watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

i didn’t get around to doing a 2013 recap / 2014 goal setting post this year like i’ve done in the past, but if i had, it would’ve likely said to “tackle a few new things i’ve never sewn before.”  i love pushing my skills bit by bit…and swimwear was definitely on that “never done it, want to!” list, like jeans and my first zip fly were!


watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

this is the cosi swimsuit, a brand spankin’ new pattern from Suz at Sew Pony – i just couldn’t wait to sew it up!  the pattern goes from size 6 months to 10 years and there are a bunch of different views included in the pattern (seven!) but i chose a pretty basic version as my first attempt at swimwear – view C, which is a halter suit with leg ruffles.  squee!  leg ruffles!

watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

i bought all fabric and notions for this project at Mill End – isn’t that watercolor flower print incredible??  i loved it immediately, but the fabric itself is sorta thick and heavy lycra, so i wasn’t sure about it.  i went for it anyway.  it is so thick, i only lined the gusset (with nude swimwear lining fabric – i got a yard and i’m sure it’ll last me forever).

i’ve been inspired by a bright watermelon color that’s been popping up lately (Caila and Erin are my muses) so I grabbed some as an accent and to keep the swimsuit looking fresh and young.  the watermelon is more of your typical soft lycra swimwear fabric, great for the tie and leg ruffles!!  the combo feels perfect for my little gal.

watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

i made a 5T for E, who was just a little shy of that on the size chart, height-wise.  as you can see, it’s a bit long on her, but she went swimming in this suit and it didn’t sag at all, so i’m happy for the growing room.

watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

sewing a swimsuit was surprisingly straightforward and quick, though i probably wouldn’t recommend it to a knitwear beginner.  there’s some stretching-elastic-evenly-while-sewing and double-needle-topstitching that takes a bit of practice.  i used my serger for the side seams and the inside of the ties, but my sewing machine for the rest.  i think it helped that my material was nice and thick, it didn’t curl or move on me much.  by the way, there was no elastic measurement provided for the legs, but i cut mine around 11.5” and the chest elastic right at her chest measurement.  E is a skinny little thing though, so just measure your kid as advised!

watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

there was one step in the pattern i’d skip next time, and that’s zigzagging the gusset lining to the front of the suit along a drawn-on curve.  it doesn’t look super clean to me on the outside, and that front gusset lining usually isn’t attached in store bought swimsuits (i’ve been checking).  one less step next time!

watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

Suz’s directions are clear and thorough, with notches to line things up properly which i love.  however, the fact that there are 7 views (one piece and two, with gathered center panel, color blocked panel, and solid, with leg ruffle, peplum, and strap options, either fully or partially lined) makes it a bit difficult to keep track of your place in the instructions sometimes.  i almost wish she’d released two separate patterns – maybe a one piece and two piece suit – so it was a bit easier to follow along?  but hey, plus side is the cosi swimsuit is a great value for the money!

watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

you can see lots of examples of all the views in Suz’s tester recap, and with all those options, you could make this pattern many times and have lots of different-looking suits over many years!  i actually bought fabric to make a much-needed second one.  gotta have multiple suits in case one is wet from frequent summer use!

go on, give swimwear a whirl!  get your cosi swimsuit right here!

* * *

P.S. i generously received a copy of the cosi swimsuit pattern for free from Suz and always do my best to give you honest pattern reviews.  thanks, Suz!

20 thoughts on “watercolor & watermelon swimsuit

  1. Erin says:

    I loved seeing your sneak peak of this suit on IG- great fabric! she looks just adorable in it, and those leg ruffles are the BEST! thanks for the shout-out… watermelon is currently my jam.

  2. Suz says:

    Sweet Kristin!! I just popped over to see what you had been up to and surprise – here is your cosi!! Em looks very sweet in her swimsuit. I hope she gets lots of wear out of it!! Thanks for sewing up my pattern!

  3. rachel says:

    This is so cute, Kristin! I am in the process of sewing Cosis, too! I have that color, but it was called “grapefruit”. I do think watermelon is a more accurate description. I really love the leg ruffles. I wasn’t sold on that feature, but I love it on E’s suit. Adorable.

    For the elastic, I found it helped to baste the elastic to the suit first and then do the top stitching after it was basted on. The stretch-and-topstitch maneuver was super sweary for me and also was not nearly as accurate. I had to rip all of those stitches.

    I have one done and another one almost done. I have planned to make up to 5, but definitely three, so I will have to check into this gusset thing. 🙂 Thanks for the tips.

    • kristin says:

      thanks R! yeah i zigzagged the elastic (and ruffles) to the leg openings first, then turned them under and topstitched with a double needle. i just think that whole stretch-and-sew technique can be a bit tricky if you haven’t done it before (don’t want to stretch the fabric, just the elastic) and then using a double needle takes a bit of practice too (i use a walking foot). both are just techniques that are a little more “intermediate,” i’d say – not a “hey this is my first time sewing knits!” type level.

      so excited to see yours!!

      • rachel says:

        I tried your suggestion to not sew the gusset on the free end and I love it! Great idea! I looked in my girls’ store bought swimming suits and they are all lined, but I noticed that in undies they don’t sew down the gusset in the front. (Gusset – what a weird word, right?!) 🙂 I also love how you knotted the ends of the straps. Totally going to do that too. Thanks, Kristin!

  4. Sara says:

    Really cute! I love that the homemade swimsuits are giving us more modest options. This style looks like it covers well. I have the bombshell swimsuit on my list of things to make for myself, and I may have to add this too!…never enough time 🙂

    • kristin says:

      i love one-pieces on little kids – they shouldn’t be worrying about whether their swimsuit is staying where it should when they’re learning to swim. though the cosi’s two-piece option is pretty modest as well, i’m pretty sure it’d behave itself. 😉

  5. gail says:

    that is the coolest print! mill end is flippin’ awesome. and congrats on crossing swimwear off your list – that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment as far as i’m concerned!

  6. Suz says:

    I don’t really understand what you mean about sewing the gusset lining down kristin? My instructions conceal the gusset seam on the inside but I don’t know who you did it? I do recommend to baste the elastic first before sewing the elastic with overlocker:))

    • kristin says:

      step 9 – it’s the front gusset lining, where you match up the chalk lines and then sew the gusset lining in the tunnel. the gusset seam is concealed on the inside but a zigzag shows on the outside front. i don’t think the FRONT gusset lining needs to be sewn down at all (which is closer to RTW) since it’s sewn on the sides and back. cleaner finish on the outside. 🙂

      and yep, you do recommend basting first! i zigzagged the elastic/ruffle to the suit rather than overlocking it (then turned it under and topstitched).

  7. Mie @ Sewing Like Mad says:

    Ah yes, bathing suits….a whole different world 🙂 But as usual you did great! Love the photos too!

  8. Kelly says:

    OMG cutest little swimsuit, that fabric is so good. I am heading to Mill End tomorrow to look at swimsuit fabric for myself, I may have to check this one out…Em and I could be twinsies, haha 🙂

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