Designs in review

Making a prototype of the swimsuit was useful to discover any mistakes and reflect on the overall design and fit. The week before we embarked on our easter break, we all had a look at our designs on a professional size ten model….


Size ten model wearing my swimsuit.

I wasn’t too sure about the pom-poms on the shoulders. I was scared it was going to look too ‘crafty’. However,  using different material to the traditional yarn-made ones created a look far from ‘crafty’. There was the option of cutting lots of circles in the same fabric and making them sit up with starching spray, but, I tried this, and it didn’t work. Woollen pom-poms were the gooooooo. I also figured that the bra cups were hideously small, so these needed to be enlarged by at least one centimetre.


Side view of swimsuit

I was pretty happy how the ruching came out. Though I had to be mindful of the gathers bringing the swimsuit in too much. When the model tried the swimsuit on, it was really tight around the bottom and loose up the top. To fix this, I needed to expand the ruching pattern pieces by one centimetre on each side. For the top seam at the back, it needed to drop by one or two centimetres. I wasn’t really keen on the bra tassels. It was hiding too much of the design, so it was out with the tassels and in with the simple.


Back view

Overall, I was pretty happy with the outcome of my first swimsuit draft. Not much had to be changed for the final piece. Just a few tweaks within the swimsuit back, bra cups and the tassels were removed. I was on the home straight…


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!

Final Artwork


Cut Cut Paste

Making the patterns for the swimsuit wasn’t as bad as I thought. Altogether, there were eight pieces to form the ‘Seaweed Pom-Pom Swimsuit’. It was quite the opposite of pattern making for woven material. It was satisfying how it all came together so easily. If I were one inch out, the stretch would compensate…


Ruching pattern pieces for centre back


Cutting out cotton jersey with the patterns

We were all required to use two meters of black wool fabric. This was only part of the challenge, as little did we know how machine dependent swimsuits were and how fragile wool is…. (Unpicking was a disaster!)

I was thankful I constructed two prototypes of the swimsuit, one in fluro Lycra (thanks to Max’s fabric donation) and another in black cotton jersey. The nature of these fabrics handled very differently to the wool. The Lycra sewed with ease and the jersey created a lot of bulk. Especially when I was sewing gathers into the centre back.

Detailing: For the side flaps, I experimented with interfacing and foam. I decided the interfacing was too sharp around the edges of the flaps and side seams. It also didn’t sit right on the body. The foam was a winner as it was easy to sew with and it created a nice texture when I sewed onto it…


Toile number one using interfacing in the side flaps


Final piece using foam in the side flaps.

Pom Poms: I tore a leaf out of an old craft book on how to make pom-poms. I used wool yarn, which gave the pom-poms a traditional look. I wasn’t a fan of the wool, so I moved onto plain, black ribbon. For the final piece, the plan was to cut as many 1cm wide strips out of the provided wool. The ribbon was a good substitute for the toile….


Black ribbon is winded around the hole and circumference of the cardboard circles. Once the circles are filled with ribbon, it is then cut to create a pom-pom.

The outcome?






What a relief to have my swimsuit completed and out of the way.

And I am actually pretty happy with my finished result.

Of course I don’t know whether any designer or student can be completely satisfied with their completed garments because in our eyes nothing is ever really finished and can always be altered and improved.

But in terms of my progress throughout this degree there is no doubt I have improved in design and particularly my sewing skills. Each garment I make I can see that improvement and am therefore more capable of creating a garment that reflects the image in my head. 

Something else I realised while completing this project is that a slight consistency or theme present in all my past designs is emerging, suggesting that my own design aesthetic is slowly forming to create my own design style. I guess I first noticed this in my fellow students, everyone seems to have particular elements, lines or shapes that are consistently there in their designs. Perhaps it is something that takes an outsider to notice, because I only realised the link between my 2008 Avant Guarde dress designs and my swimsuit designs once it had been pointed out to me.

While I am fairly pleased with my finished result, when I look back through my swimwear research I wonder how I missed some great ideas. Some of my original sketches that were discarded early on could have been developed into a unique piece. Furthermore, most of my final designs could also have been developed further into something more innovative.

That’s just something I will have to keep in mind for next time.

Until then we have the presentation of our swimsuits on Thursday in front of a panel of industry judges – scary stuff.

The forces united…..

acrlic and fabric united in form

acrlic and fabric united in form

Acrylic and fabric tossed and turned undulating and weaved to work together……movement and organic in form, created to represent the fluent nature of water.

A complete perspective

A complete perspective

my final swimsuit

i finished my final swimsuit….
I did unpick the suit once as the sewing lines were extremely uneven and wrong, but in the end it wasn’t too difficult to construct
here are a few images to show off the design lines