reclip.

    • Thank you! I know, most folks do not believe that Kitty is a swimmer till they actually see it. He is part Bengal an asian leopard-cat, and these cats actually LIKE water??!! It’s great fun, more like having a little doggie to take to the beach. :)
      And, you may be correct as I did not clip into the areas that would have allowed the fabric to lie flatter once I turned it! Probably should have clipped it right to the seam-line at the sections where the sewing started to travel down that centre front piece. I didn’t clip at all, since I tried it, didn’t like it, so immediately cut a new facing with the different shape. Thanks so much for your tip, much appreciated!

    • Thank you Laura! Zebra print seemed the obvious choice to pair with giraffe. I saw the standard plain beige lining, as well, but it just didn’t cut it for me. Luckily, the giraffe print fabric is thick enough that the dark stripes of the zebra print do not show through on the white areas.

    • Thanks Shannon! I couldn’t believe I found the giraffe and then minutes later the zebra at the same store! Yup, Kitty’s a beach bum. He does not mind the water at all and really loves exploring the outdoors!

    • Hee hee hee, I couldn’t resist putting the sunglasses on him. They are for photo-op purposes, as he wouldn’t keep them on, but the rest of the pics are for real!! He actually is swimming! And, thanks very much for your compliments, Ashley!

  13. I love your swimsuit! You’re looking great :) And Kitty is so amazing, he’s swimming! If I’d try that with my cats they would skin me lol. You did a wonderful job on those pictures as well, and the additional giraffe and zebra are so cute.

    • Thank you Elise! I used Ribbet for the photo collage lay-outs although notice that the program you told me about, Pixlr, also has collage options. I’m loving the different lay-outs you can get, it makes looking at the pics so much more exciting.

      And, Kitty definitely rocks his own world with his swimming ability! My first cat, Aquene, would also have my hide if I tried to make her swim, but Kitty loves the outdoors!

    • Thanks Katie! Was exciting to sew my first swimsuit. And, I love the look of the beach cover-up in the burnout, but not the fiddliness of sewing with it. Kitty is a brave soul, indeed!

  14. Oh my God I love it! I especially love that you lined it in zebra. And you took Kitty to the beach! My cats would scratch my eyes out if I tried to get them to swim, but Kitty looks like a natural. So cool!

    • Thank you, my dear!! It seemed the natural choice, to line in zebra, of course. :) And, Kitty surprises us all with his antics! He is not afraid of water, dogs, the car, stranger’s homes, I’ve even taken him shopping a number of times, he picks out his own toys and treats!

  15. Great job! Way to conquer your first swimsuit! (I’ve yet to do that, and I’m in awe of your bravery both making and modeling it) You look properly model-esque, as does Kitty ^__^ It’s so awesome that you can take her to the beach! Having endured three baths in two days, I think Lola would plot serious revenge on me if I tried that on her, and Hutch acts like the tiniest bit of water on his toes is burning acid LOL.

    • Thanks Amanda! Good to have you back! Model-esque, hee hee hee. For me, not so much, but for Kitty, oh yes!! He’s a handsome devil, that one. And, I know what you mean about cats and water; for most cats, it’s an indignation akin to being set on fire. But, Kitty is not most cats….

  16. Nice lookin’ pics! It looks like you and kitty traveled all the way to Corfu for the photo shoot. And I hope kitty didn’t think that sandy area next to the lake was an extremely large litter box…

    • Thanks!! I’ve just discovered several free online picture collage tools that really help make your pics look interesting. And, we did travel to Corfu, just for a week-end trip!!! Ah, kidding. But, in my mind, we were so there. :)

  17. I love that you took Kitty to the beach! And that you have a cat who likes water. That is pretty much the best thing ever. In fact, the first time I read this post, I don’t think I actually noticed much about the bikini, I was too distracted by Kitty. However, on looking again, the swimsuit is awesome too! I love the print!

    • That’s the first thing my brother said when he remarked on the post, “Oh, great post of Kitty swimmimg, he looks so cute!” ‘Ya, ummm, I made beachwear and junk…’ Lol. Kitty does have that affect on people, a spotlight stealer all the way. Thanks for also noticing the suit and for the compliments ;)

  18. Well of course you know I like that fabulous bikini. Animal prints rock! Kitty was pretty cool too. Me & The PussyCats also like the water :). Great location for taking pictures.

  19. Yay! I’m glad the swimsuit worked out for you. It (and you) look great. You look so tall! :)

    I am jealous of Kitty. Lucy hates the harness and always has. She either lies down and refuses to move or wriggles out of it. No beach for Lucy!

    • Thanks Andrea! I feel very tall, so does my neck. ;) Too bad Lucy doesn’t like going for outdoor jaunts. Kitty has wriggled out of many a harness, there really is no way of keeping them in once they want to get out!

    • Thank you so much! Kitty and I are thrilled to share with you and thanks for stopping by the blog and appreciating it! I was so excited that it was FINALLY sunny and bright out for the photoshoot as it’s been so grey and rainy.

    • Thanks Charlotte! I am pretty thrilled with the jungle animal prints. My tattoo? Well, kids, it was many moons ago, in Banos, Ecuador and completed by Carlos. It celebrates the ‘circle of life’ and has representations of plants, animals and humans, as well as the ‘lines’ that depict earth, fire, water, air. It is so faded and blurry now, not currently in fine form.

  20. Sooo…much as it pains me to say it, Walnut might have to concede the best cat in the world title to Kitty, because I’m pretty sure those pics of Kitty swimming are the best thing I’ve ever seen! Walnut loves watching water swirl in the bathtub or toilet, but panics when he himself is in it. And don’t even get him started about harnesses!

    Oh, the swimsuit is really cute too ;)

    • Heee hee hee. Kitty and I both giggled when Walnut conceded the ‘best cat in the world’ title. Even I love looking at these swimming Kitty pics and I was actually there!! Kitty is willing to share his great title, (mostly, he just wants all other cats to concede, then he is more than happy to share…LOL).

      Thanks for also noticing the swimsuit. :) (Note to self: when trying to blog about a new and first-time sewing project, don’t bring along Kitty and snap pics of him swimming….)

  21. WOW! Your swimsuit is just stunning, and I LOVE the cover up. Absolutely beautiful! I cannot believe your kitty cat is calm and actually swims! If I took one of mine to the beach and tried that I would be smothered in scratches in no time!

    • Thank you Carolyn, such nice things to say! It’s funny that Kitty is not afraid of swimming in the lake or dogs at the beach but he hates those boat skidoos and runs to hide in his screened dining tent. I don’t like them either, too noisy!

    • Thank you Kacie! If you wanted to make this cover-up, the link to the pattern is in the blog. Although I still don’t know exactly how to do the neck facing the way they instruct it to be done.

  22. Your swimsuit is so cute! Love the giraffe print! The photos are awesome. Your kitty is totally adorable! I cannot believe that your cat goes with you to the beach. Every cat that I’ve known in my lifetime wouldn’t dream of going near water. That’s a very unique kitty. :)

    • Thanks Becca! I’m happy with the photos, as well. This is an area close to my house and on a sunny day, it can really be beautiful. And, yup, Kitty tags along to many fun places with me! :)

    • Thank you Amanda! I think the gathers add so much to the bottoms, in terms of both design interest and just to disguise anything with the ruching effect they create.

  23. Catja, I just wanted to tell you that when I need a little giggle I go to look at this post. Kitty wading in the water makes me laugh EVERY time! Awesome swimsuit BTW, I’ll go and download the shorts pattern now, thanks for the link! Keep warm!

    • Aw, thank you so much for dropping by our little piece of the blogosphere and sharing that. I can’t tell you how tickled pink I am that Kitty and I can entertain and even uplift you!! I find comments like yours do the very same for me. :) Good luck with your swimsuit bottoms, and even the top and beach cover-up if you decide to try them as well!

  24. For heavens sake, a swimming Kitty, I knew you were special from the moment I stopped by. How fabulous to be together and enjoy the picnic blanket later. I laughed at the one with Kitty hanging over your shoulder and her little legs dangling so relaxed, just cute as could be.

    You have such a fantastic figure! I really love your swimsuit. It reminds me of vintage Hollywood with the classic bottoms and floppy hat. Gorgeous.

    That’s a really pretty location too. I also fancy your sunglasses, very stylish Kitty!

    • Hee, I knew you’d love these Kitty pics! He was completely relaxed at the beach, only thing that spooked him were those water skidoos. Too loud! He even made friends with a pug dog at our picnic. Glad you like the swimsuit!

  25. Your swim-suit and cover up are fab! I haven’t tackled swimwear yet, thanks for the tips! A swimming kitty – I have seen it all now – brilliant!

    • Thank you!! Working with the lycra fabric was really not difficult at all! But, working with that ultra-thin burnout jersey was really challenging. Not recommended if you are in a hurry. Yes, Kitty is a swimmer! He still surprises me with his antics all the time.

  26. I really like the swimsuit! I want to make one but am super intimidated! I do have it on my “goal list” though ;) And I seriously can not believe your Kitty swims!!! My cats would lose their minds LOL

    • Thank you so much Amy! I have to say, the swimsuit was not difficult. I think it would depend on fabric choice, some are a lot more slippery, and also style/hardware needed etc. I have to say, I was surprised the first time I saw Kitty enjoying the water (in the bathtub) but now, nothing he does surprises me! :)

      • I’ve used swimwear fabric before to play around with and make a dress – boy oh boy was it slippery and 4 way stretch was hard to deal with. But I have made a dress I can wear when I’m 9 months pregnant – it’s THAT BIG and stretchy! LOL But seriously your cat rocks – get a little bit of water on mine and you’d think I was killing them!

        • Lol, well at least you now have some maternity wear at the ready! And, I know what you mean about most cats, it’s like acid being poured on them, the slightest drop of water. But, for some reason, not our super sewing hero, King Neptune Kitty!

  27. Your cat is awesome! I can’t believe it will go in the water!

    I’ve made the HP Beach Coverup 2x and for the 2nd version I skipped the facing, and used bias tape around the neckline instead. It was much less fussy and much neater.

    • Thank you Meigan! Yes, Kitty is a definite Super Sewing Hero amongst his many other fabulous talents. I will try the bias tape next time. I found the instructions way of putting in the facing with the fabric going down a few inches at the bottom, to create this large bump that was very unflattering. So, I took it out, re-cut a regular facing (same width all the way around, interface it, and that was worked out just fine.

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