The Bombshell Swimsuit: Pear-Shaping the Pattern

Finally, I’m starting my very own Bombshell Swimsuit!

bombshell swimsuit

Are you tired of seeing this one yet? Hope not, because it’s my turn to make one!

I made some notes as I went, so I’m posting them in case they’re useful to you, and also so that I have a record of what I did! It’s nice to have notes and photos of the sewing process as it’s easy to forget once the garment is completed.

First off, I assembled the pattern.

Paper-saving tip: if you have your computer near enough to your sewing setup to read the monitor, skip printing the instructions. I only printed the pattern pieces, and I’m going to read the instructions off my computer. Plus, the photos are in colour so it’s going to be easier to follow that way.

figure out swimsuit size

Next, I figured out my size. Turns out I measure for the size 6 bust, the size 8 waist, and the size 10 hip. No surprises there! And while it’s easy to trace from line to line, these pieces are seriously gathered. Which makes it a bit hard to figure out where exactly the waistline starts and the bust begins. It was in the evening after a long day when I finally got to working on this project, and my brain wasn’t at its sharpest!

So in case you are also planning to sew this at night, I documented how I tapered from size to size.

After assembling the pattern pieces, I figured out which sizes I wanted to cut for which parts of my body, and which view I was going to make. Size 6 bust, size 8 waist, size 10 hip.

bombshell swimsuit pattern adjustment

I then lined up the pieces that were going to be touching each other, starting with the front and front lining. Look at where the bottom lines up – there’s way more top layer than there is lining!

Also, look at how much space there is between the lengthen and shorten lines.

gathered piece is way longer than the lining

Both of these clues, the notches and the lengthen-shorten lines, are going to help us decide which size line to choose when.

First, collect all of the front pieces. I have a front lining, front crotch, and front. Three pieces that I need to adjust.

three pieces make up the front

Now, I had to figure out where the hip is and where the waistline is. On the long gathered piece, which looks long enough to be a dress, it’s hard to figure out where that might be. So start with the un-gathered pieces.

waist is the top line, hip is the bottom

I determined the waist was at the top Lengthen or Shorten line, because it’s the smallest part of the body, and the hip was at the bottom Lengthen or Shorten line, because by that point on the body I wanted my suit to fit my hip size.

Which means on the long gathered piece, these lines are the same, just farther apart.

waistline on bombshell bathing suit

(PS. If all of this seems really obvious to you, feel free to skip this part! I wanted to record my thoughts for later, and also to help anyone else that is pear-shaped and needed to make this fabulous suit but was lost on how to adjust between sizes. It’s the long gathered piece that can be confusing on where to blend the lines between sizes.)

Draw in a line between the two sizes, from the waist to the hip.

draw in new cutting line

This is your new cutting line. Repeat for the other two front pieces. On the ungathered front pieces, this line will be smaller and curvier.

repeat for other front swimsuit pieces

On the piece that has different lines to cut for each view, instead of cutting them off I folded the top back. (I knew I might lose the cut piece if I’d cut it off, this makes sure I never lose it!)

fold back on cut line

What it looks like from the front:

front of swimsuit front piece

Now, the bust! I picked the dart as my bust point, and will taper the line from the size 8 to the size 6, from waist to bust.

taper from waist to bust

And cut out the piece.

cut out new pattern piece

It doesn’t look that pear-shaped does it? That’s a 6 bust, 8 waist, 10 hip pattern.

For the long gathered piece, I picked a spot in the middle between the waist and the top of the suit, and made that my bust point.

adjusting bust on swimsuit

It’s also approximately where the bust dart falls when you lay the pieces next to each other. Since it’s gathered, and stretchy, it won’t make a huge difference but I wanted to get it close.

There you go! Three front swimsuit pattern pieces, pear-shaped and ready to go.

swimsuit pieces adjusted and ready

Repeat these steps for the back pieces. For the long vertical line at the side seam, I cut it straight up as a size 10, instead of tapering to an 8 because of the way the pattern is graded. It would taper outwards, which is strange, so I left it straight. That little bit isn’t going to make a huge difference to the fit in such stretchy material.

Now I’m ready to cut my fabric! Here’s my fabric again. Isn’t it so cute?

gingham swimsuit fabric for bombshell swimsuit

You know, this is the first time I’m actually trying to make plans to get out and wear a swimsuit. I’m planning to make this before summer ends, and I’m getting excited about where I could go to show it off. That’s the power of a good clothing item, it does more than just cover your body. It gives you the confidence to get out there and do whatever it is you want to do! Wouldn’t it be great if all of our clothing made us feel that way?

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26 Responses to The Bombshell Swimsuit: Pear-Shaping the Pattern

  1. Heather Lou August 1, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Awesome post Tasia! Love seeing these hacks.

    • Tasia August 1, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      Glad you don’t mind me posting about it! I figure if I was temporarily confused then plenty of others might be too. (Or I was just really tired, one or the other!)

  2. Linda- sewkraz August 1, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    I am NOT tired of this pattern and will be right with you on this…..perfect timing! Since I am a pear with a long torso, I will quickly sew a lining in size chosen to see if it fits lengthwise.. like recommended.

    • Tasia August 1, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      Good plan! With the adjustable straps I wasn’t too worried about it but it’s a good idea to make sure the waist and bust end up in the right places on the body.

  3. Susanne August 1, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this info — it’s exactly the stage I’m at with this swimsuit too, and I was a bit confused about how to handle it!

    • Tasia August 1, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      I’m so glad that this post was helpful! Sometimes I write things and wonder if the information will be helpful to anyone or if I’m just posting it for my own reference. If it’s helpful to at least one person then it’s worth posting!

  4. Sassy T August 1, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Great post. Nah how can you get tired of the Bombshell. https://www.facebook.com/SassySewingBees

    • Tasia August 1, 2013 at 11:22 am #

      Oh good! Because I’ll post at least once or twice more about it and if it turns out like I hope, I might even make a second suit!

  5. Rachael-Lynn August 1, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Yeah! I am currently in the middle of creating my Bombshell! I had to do measurements like yours…love the pear body! I have found the slipperiness of my lining fabric to be a bit irritating…it does not glide through my machines easily, taking a lot of finesse. I’ll finish it someday…Can’t wait to see yours!

    • Tasia August 1, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      Hm, interesting to know about the lining fabric. Is yours very thin? Mine is thicker than my main fabric, it’s quite a substantial thick knit. Hoping mine goes under the machine smoothly!

      • Rachael-Lynn August 6, 2013 at 9:56 am #

        My lining fabric is quite thin…which is im sure why it is being a pain. My local Joann’s did not have thick lining…maybe next time I’ll look for a thicker version.

  6. Corinne August 1, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    Never tired of talking about the Bombshell! I’m just finishing mine up & plan to wear it this weekend (even if the sun doesn’t comes back). I picked the same fabric for mine so I think your choice in fabric is super-awesome! Have fun sewing it – I SO loved sewing this suit! I’m already scouting fabric for View B. :)

    • Tasia August 1, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      Ah nice! That’s awesome that you have the same fabric as me, excellent choice! We have good taste :) Go figure, the sun is going away as soon as you finish sewing a new swimsuit. Great to hear that you loved sewing it!

  7. Jeri Sullivan August 1, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    I am a super pear shape too and love how my version turned out. My measurements were outside the range of the pattern but a quick note to Heather Lou and she kindly sent me instructions to fit my shape. This pattern is AWESOME and the suit is very comfy without being slouchy.

    • Tasia August 1, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      That’s wonderful to hear! I’m so glad you love your version, this is the first time I’ve ever been pumped about wearing OR making a swimsuit!

  8. Joelle August 1, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    I cannot wait to see your finished swimsuit! I am super happy with mine (except for the lack of bust support, but thinking back, it is my mistake not to have given a thought to that. i’m trying to think out ways to add support…) i love how this swimsuit makes me looks even more curvy, and in the best way possible. it makes everybody looks like a moviestar!

  9. Nat @ Made in Home August 1, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    That is a great post! So useful for the bombshell but other patterns as well! Many thnaks

  10. Ledys August 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    I am so looking forward to seeing yours! I really want one, but one of the reviews I read said that the suit did not have enough bust support for her to wear and now I am a little hesitant to make one–I just don’t know how to add support to it, and I think I will need it. But it’s the best-looking swimsuit I have seen and I will be looking forward to seeing your cute version :-) (Maybe I will overcome my fears and just sew one up!!)
    Ledys

  11. Jan Anderson August 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I can hardly wait to see your bombshell bathing suit. I made my own suits when I was a teen and also in my 20’s, because I had the stick (Twiggy) figure. 105 lbs and 5’8″. (Not anymore! )Then later AK (after kids), I made some bandeau swimsuits from the swimsuit knit fabric. In the 70’s I took a lot of sewing courses, mostly through Stretch and Sew because I wanted to make a suit for my MOM, who was very pear shaped. The patterns are similar to yours, but the instructions went into detail about measuring for the right fit. My MOM loved her swimsuit and proudly wore it at the beach. Could not do it before as nothing fit her right from ready made.

    I love how your photos and your explanations takes us through your process. In my stash of UFO’s, is one bathing suit cut out and material for another for my daughter. One is the “Allison” pattern from Burda, but I like the Bombshell pattern more. Looking forward to the modelling pictures!!!

  12. Aleksandra @ Liveaboard Takes the Suburbs August 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Love it! I had to pear-ize mine, too, though my pear-ization was not nearly so exact and nice-looking on the tissue! Can’t wait to see how your suit turns out. :)

  13. Sally August 1, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    This is great! I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the modifications needed to pear-ize this pattern AND lengthen by 3″ – now at least the pear shaped part is laid out for me :) Thanks!

    • Tasia August 5, 2013 at 11:13 am #

      Glad it was helpful! Lengthening will be easy to do, just slash and spread!

  14. Jodie August 2, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    This is SO helpful for me! I’ll be making this up for the Australian summer so I’ll be watching along with all your posts before getting to it myself.

  15. dani August 2, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    Maybe I’m behind the crowd (wouldn’t be the 1st time) but i just found This style suit last year on the back of a sale rack at the end of the season right before my honeymoon… now it’s my go to guy feel like Marilyn Monroe… I’m going to watch you make your suit before I even think about attempting one! I think we (my machine and i) are just a bit too rusty yet

  16. Rosemary Olds August 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I am absolutely exhilerqted!! The idea for sewing in a readymade bra will emanicipate me from having to wear a REAllY dowdy suit. At 77 finding a reasonably decent suit has meant wearing long shorts, a tee and my own underwear. Now I can make something more presentable. Thanks, Rosemary

  17. Wanda August 8, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    I love your adventuresome spirit! You tackle many challenging sewing items with skill and assertiveness! Your explanations and instructions are very thorough. You are so cute too which helps in the modeling category also! I want to know where you found the Bombshell swimsuit pattern. I do not see it listed on your site? I agree with Rosemary when you are older and find something that will transcend the ages of time Wupee!

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