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The “Sew Your Own Activewear” Rashguard

When I was thinking about the sports I wanted to design for in the early stages of writing the book, I knew I wanted to somehow cover swimming, and I initially wanted to include a traditional swimsuit. But when it got down to the drafting instructions, it would’ve been tricky to construct using just the included blocks, or it’d mean I’d need to include a whole separate panty block just for the swimsuit so instead I took inspiration from my friend, Emily, who is an avid Cornish surfer as well as being a runner, climber, cyclist, and all-around advocate for natural movement (and indeed, the athlete model for this design in the book!).

Aztec print Seamwork retro bikini

I have a really bad habit of trying to cram in a bunch of last-minute sewing just before I go away on holiday, when most normal people would be packing their suitcase or reading through guidebooks. But no, I decide to sew up a pair of trousers and a bikini in the week before I leave!

I’d sewn up a swimsuit once before, but I’m not even sure whether I actually wore it in the water at all, as I hardly ever go swimming, and I’d moved away from one-pieces and that one had zero bust support so it just flattened the girls. But discovering that Team GB had been allocated the posh beachfront hotel with the pool, sauna and jacuzzi for the World Transplant Games gave me renewed enthusiasm to cram in the retro bikini patterns included in the August Seamwork magazine (which you can buy separately if you’re not a subscriber).

The Reno halter bikini top has ties around the neck and the back, separate seamed cups, and is also fully lined. The August issue (free!) gives tips on selecting and sewing swimsuit fabrics and elastics, and also how to insert boning, underwires, or foam cups if you prefer. I opted for the latter, since I had some in my stash anyway, though my foam cups were a little bigger than the lining piece, and I had to trim some off.