I’ve been pinning swimsuit inspiration for months now, trying to will the warm weather to come. One inspiration kept coming up back to me so much so that I knew I needed to make it happen. It’s a tie front one piece that I started thinking… hacking Shelly could make it!
For this hack, you’ll need the Shelly pattern. I’m using the Jade tie front pattern piece as a guide but you can create your own tie if you’d like too. I’m using a projector and medical paper as tracing paper to create the new tie front pattern piece. To start, I traced the Shelly main top piece (blue). Then I laid the Jade on top, tracing the tie (in pink) grading the bottom of the tie towards the bottom of the bodice. Make sure to mark the notches from Shelly on this new pattern piece. The fabric I’m using for this Shelly is crinkle swim from Mily Mae Fabrics. This fabric is plush and heavy weight so the tie front may look bulkier than you’ll get with traditional swim knit.
Cut 2 mirror pieces in your main fabric. You can follow this same process for the lining pieces or just remove 1/4″ from the bottom of this piece for the lining. I’d recommend using the same fabric for the main and lining since it’ll be visible with the tie. Since it’s hard to differentiate between the main and lining, mark the lining pieces with a clip or chalk. Cut out all the other pieces, no other adjustments are needed. I’m using swim lining for the back and bottom front lining.
Now let’s construct the tie bodices. Start by sewing the straps according to the tutorial. Following the marking guides from Shelly, right sides together, clip or pin the straps in place to the main bodice ties. Baste in place.
Set one tie bodice aside. Lay the main tie bodice right side up and lining right side down. Pull the ties toward the straight side so they won’t get sewn by accident. Now we’ll add elastic. If you don’t add elastic, the top won’t hold in place. I’m using 3/8″ swim elastic throughout the suit.
Start by measuring from the straight side seam to the start of the curve. Then cut a piece of elastic that’s 90% of that length. You want to slightly stretch this elastic to ensure it holds in place. Sew or serge in place. Repeat the same process on the top. You don’t want to add elastic all the way through to the tie as this will add bulk making it difficult to tie. Make sure when sewing the top of the tie bodice that the strap is sewn into the seam.
Turn right side out. Repeat for the other tie bodice.
Sew the front bottom according to the tutorial. Lay the completed front bottom right side up. Then line the tie bodice pieces right side up, matching the notches on the sides. Baste the overlap.
Sew the back together following the Shelly tutorial. I’m using the full back but you can follow the cut out back tutorial too. Since we’ve changed the construction on the front, we’ll need to finish the top back now too. Measure the back curve and cut elastic at 90% of this length. Mark the elastic in half and clip it to the center of the lining. Sew or serge the elastic to the lining side. Turn over the elastic and topstitch in place.
Lay the back right side up. Place the front bodice right side down, clipping or pinning along the side seams. I’d highly recommend basting this seam before stitching. You are working with so many layers that can shift easily. I found with the bodice top seam, it worked best to have the back seam raised slightly above the front so it lines up once stitched. Serge or sew in place. If you used a serger, tuck the serger threads back into the seam.
I prefer to stitch the side seam down flat, just at the bodice top. To do this, I finger pressed the seam towards the tie front. Then I stitched that seam down with a small zig zag stitch.
All that’s left to do now is finish the crotch seam and add elastic to the leg openings. Following the Shelly tutorial for these last steps.
I hope you enjoy your new tie front Shelly! -Katie