My “swim or sink” journey

Just like any other studio members, my swimwear production was a heck of journey.

Here is my

Tale of the ” Swim or Sink”    LOL


My inspiration for swimwear was ‘sustainability’. Each garments was designed with elements that you see in daily clothes (such as hood and sleeves) to encourage people to wear it as daily wear too. The details of the swimwear was inspired by Maori’s indigenes clothes (straw skirts and sleeves) and tattoo (know as “Ta Moko”).

 Below is the design that I chose to produce.


I wanted to make it as simple as possible…. but who said ‘simple is easy’? No one… that right, NO ONE for a good reason … ha ha ha…

The fist step was to use boy-leg swimwear pattern and simply cut deep on the collar and back, and cut out the opening on each side of the hips (as you can see in the design above). Also, I straight away inserted the tattoo effect on the bodice by engraving rope between facing and lining fabric.

Tattoo effect come out fabulous! It came out much easier and neater look than I though J

BUT! The swimwear itself was a disaster….   

 Yah… it would be too good to be true if it came out at once lol.

 Here is the list of problem areas I had to work on:

 –         loose shoulder

–         loose around armhole

–         no support on bust (in other words, too “sexy” lol)

–         too tight on crotch


So, I did…

–         cut 4cm off the shoulder

–         add 2cm across front neck line

–         move shoulder line 3cm toward the neck

–         add 1cm on crotch

–         move side line 2cm toward the back


And here is the problems that was solved

–         shoulder

–         armhole

–         bust area


Pretty good!!



here is the new problem arise

problem back2




 Possible cause were

 –         elastic around the back collar is too tight

–         too low cut

–         the back bodice is too short

  Now, this problem on the back was a real pain….

 I tried to add few centimeters on the back, rise the cut on the back, change elastic, add dart on the center back, made variation after variation of the garments ( I think I made at least four of them)…..






Really felt like crying… lol


And when I was about to give up, the advise I did expected

“Why don’t you use the second pattern (the pattern with the most modest change) and just rise the cut of back”


 My honest though:

‘Well…. if this goes right it would mean that all the time I spent on other samples would be wasted…but…. better than been stuck.’




Seventh heaven!

I seriously though I wouldn’t make it this time



I started to make the new garments out of wool fabric.


And …..

back to start2

Seventh hell…

Oh….. My…………………

I used the same pattern as the good sample, paid extra attention to not stretch the fabric when I was sawing, and yet….


Love of whoever it is….. why……


Took me two days to recover from the damage….

I didn’t have enough fabric to remake, didn’t know what was wrong and I seriously panic!

 I’m not good with flat pattern so I didn’t want to touch it anymore.

So I though

‘Well, it can get worst than this. I will pick one mannequin and I’m gonna fix these problems on it.’


And here is what I did


 –         took further 4.5 cm from shoulder

–         took further 4 cm from front bodice

–         add bridge to support bust area

–         re-elasticated the collar


And who knew! It worked!


 The next, and hopefully the last, thing I had to make was the giant hood.

I started to look at a pattern making book to make the hood. But no matter how I saw it, I couldn’t make the pattern from the flat paper. So I made the hood on the mannequin. I felt like I proved to myself that I’m better designing clothes from the mannequin. I think I had a rather strong perception that the garment should be made on flat pattern. But now that I think of it, it’s quite a silly misunderstanding.

 ‘You learn something new everyday’ LOL.


Anyhow, the hood that came out was so funny….  

gigant tooth It looked like a giant tooth! lol

 I used this hood as a base to make actual hood made out of cords.I didn’t really want to make it looking too geometric, so I drew guidelines however I wanted without ruler. After that, I laid cords on top of the guidelines and stitched together.

 Once I attached the hood, the swimwear was done!



 Come out looking like this 🙂


 There’re only few changes:

–         tattoo on both sides

–         bridges across bust area

–         round cut on the front neck, instead of sharp “V”


If I could change any other thing, I might try to insert elastic in the cords of the hood because it didn’t come out as straight as I wanted.


I’m sorry that I have no photographs at this stage. I did take few photos along the process but the transmitting cord for my camera snapped while I was carrying it around, so I don’t have access to the photos. And I don’t have final garment with me to take new photos because I already submitted it. I guess I had a little short in luck for this project, ha ha ha. I putted my transmitting cord to fix so hopefully I can get some photos in few days…

I hope my illustrations made a little bit more interesting and easier to understand the process for you.


Anyway, that it! Thank you for reading this far!


One response to “My “swim or sink” journey

  1. Interesting, I was surfing the net, searching for a topic for my toastmaster club, and bumped into your blog. Any chance that you could show a photo of the real dress? That’ll be interesting..

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