How to Sew the Laminaria Swimsuit with a Mesh Insert

When I was designing the Laminaria Swimsuit I intentionally placed the contrast insets such that they could be sewn in mesh without the swimsuit becoming scandalous. The easiest way to do so is to use mesh for the inserts in View A and use a mesh or skin color lining. However if you take the easy approach your seam allowances may be visible at the edges of your mesh. If you want to guarantee that the mesh looks as clean as possible there are a few changes that you need to make to cutting and construction. They’re not technically challenging but they do require understanding the suit construction so I’d strongly recommend sewing the suit with a standard inset following the normal directions once before attempting mesh.

Start by cutting View A out of your fabric using mesh for the inserts. Instead of a full lining, you will cut the lining out of the outer pattern pieces, again with mesh for the inserts. Lay out your cut pattern pieces in the shape of the suit.

Sew the suit together wherever main fabric pieces meet each other. Above I have sewn the Lower Right Front to the Lower Right Back; the Upper Right Back to the Front to the Lower Left Back; the Upper Left Front to the Upper Left Back. (Excuse the wrinkles in some of the seams. I forgot to lengthen a couple of my pattern pieces when lengthening my suit (since I’m 5’10”) so they don’t fit together perfectly. The nice thing about swimsuit material is that you won’t be able to see the wrinkles when it’s stretched onto my body).

Sew the Lower Back Left to the Lower Back Right.

Sew your lining together in a similar manner. Remember that you want your lining to be the same shape when it is wrong sides together with the body so it needs to be the mirror image of the body. If you lay the pieces all out in the same direction, everywhere that a seam is pointing down on the body the seam should be pointing up on the lining.

Now sew your mesh inserts together. Remember that the double notches should point down on all the pieces

One of the mesh strips is part of the body and one is part of the lining so it should be the same as the body and lining where they are mirrored images. Or, as this picture shows, when they are in the same orientation one has seams facing down and one has seams facing up.

Now baste your insets into the body and lining matching the vertical seams.

Place the lining and body right sides together along the seams you just basted (so the fabric is layered from the bottom up main fabric – main inset – lining inset – lining) and sew the seam.

When you turn the suit back right side out you can see that the seam allowance is entirely hidden – it is tucked between the lining and the body so it won’t ever be visible in the mesh.

Now we want to wrap the suit around so that the Back Upper Right and Front are above the Back Lower Right and Lower Right Front, like it will be in the finished suit.

Baste the lining to both layers of the mesh, right sides together. (Alternatively you can start by basting the main fabric to the mesh instead, whichever is more intuitive to you).

Then fold the suit around so that you can sew the main fabric to the seam you’ve just basted.

When you turn it right side out, again you will have the seams hidden between lining and body.

Now we need to sew the Upper Left Front and Upper Left Back to the suit. Start by laying it out as it will be in the finished suit so you can be sure everything is oriented properly. Then sew it as you have sewed the others with the mesh sandwiched between the body and lining.

Finally, you probably want to sew the 1/2″ of fabric together at the center back.

And voila! You can now treat the suit as you would any other suit for the rest of the instructions.

Comments 2

  1. I’ve not yet purchased the pattern as I have no need for a swimsuit right now – but I love the swirl insert! I’ll definitely be keeping this pattern in mind for the future.

    From looking at the pictures in this post I was wondering – is it possible to cut the insert in one piece rather than four? I’m thinking that for mesh it would be nice to eliminate the vertical seams as well as hide the horizontal seams between the fashion fabric & lining.

    1. Post

      I had the same thought as I was cutting this suit out! There is a bit of shaping at the seams between the 4 mesh pieces, but not a lot of shaping and the mesh is so stretchy that I bet you could get away with it. Do let me know if you try it and it works. I’ll update this post when I get around to trying it myself, but I’m not sure when that will ever be!

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