Swim top

Obon Sewing 2 – Beach top BSM 07-2017-109

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My Sprout Patterns Bikini from last week came with quite a lot of extra fabric.  It turned out to be very useful when I messed up one of the cup pieces and had to recut it… but there was still a load left.

…What to do with it?

I then remembered this pattern from Burda last year.  Bingo!

Here’s a link to the pattern.

I have very sensitive skin – I managed to get sunburnt during a typhoon before!  So I usually wear a t-shirt when swimming anyway. And besides beach cover-ups are very common here in Japan.  Japanese women really try to protect their skin – you always see them with parasols and long gloves in the city, and at the beach they often head to toe covered in lycra.  So I certainly would’t look out of place in this top.

Materials and planning

I had quite a lot of lining fabric left – I over estimated how much I would need for the bikini.  And while there was a good amount of blue fabric left there weren’t too many big bits left.

Lots of extra blue fabric!

With that in mind I traced out the pattern pieces and planned my layout.  I soon decided that having the sleeves and collar in blue and the body in white was my best bet.  

Burda 07-2017-109

Finding a suitable zip was a real challenge – most shops here dont have a very large range and this needed to be an opening zipper.  In the original they show a metal zipper but that just looked uncomfortable. Luckily I found a white plastic one in the end.

Do you really want a metal zipper in your sports wear?

I was originally going to skip the piping around the sleeves as I didn’t have much time before I went away.  But then I wondered if the piping had a important function. As everything else is made of a super stretch fabric, perhaps this woven, non-stretchy piping stops the top getting pulled out of shape?  I wasn’t sure but decided not to risk it.


Having finished my bikini I knew what to expect with this fabric, so basic construction wasn’t too bad, but….


I made this in my normal Burda size, but the fitting was pretty off.  Firstly the sleeves, they were pretty baggy – and this top is supposed to be tight-fitting.  You can see in this picture the original 1.5 cm seam allowance and fitted seam. Basically I just followed the original seam lime with slightly larger seams until I was happy with the fit before trimming off the excess fabric.

Increasing the seam allowance
Increasing the seam allowance

Secondly the upper back:  Maybe I’ve just got narrow shoulders but I often have a bit of gape around the back neckline.  Here though, it was just too much – super baggy when the rest of the top was tight.

Unfortunately I only noticed this after completing the collar and taking the zip.  If I’d noticed before I would have taken some darts up to the neck. Instead all I could think to do was unpick the zip and cut off a triangle of fabric from both sides of the centre back, removing a 3-4 cm section of collar as I went.  This was pretty risky but I figured that as it was stretch fabric even if I shaved off slightly too much it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Instruction problems?

I think this was a translation error or a misprint, but nonetheless a sewer of even my experience should have spotted and avoided this;

The magazine told me to sew the under collar on first, rather than the top collar as you normally would.  You usually do it this way because that allows you to make the visible seam neatest. Sewing down the inner collar later can be a little rough, but who cares?

Here though the instructions said to sew the inner collar right side to wrong side onto the top.  At the time I thought this was a little weird, but decided there was probably a reason for this and just went for it.

However once I had attached the outer collar to the neck line and was trying to pin it down neatly to the front I realised my mistake.  IT was really awkward, bulging and twisting, and the raw edge kept popping out. Pressed for time I just had to make it work, but it looks pretty ugly.  I just wish I had trusted myself.

Collar view
Collar view

Pattern adjustments.

As I was finishing up I had the bright idea to hem the top with some leftover strips of blue fabric.  This I think really ties together the whole shirt.

Then, because I accidently cut the zip a little short and there was a gap at the neck I fashioned a little closing tab with a large snap I’d bought for another project.  This seals up the neck nicely and stops the zip working its way down.

Wearing it out

This is really comfortable to wear!  I love that it matches my bikini and I’m glad I was able to use up the fabric rather than wasting it.  

Unfortunately the white fabric turned transparent when wet – but only to reveal the matching bikini top!  And it really did do its job – although my lower arms got a bit burnt, my shoulders and back are their usual pasty white!  

So enjoy this photo of me completely failing to pull of a mermaid hair flick!



1 comments on “Obon Sewing 2 – Beach top BSM 07-2017-109”

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