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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Saving a Bathing Suit

Most women know how difficult it is to find a good bathing suit, so it's heartbreaking when that great suit starts to die too early.  I bought a great, teal, one piece suit a couple of years ago.  Last year I decided that it had to be retired because the elastic was decaying.  I put it in my rag box since the fabric was still good and Barbie may need a new bathing suit one day.  Well, this week I started to miss that suit and wondered what I'd done with it.  Sure it enough, it was still in the rag box and Barbie hadn't cut it up for a new suit.  After trying it on, I remember why it was in the rag box, and noticed that I'd tried to replace the elastic on one leg already.  My first attempt was not pretty nor effective.  After some research on the Internet for the best way to attach elastic in a bathing suit, I removed the old elastic from one leg and tried a different method.  Actually, I combined two methods that I'd found on Youtube.  The first video showed to add the elastic to the wrong side of the fabric with a zig-zag stitch, then stitch again using a straight stitch, but still sewing from the wrong side.  The second video sewed both steps from the right side.  I decided to do half and half; attach the elastic with a zig-zag from the wrong side, fold over the elastic, and sew a straight stitch from the right side.  I'm really pleased with the results and expect to get at least one my season of wear out of the suit.  I'll add photos when I replace the elastic around the neckline and straps.

Elastic that was replaced in the leg openings. 


Leave a couple of inches of elastic at the beginning to hold onto when starting to stitch.  You can see the extra elastic to the left of the clothes pin and where I started to stitch to the right of the clothes pin.

Place the elastic about 1/8 of an inch from the edge, on the wrong side of the fabric.  Using a wide zig-zag stitch, hold the elastic with both hands (one in the front of the elastic as it goes under the foot, and one behind the foot), pulling the elastic slightly as you stitch.  The right side of the needle should fall just off the fabric so that the fabric is pulled over the edge of the elastic.


Trim off the extra elastic at the beginning and stitch to meet the beginning.  The edges of the elastic butt together, but do not overlap.  Zig-zag over the elastic where they meet.

Fold the elastic to the wrong side of the fabric and stitch through all layers with a straight stitch, pulling the elastic slightly as when it was attached to the fabric.  Sorry that I couldn't show the fabric being stretched as I stitched.  I don't have a way of taking a picture while holding the fabric.
The elastic will function well, but I should have waited to purchase a narrower elastic for the top.  It's a bit too wide at the shoulder and I didn't have enough room to remove the armhole elastic and replace it as well which makes the strap bubble at the top.  Patience is a virtue.

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