Hi all! I’m here today to review Jalie 3350, a one-piece swimsuit pattern. I bought this pattern because it was remarkably similar to a swimsuit I bought five or six years ago from Lands End. I loved that suit so much that I wore it to death… patchy and stretched out, with busted elastic. I could never find another RTW suit like it to replace it. High time I sewed myself a new suit!
This is actually my second time sewing this Jalie swimsuit. The first time I made it, almost a year ago, I didn’t realize that the lining fabric I had chosen had no vertical stretch (and/or didn’t realize the importance of vertical stretch for a swimsuit!). As such, my finished swimsuit was so short in the bodice that I couldn’t stand up straight while wearing it. I could tell the pattern had potential, though, so I soldiered on to make another!
Pattern: Jalie 3350 is a one-piece swimsuit pattern with two versions: one with a sweetheart neckline, lined front, contrast band and open back with clasp and one with a twist-front and closed back. You can easily mix-and-match the fronts and backs (i.e. make the twist front with the open back, or the contrast band front with the closed back). It’s got a center back seam that provides shaping and thin straps that can be made adjustable or not. The pattern has instructions for including a lining so you can insert removable swim cups.
The pattern can be purchased in either paper or PDF format. For this review, I used the PDF version of the pattern, which I found to be easy to put together, but a little bit difficult to use only because there were so many sizes layered that at times it was difficult to discern which line was associated with my size. Tracing my size with a highlighter helped.
What size did you make? Size Z at the bust, graded to AA at the hip. I mixed and matched the views, sewing the closed back version with the sweetheart/contrast band front.
What are your measurements, height, and body type? Bust: 41.5″ Waist: 35″ Hip 45.5 Height: 5’7.5″ Body type: pearish
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
Besides grading up a size at the hip, I didn’t make any fit adjustments. I did, however, decide to fully line the swimsuit. The pattern calls for lining just the front, but I like a full lining (well, underlining, really) to help keeps things snug and to reinforce the seat area, which gets a lot of wear from sitting on the pool’s edge, etc. In order to fully line the swimsuit, I ended up doing certain steps in a slightly different order than prescribed in the instructions.
The pattern calls for you to use a zig-zag stitch for topstitching the elastic down on the edges of the swimsuit. After experimenting a bit, I liked the way using a stretch twin needle looked and stretched better than the zig zag, so that’s what I went with for topstitching. That added a bit of time because I ended up having to switch back and forth between my regular stretch needle and my stretch twin needle several times. Also, I sewed the major seams (side, center back) using the “lightning bolt” stretch stitch on my machine because I find that it is the sturdiest stretch stitch I have. I really only used the serger to finish a couple of the exposed seams.
I opted for sewing the adjustable straps, which added to the sewing time a bit. I cannibalized the hardware from my old stretched-out swimsuit. I feel like the hardest part was figuring out how to feed the straps through the hooks and loops! While I was at it, I cut the swim cups out of that old suit to use in this one. They’re not the perfect shape, but they’ll do.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
The construction process was quite straightforward! Nothing too complicated with this pattern, especially if you start with the non-twist version. If I remember correctly, part of the twist was a little tricky to sew.
Visually, I did find the instructions a bit, well, crowded. The English and French instructions are on opposite sides of the page, with the diagrams running down the center. There is a lot going on. If you’ve sewn with Jalie patterns before, you’d probably be used to this, but for me I found it a bit distracting at first. That said, the instructions themselves were thorough, but not overly detailed. Lots of helpful diagrams; I referenced them constantly.
I really liked how the pattern gave very precise measurements for cutting the elastic for the leg openings, bustline and back. It eliminates a lot of the guesswork you get with the “just stretch until it feels right” method. I appreciated immensely how straightforward it made the elastic application.
A couple areas that I found a bit tricky, not really as a result of the instructions, but just physically challenging, included sewing the bust area to the body: I tallied the number of layers in that seam at seven, with three of them heavily gathered. Whew! That was a lot of layers to sew through! Also, attaching the straps was tough, too. Lots of layers of elastic and fabric to power through!
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
I am pretty thrilled with the fit of this pattern! I think it works well for a pear/hourglass-ish shape like mine, but would work for other body types, too. This type of one-piece swimsuit, with a seam to separate the bust from the rest of the suit, is my favorite. I like how the leg openings are neither too high nor too low, with lots of coverage, and I think the sweetheart neckline and underbust gathers are really nice.
I did find that without the swimcups, there is a little bit of wrinkling/extra fabric in the upper cups where I don’t quite fill them out. The swim cups help, but it’s still collapsing a bit (see above).
Also, I need a swayback adjustment on my next Jalie 3350, as I have some fabric pooling in the center back:
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I’ll definitely make this pattern again! As I mentioned above, I might make a swayback adjustment for my next Jalie 3350 to get rid of that little bit of extra fabric pooling in the center back. Other than that, I am really happy with how it fits and feels.
I’d love to play with some colorblocking for my next version of Jalie 3350. And I’d like to revisit the twist front… I love that look!
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources that helped you sew this piece up?
Jalie has a sewalong on their blog for this swimsuit, which is quite helpful. It’s got a ton of advice on supplies, techniques like elastic application and info on hacking the pattern to make a gathered/ruched front version. While it does cover some alterations, like lengthening and shortening the suit, it doesn’t cover bust adjustments.
Size Range: 4.5 Although the size range for this pattern is quite generous, the cup size is not that large and there are no separate cup size options, which could be limiting.
Instructions: 4.75 I had no problems with the instructions beyond them being a little bit visually crowded.
Construction Process: 4.75 Straightforward!
Final Fit: 4.75 Love it!
Overall Rating: 4.7 This is a great basic swimsuit with a broad size range and easy-to-follow instructions. I am really happy I purchased this pattern!