Hey there! My name is Michelle and I jumped at chance to review the newly released Siren Swim Top from Patterns for Pirates for the CSC’s Swimwear Month. I am happy to say that even though I am a total novice at swimwear, the end results were fantastic. I consider the pattern money well spent.
The Siren Swim Top is described as “a traditional, tight fitting swim top with tons of options!” Pattern options include: straight straps, criss-cross straps, plain top, straight flounce, pointed flounce, and back flounce.
The pattern designer, Judy Hale, did a really clever job on the Siren Swim Top’s design by accommodating a range of bust and cup sizes. The pattern says that it includes sizes XXS – Plus 3X and cup sizes A – G. The sizes correspond to an over bust of 31.5 – 50″, full bust of 30 – 54″, and an under bust of 25.5 – 45″.
I started by cutting out the plain top in the Plus 1X size, using the 5” cup size cut line. I did not run into any issues with fitting and did not have to make significant adjustments to the pattern at all. My measurements are 45” – 37” – 47”, with bra size 38FF (UK sizing). The pattern has up to a 7″ difference in size between full and over bust measurements built in. If you are outside of that range, don’t worry. The lines for more voluptuous sizes are easy to trace in.
Since I am only 5’4” and the pattern is drafted for a 5’5” woman, I did not have to shorten or lengthen any pieces. However, I was concerned about the top being long enough due to the lack of stretch in my fabric, so I chose to use the next cut line rather than the one recommended by my measurements, essentially going up one cup size. The adjustments took no time at all and were rather intuitive. Tracing the pattern and cutting the fabric took less than thirty minutes both times I made the Siren Swim Top.
As a beginner sewer, I had to read and reread some of the instructions a couple of times. On the second top, I only referred to the instructions to make sure I did not miss any steps. Even though I read through carefully, I made some mistakes that turned into learning experiences.
First of all, double check the placement of your straps before sewing them down. Prior to this swimsuit, I had never lined a garment before. When I sewed my fancy fabric/strap/lining layered sandwich, I placed the straps on the wrong side. This meant I was unable to turn the top inside out fully… Oops. Because of this, my first top (blue) has a tighter fit and ¼” shorter straps overall.
The second learning experience was with the lining itself. The first time I made this top, I did not trim the required ¼” from the lining edges and fought it the entire construction process. Lesson learned, and the second top (silver) went much smoother with the trimmed lining.
The last point is to make sure you use the recommended size elastic for your measurements, both in width and length. I did not use the correct size elastic for my size in the straps on the first top. Unpicking stitches to replace it was not an option, so I made the correction in my second top. The result was a much more comfortable fit with less digging. Both tops are wearable and very comfortable. I actually like the silver top much better. For it, I used 3/8” elastic instead of the recommended ¼” for the supporting seams and found it much easier to hold on to, although it does have the negative effect of taking up all the allotted seam allowance. I feel like you can see the difference in the two sets of pictures.
Overall, minus a few hiccups on my part, I felt like the instructions were pretty straightforward. Judy includes full color pictures next to the steps, which are a huge help. The construction process was very logical. All that being said, I felt like I had cut the wrong size until I attached the band at the end. Have some trust that it will fit and don’t get discouraged if it does not turn out perfectly.
To sum things up, I really like how the top fits on me. I haven’t had a swim top that has come remotely close to fitting in years. I felt like the gathering on the sides of the swim top really allowed for better bust accommodation. Bonus points that I sewed it myself. I think the plain top version I made could be jazzed up a little so I am looking forward to trying the flounce version later on. I have not tried inserting boning in the side seams or power mesh for extra support yet, so that may be in the works too. I am shooting for a third go at the pattern in the near future. I think after another time or two of trying this top, I will have all the kinks worked out and it will look even better. While I didn’t wind up using any of them for my swim tops, I did really like the Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Bottoms Pattern Hacks included by the pattern designer. For later versions, I will be sure to use the correct elastic size for the straps and perhaps size down a cutting line. I would advise to go with the pattern’s directions for choosing size.
Size Range: 4
Construction Process: 5
Final Fit: 5
Overall Rating: 4.5
This pattern has a decent size range and has built in adjustments for up to a 7 inch (~18 cm) difference between full bust and over bust measurements. It has great support for larger sizes considering there are no underwires or constraining layers involved. I feel like some of the instructions were a little hard to grasp the first time around, but I am a novice at swimwear. The tops went together smoothly, other than what has already been mentioned. Overall, I think this is a great pattern worth adding to any sewist’s stash.