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Togs x 2

I finished my togs yesterday at 5.30pm... great, that gave me 30 minutes to get to the pool before it closed at 6pm and have a swim to test them out. They are great. I didn't 'feel' them at all. I'm still surprised to see that I MADE TOGS! 

Truth be told they are a little big.. not noticeably so if you see me in them but they need to be a little tighter - there isn't enough negative ease for my size. I made a size Y which was a 40. All the measurements except the body length, where I'm 5 cm shorter than the size Y. There isn't any markings on the pattern to shorten the body and I couldn't find any instructions or help on the website with shortening either.  Maybe there is but I couldn't find it.  As I have a tiny back I cut the back band out a couple of sizes smaller but I could have cut it smaller, but I think with one size smaller overall, a slightly smaller back band would be needed still. 

Because I was using smaller pieces of the fabric to make these togs, I couldn't carry the colour around the body like it shown on the envelope.  The side looks a little harlequin like. I went through my lycra stash today and I actually found a piece of plain black so I could have made a black pair and an orange pair with some white I have, as I don't really love colours with black. I'll see how I like wearing them at aqua aerobics tomorrow and they may be donated to my younger sister who is taller than me.

I lined the inside with some tricot I had. Jalie don't include instructions for lining the back, but I lined mine as I have found when the lycra lets go, it's at the bum and that's when lining comes into it's own.
I sewed it up with the overlocker and basted with the sewing machine. I found the lining slipped when I basted with the machine, so I ended up basting by hand. I watched this tutorial by Jalie about how to sew the elastic in and this helped getting the technique right quicker. It wasn't perfect everywhere but it didn't really matter, it was good and it was getting better the more I did.

There is a lot of talk about Jalie patterns around. I love the sizing being so comprehensive and I would buy them for this reason alone. They are modern in the styling and draft. I found some bits of the instructions a little like Style Arc to be honest... particularly putting the back band on was tricky and the diagrams weren't complete. In the instructions it names the front side panel, the wrong letter also. If the diagrams were more detailed, the instructions may have made more sense in this tricky part. It may be intuitive if you've made a few pairs or swimsuits or leotards but I hadn't so for a new swimwear sewer, it was not clear. ( this was where you put the elastic on the top part of the back band, but you use the one long piece of elastic to go on the one side of the left strap, then the top of the back band then the one side of the right strap but the diagram doesn't show this clearly. I've looked since making it and it still isn't that clear to me.)

The elastic lengths were good. As I'm very short between my armpit and top of shoulder (about 8cm) I cut some off the front strap and the rest off the back strap, this was my shortening of the pattern by 5cm and although the length is ok, the suit is a bit long in the body. For those in the know, where should I shorten the body of the suit for next time?

Taking advantage of my success, I decided to tackle the elastics on a Kwik Sew suit (it's a 1987 pattern and I've just realised part of my Vintage pattern pledge... does it count if I half made it?).  I cut it out a couple of years ago and didn't finish, mostly because it didn't fit and secondly because the fear of putting the elastic on. I started, if you count joining the end of the elastic starting.
Years ago I made a beautiful purple one to the exact stage as the KS, waiting for elastic and didn't finish it so this is a long time coming for me.

When I finished the Jalie, I put the two pairs together (the KS unfinished as above) to see how different they are. The KS back is cut on the fold and I think this shape is better for a more modest or flat bum, but mine fits better into the pieced and shaped one with the seam. The legs are the more modest cut, but I think the higher cut would be better and I should have trimmed it before sewing the elastic in. The KS is also very wide at the bust/armhole and I need an FBA on it really. The Jalie has terrific shaping in the whole suit really. The Jalie is a much more modern cut, style and shape.

I lined this suit with some really fine, power mesh type stuff. This is seriously firm, fine, stable knit, with 4 way stretch. It would be great for shape wear (or control pants like we used to call them! Marketing!) but probably not great for togs that are already too tight. However, this would be great for those togs that have the control factor to them... I find it too hard getting into and out of them, and to be honest, it's not going to make me look any more like Elle ... I need a lot more than that.

This is only two pattern pieces and the back straps were way too long but I didn't think about this when I cut them out so did a botch quick fix, and just cut and pieced it together taking some length out. Here it looks obvious but it is less noticeable when the elastic is put in. The racerback shape is very comfortable.

See, with the elastic it's not so bad. So the elastic... I used some of that clear plastic elastic for the legs,  just to test how it went and I remembered I had a teflon foot for the machine, that I bought 2 years ago to finish these. In the Jalie I used the covered elastic but not the one I really wanted but I couldn't find the one I wanted. (It's worth watching the Jalie tutorial linked above as it shows why some elastic is better than others.)  I actually used the KS elastic lengths, but remembered after putting on the one arm hole/strap that I had cut the length so it doesn't sit so well and I just did the same for the other side regardless. It is not visible when wearing but it isn't as firm as it could be.

The actual lycra was bought at The Fabric Store in Brisbane after I'd just been to see the film adaptation of Tracks. It was a remnant piece and cost $17 but was about 1.5 metres. Despite my careful planning of the plaid, if you look at the back and front, I hadn't noticed the irregular checks.. doh! I have enough to make another one and I might try making an FBA on it and a shelf bra.

I had made togs for my son and that's great practice... I mean children don't notice and they grow out of them quickly. If you haven't had a go at togs for yourself, I say have a go. The Jalie is pretty detailed, but a simple one like the KS is so achievable. 


Kyle said…
WOW, quite impressive! And I love the Australian word for bathing suit--togs--learned a new word there!
katherine h said…
Making your own togs is fabulous, isn't it! These look great!

I shortened this Jalie pattern for my daughter recently...though I only had to shorten by 2 cm. I put a 2 cm tuck across the middle of the pattern, where the waist would be, and then just smoothed out the edges of the pattern pieces. I probably shortened the straps as well...but I just pin them to fit on her. She likes that back cross section to sit below her "angel wings". I also lower the legline of this pattern when making it for both her and me...hers by 3 cm, and from memory, mine might have been by about 5 cm. I have had to do different modifications for each of us to eliminate gaping at the back..for her, I take a wedge out of the back side piece to eliminate gaping at the back waist and on mine I need more shaping in the CB seam.

When the patternschool website was around, Stuart had a great discussion on tensions in lycra and explained why pieces like the back band would need to be shortened. I have noticed that the Jalie pattern does not shorten this piece relative to the other pieces, so I often shorten it a bit, at the CB, by a few cm.

Now you'll be able to whip up a different pair for each day of the week! Have fun swimming!
kbenco said…
I am so impressed that you have made togs. They look terrific. I've attempted swimwear before, but I find them incredibly fiddly. I have that Jalie pattern and truly, it keeps looking at me with a "there are too many pieces in this pattern" attitude. Its very inspiring to hear that the Jalie fit more nicely and have a more modern cut, I need all the help I can get when thinking about sewing togs.
Summer Flies said…
Katherine, thanks so much for this very detailed explanation. It's good to hear that it can be shortened. I have some gaping at the back too and even with my inexperience I pondered about the back band being so big relative to the other pieces as you said. I have a tiny (child like my sister says) back so I knew I would have to make it smaller. It is so great, and they are so commercial looking. I have the other newer togs pattern and may try that one next, but if you swim or do any aqua stuff, many pairs are necessary and they are so expensive. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your tips.
Summer Flies said…
Thank you Karen, I had that fear of the too many pieces... and the points at the end of those panel were a bit tricky, but ok in the end. I'm so please because I can only get better with the elastic part and really it's that part that is the trickiest. I will try Katherine's tips for fitting above, and try a smaller size and see how I go. The fitting at the bust and bottom is very good particularly if you are a bit curvy. Overall I'm very pleased.
Summer Flies said…
Thanks Kyle, you know it's actually only a work in the state of Queensland and I think Victoria. Most other places call them bathers or swimmers. I don't know why though. I love the word too, but I've also read some people overseas saying it so I wonder where it came from.
colesworth said…
Both look pretty good. Thanks for linking the Jalie tutorial. I have everything gathered to try my first pair and I purchased rubbery swimwear elastic when I got my lining - should be interesting to work with!!
Summer Flies said…
Thanks! Yeah, the rubbery one sits more flush and that is what most commercial swimsuits use. I pulled apart a couple of old ones to check. The Jalie tutorial was what really gave me the confidence to put that elastic in. She makes it looks so easy. Can't wait to see yours!
Unknown said…
You made some cool togs. I hope you love wearing them. They look great.
Pity you don't like the prints together - I think they look wonderful. Both pairs look nicely made - must save you a fortune, making them yourself.
Summer Flies said…
Thanks Maria, I do love wearing them.
Summer Flies said…
Yes it saves heaps to make them... particularly when it is from stash! Thanks for you complements!

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