The Laminaria Swimsuit really can be sewn by a confident beginner sewist. I have a selection of photo and video tutorials to give an added boost of confidence. Today, I’ll show you all the steps involved in attaching the straps to the front and back of the suit. I’m showing the steps out of order but clustered by back and front strap attachment so that you can understand the process to the finished swimsuit which should hopefully make the steps intuitive when you reach them in the instructions.
Remember, there are 3 options for how you attach your straps. If you want them to go straight in the back or cross in the back, start by attaching the straps to the back of the suit. If you want halter ties, skip over the back attachment steps and only attach them at the front.
BACK: In steps 36/37 we pin and baste the straps to the back of the swimsuit at the strap attachment point, marked by the circle on your pattern. The right side of the strap is agains the right side of the lining (so the back side of the strap is facing up). The strap should be pointing toward the center back (though you don’t need to worry about getting a 90 degree angle, everything wobbles at this point so close is good enough). The length of the tail pointing to the inside of the suit doesn’t matter but it should be longer than 1/4″.
Note: Before doing any sewing on your swimsuit you should have transferred all the marking to the suit – I like to use tailor’s tacks because chalk rubs off swimsuit fabric easily. If your marks have rubbed off or if you forgot to transfer the mark, you can still do so at the point. Just remember that the pattern piece is 1/4″ wider on either side than your back because you have already sewn the center back and side seams.
When you sew the elastic to the inside of the side/back (Step 42/43) you will attach it right over the basted strap.
After securing the strap in place by sewing down the interior elastic, you can trim off the tail that sticks out (Step 61).
When you turn the elastic to the inside of the suit and sew it down (Step 66), it will cause the straps to be pointed toward the inside of the swimsuit.
Point the straps up the way they will be finished and backtack across the strap (Step 67, photo shows outside and inside). Though it seems a bit weird to attach the straps to the back in this manner, it makes them extra secure to have several layers of stitching through them.
FRONT: Once you’ve figure out how long you want your straps to be, pin the straps to the front of the suit and baste them in place (Steps 59/60). Make sure that the right side of the strap is facing down against the right side of the front of the suit and pointing down with the tail end pointing up.
Double check that you haven’t twisted your straps and that they are either straight or crossed (whichever option you intend to sew.)
Place a 1.5″ x 3″ rectangle of fabric face up against the right side of the top of the suit (Step 62) (you can see that any old scrap of fabric will work). Sew a line of stitching just inside the elastic, straight across the strap, and back down inside the elastic for the height of the fabric rectangle. It is easiest if you stitch from the inside of the suit.
Trim down the extra fabric of the rectangle and all the bulk above the horizontal part of the stitch (Step 64).
Fold the fabric to the inside of the suit, revealing the strap out the top (Step 65). This will naturally help the elastic at the edge of the neck/side fold to the inside.
When you sew the elastic to the inside around the whole suit (Step 66) you can come to a point at the peak of the front where the straps attach, pivot, and sew down the other side. There will be a bit of the point facing that isn’t finished at the bottom but swimsuit fabric doesn’t ravel so you don’t need to worry about it.
Check out the Laminaria Swimsuit Sewalong page for a whole bunch of helpful tutorials. And let me know if there’s a specific tutorial you’d like to see or a spot that you might want some more help!