Inspired by the “Curvy Year of Sewing” theme of swimwear, two CSC contributors Jessica (Always a Crafty Lady) and Jennifer (We Bought a Manor) decided to try the Jalie Gigi Bikini and compare their results. Would we dare to bare it all by wearing a bikini in public?
The Jalie Gigi Bikini has several different options in one making this a great mix and match pattern. The top is fully lined and features princess seaming to help achieve a good fit. The bottom is lined in the front and has optional side ties.
As with all Jalie patterns the Gigi Bikini has sizing all the way from a toddler size F or 2 (21/20/22) to a ladies size FF or 22 (50/44/53).
Jessica: I’m a 5’6” busty pear, measuring 42-36-48. From the side I look like an apple. I prefer bikinis because I can buy them in different sizes for my top and bottom. Discovering bra sized swimwear in retail stores was life changing. For the Gigi pattern I used a size AA top (view A/C) and a size Z blended to a CC bottom (view D).
Jennifer: I’m a 5’6” busty apple, measuring 49-44-53. From the front I’m a rectangle, with most of my curves in the front and back of my body. I prefer tankini style swimwear, and almost always choose underwire tops and high-rise bottoms. The last time my midriff saw the sun was in the 7th grade. The idea of putting swimsuit photos of myself in the public domain is terrifying, but #allbodiesaregoodbodies, right? I sewed an EE top (view A) and an FF bottom (view D).
Jessica: I’ve sewn a few bathing suits for my family so the constructing was pretty familiar. I really like the diagrams in Jalie patterns. I find those to be enough information to remind me of the process. I especially liked the elastic measurement charts. I find those easier than having a pattern piece for measuring elastic. Because my fabric was a light color with lots of white I lined the entire suit and added power mesh to the bust pieces and the waistband. I also crossed the straps in the back for additional support. I found the straps as drafted to have plenty of length change up the placement. The Gigi Bikini so easy to construct that I made one for each of my daughters as well.
Jennifer: The Gigi bikini is only the second swimsuit I’ve sewn, and I was nervous. However, I found cutting out all the pieces to be the most complicated and tedious portion of the process, with the sewing moving quickly once I got started. As usual, Jalie instructions are sparse but with excellent drafting and construction methods employed. My only complaint in the pattern construction is that the back of the swim bottom isn’t lined (which made it feel a little flimsy).
Jessica: Before making my Gigi I did a quick search for reviews and saw someone thought the underbust piece was too long. Since I’m already pretty busty with a small ribcage I knew using a size AA for the underbust would be too much and cut a size Y instead. I found I was able to sew the AA top to the size Y underbust and still had enough room to attach the closure in the back. Otherwise I only blended sizes.
Jennifer: I made two changes. First, as a well-endowed person, I knew right away that I would need more support in the bust then what the pattern provided. The directions include an option to insert foam swim cups, but assume that you will buy them separately. Foam swim cups generally don’t come in larger sizes, so I made due by cutting the main bust pieces out of foam (minus seam allowances) and using them as extra support between the main fabric and the lining. (More on how this worked later.) My second adjustment was related to the under bust elastic — when I held up the recommended length I knew it would be way too loose. To cinch it up, I removed about 4-5 inches from the elastic, stretching it to fit as I sewed.
Jessica: My top fits pretty well. It’s not the most supportive and shaping swimsuit ever, but I went running on the beach with my kids and felt completely secure. The bottoms are not my favorite. I think I was feeling overly optimistic about my measurements when I picked a size and the top edge of the bottom pinches in more than I’d like aesthetically. I love the idea of the ruching on the sides, but because the drawstring is only below the waistband the ruching doesn’t actually raise the legline as high as I’d like. What can I say? I love a high cut bottom. So technically the bottoms fit and are comfortable, but they don’t provide a silhouette I enjoy.
Jennifer: One of the tough things about sewing swimwear is that there aren’t many chances to try on the item during the sewing process–I basically held my breath while I tried on the finished product. Nonetheless, I was pretty impressed with the fit — I felt pretty comfortable and appropriately contained. The extra bust support is better but not perfect (really, I just need to hack an underwire bra into all swimwear), and after I move around a bit 1) the bands creeps up under my bust and 2) everything shifts around and creates a lot more cleavage. The bottoms feel very secure, but I think it would be more flattering to raise the rise of the main fabric and reduce the width of the waistband by the same amount.
Jessica: I really like wearing Gigi Bikini because it is comfy and fits way better than anything I can buy, but I don’t know that I would make it again. I think I really prefer bra sizing in a top since my full bust and underbust are so different. Plus the legline really bothers me. However I don’t swim very often so this suit will work for me until I find something I like better. It was also super fun to make matching bathing suits for me and my daughters. I love that Jalie covers all of us in one pattern.
Jennifer: I will definitely wear this swimsuit in the water. But because the top doesn’t give a ton of support or consistent coverage, I’ll be sure to toss a caftan or rashguard on top when sitting by the pool or undertaking any activities out of water. No need to shock the neighbors!