Well, hiya everybody.

It’s not uncommon for those of us on the better side of fifty to have an articulated list of must-do’s…the proverbial bucket list if you will. Awkward photos of self in a swimsuit? So…not…on my list. But…here’s the thing…I was a pattern tester for Closet Case File’s newest gem, the Sophie Swimsuit, and I just couldn’t not share my results. So buckle up…you have been warned…the curves of a middle aged tween in a swimsuit just ahead…

Sophie Swimsuit, Closet Case Files
I admit, when the invite to pattern test arrived in my inbox…I waffled. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to sew a swimsuit. I did, I really did. It wasn’t for lack of fabric…I’ve got quite the stash of lycra…exhibits A and B…not to mention several plummy thrift store finds. So? Why the waffle? Well…although I consider myself to be a positive person…apparently when it comes to swimsuits…I become all kinds of negative….no midriff showing, no halter straps, no low back…you get the picture.

So…when I first saw the line drawing for Sophie, I think my jaw dropped to my keyboard….oh, and…I might have drooled just a little. This is, quite literally, the suit I’ve been holding out for. As in waiting. for. years. It covers. It shapes. It’s gorgeous. And…best of all…it doesn’t feel even one little bit old-lady.

Sophie Swimsuit, Closet Case Files
So many possibilities! Sure, there is the obvious decision making…one piece or bikini. But, what I’m really talkin’ about is the endless ways to play with colour and pattern! With a three piece cup, and center and back panels…you can sew this suit a hundred times over…never making the same look twice.
Sophie Swimsuit, Closet Case Files
All righty, shall we move on to fit? I think we all agree that a bathing suit absolutely needs to fit. The Sophie Swimsuit, available in PDF only, comes in sizes 0-20 with five cup sizes per size. As with most multi-size patterns, I found it pretty straight forward to achieve a custom fit through the waist and hip area.

Things got a little tricky, however, when it came to fitting the cups. As in bra fitting, the cup size is based on a comparison measure between your under bust and your full bust. And…hello, wot?…I am outside of the cup range for my under bust size. {I still can’t get used to that new reality…my twelve year old self would be so thrilled.} To add to my troubles, the first draft had a few minor cup size issues {that have since been rectified!}…so…I had a moment of uncertainty panic about being able to get a good fit….amirite Heather? Now, don’t you panic too. Heather not only got me back on track…she also wrote a blog post with step by step instructions and pictures here {wish I had that when I was pattern testing, LOL} for altering the cradle to fit a larger cup.

Once I had the cup sizing perfected, I was able to sew up a muslin pretty quickly. But. Although the cup fit was spot on…the wires weren’t sitting against my chest wall. {{{Insert groan here}}} Heather and I agreed that a bigger bust would benefit from some under bust structure; either a shelf bra…or, even better…the bikini top. Now…let me think…when was the last time I wore a bikini? Oh right…that would be never. I opted for a power mesh shelf bra…which actually worked quite well…except that I made the elastic a little too snug. I could barely get the suit on. Taking it off wet? Well that’s just crazy talk.

Sophie Swimsuit, Closet Case Files

Sophie Swimsuit, Closet Case Files

While in bra shelf assembly mode, my brain was already scheming a View A/B mashup. Now this….this is my Sophie for the win combination. I love the sleek silhouette of the one piece and I love the support that the bikini band provides! I made the band a bit wider than the pattern specs so I could use a three eye closure.

Sophie Swimsuit, Closet Case Files, Tankini
Sophie Swimsuit, Closet Case Files, Tankini

I’ve waxed poetic about my one piece mashups, but I think my Sophie Tankini will fast become a favourite too. Tankinis are both pretty and practical. This is my first attempt…I’m super pleased with the bottoms, but the top needs just a little more tweaking. I did a standard slash and spread alteration, but I didn’t add quite as much ease as I would like in the under bust and tummy area. Good news though…I’ve got another in the works…at least mentally. And…I have the best intentions of photographing and sharing the modifications I make. I need just a little time though…a short breather from swimsuit making. My contribution to the McCall Shirtdress Sewalong has been waiting patiently for buttons and time is running out! All righty….I’ll be back before the end of the month with my polka dot shirt dress!

*My Sophie Mashup Part I now on the blog : : here

Sophie Swimsuit : : Closet Case Files : : Available here
Awesome Sophie Swimsuit Kits : : Closet Case Files : : Available here


  • Reply Meg June 27, 2016 at 5:31 am

    All of your suits are so lovely!! I am waiting with bated breath for my Sophie kit to arrive!!

    • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Ooooh….the kits are so beautiful!!! I was tempted, but I really have more than enough swimsuit fabric right now. Thanks so much Meg, and I look forward to seeing your suit!

  • Reply Julia @ When the Girls Rule June 27, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Wow! These look great on you and so fun! They look like they offer some support too so important to anyone who wants to move in a suit. Thanks for sharing!


  • Reply No Fear of Fashion June 27, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Kudos on you for daring this. Although… you show such a good figure, you didn't have to worry. I am envious of your smooth body. Had to laugh over your remark about your 12 year old self. My 13 year old self would have been baffled over my shape now as well. Never thought this would happen.
    Anyway, I think all three are beautiful. Didn't even know you could really sew these things yourself. Your favourite is the last one (yes it is very nice), my favourite one is the first one. Well done. I hope you win.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Thanks Greetje! LOL, I don't know if I have any photos of me in a bathing suit, and now these are on the Internet….hmmmm. Smooth body? Good lighting and careful photography and cropping!

    I think you're right. The first one has fantastic colours and fits the very best! I think it will get the most wear this summer!

    And I have used an English figure of speech…for the win…I'm not in a competition or contest. I {people} sometimes use that combination of words, borrowed from sports I imagine, to express a superlative, the best of something.

  • Reply Anonymous June 27, 2016 at 10:07 am

    love them all, but especially the Tankini!!! M

  • Reply Melanie June 27, 2016 at 10:57 am

    You even went in the water! Hahaha!! Well done! This swimsuit shoot is awesome, Sue! I love these suits, each and every one. I'm so sad, my boobs have never been properly cradled in a garment or had a shelf bra. 🙁 No wonder you're happy!

    Truly, well done. Five stars. And you're doing another one? Hahaha. Now you have to SWIM or, better yet, just lounge around and order drinks and get lotion rubbed on you. Yes. Now I see where this is going…

  • Reply Shirl June 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    These are gorgeous on you. Perfect, just perfect!


    • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you Shirl! I'm thinking of one with ruching in the front similar to your pretty suit.

  • Reply Sheila June 27, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    OMG, a polka dot shirtdress? Okay, a little distracted over here – you just drop that little bomb at the end!

    Back to the suits – WOW, these are fabulous! I like that they all look different but all fit you so wonderfully. As always, am in awe of your sewing skillz, Sue!

    • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      Hahaha…it's coming soon! SOON!

      And thank you Sheila! I know how keen your eye is and your compliments mean a great deal to me!

  • Reply Gillian June 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I'M SO IN LOVE! These suits look amazing! You look amazing, too. And kudos to your excellent photographer for the splashing shot! All three suits are just so pretty!

    • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you Gillian! Remember to self…head on over to your blog to get my dare!!! Sorry, I've been busy recently and haven't taken the time, but I'll be there soon!

  • Reply Suzanne Carillo June 27, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Oh my gosh! Was the water cold? I'm damn impressed you got in!

    I cannot believe how well you managed to make these. I adore a bathing suit with a bra closure. Pretty much the only thing that keeps me locked and loaded.

    My fav is also the last one, but they are all very cute. Kudos!


    • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks Suzanne! Our beach is so shallow that the water warms up pretty quickly. I did take a full dip after the camera was put away. It wouldn't do to have a photo of me emerging from the ocean covered in seaweed LOL. I'm so not Bo Derek in TEN, hahaha.

  • Reply Connie June 27, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Sue!!! Dammit! Not only are you super talented but you are so gorgeous. I Loooooove these suits. I wouldn't attempt to make a swimsuit in a million years. These are beautiful. Gosh. I have not seen any that cute in, like, forever. And I have been looking. You could start your own bathing suit business. You really could. I am blown away.

    • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Aw…thank you so much Connie! The gorgeous I owe completely to clicking 'warmify' on my photos LOL. I have to agree with you about RTW suits. I was checking out suits to see the methods used to add bra-like structure and a lot of them were striking….but not cute like I like!

  • Reply Heather Gibson June 27, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    I think these all look amazing on you Sue!! I really want to sew a new swimsuit too, but I just haven't worked up the courage yet. You are definitely inspiring me though….

    • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks Heather! Remember that swimsuit fabric is stretchy and pretty forgiving, so it's definitely worth giving it a try IMO. And you know {other} Heather's instructions are fantastic. Check out your local thrift store…maybe you'll find some fun fabric. My pink with turquoise animal print suit was from fabric bought for $1.99…and it was a big piece.

  • Reply Crab and Bee June 27, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Middle-aged tween! That made me smile. I love your suits!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Aw…thanks bunches!

    PS I admire K that much more since taking these swimsuit photos!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks Mel! Ah….how I miss those more simple times, LOLOL.

    And yes, I officially have more swimsuits than the number of times I went swimming last year, hahaha. This year I declare the year of the swimming locally….even if there is no pool boy waiting for me to snap my fingers.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 27, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    LOL…hoping for a little distraction…not from the suit, but from me…via humor. Thanks so much for the kind words Morgan!

  • Reply Anne June 28, 2016 at 12:49 am

    They're all fabulous! Love them. Do I need one? Should I make one? Questions, questions. I think you've sold this pattern to me! I find it hard to get RTW as I have a very long torso, so just need to find a reason to make one! Holiday…

  • Reply pao June 28, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Wow, you made a bathing suit. suits. And cute ones that fit and everything. You have amazing sewing skillz, Sue. I'm in awe.

  • Reply Louise Perry June 28, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Wowzers Sue, How brave are you with these photos? They all look amazing. See what you mean about using all those pieces for colour blocking and design. Such great work and fabulous photos.

  • Reply Vix June 28, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Wow! I'm sitting in a cardi, cold, tire and miserable and you come along and brighten up my day! Those cossies are wonderful, that first photo is pure art and the back fastening with the cheeky peek of back is lovely! xxx

  • Reply Melanie June 28, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Hahaha. I can picture you emerging with seaweed instead of cornrows. I'm not laughing AT you; I'm laughing WITH you.

  • Reply Meigan June 28, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I love the tankini! That would be my perfect suit. Thanks so much for sharing. All of these look great!!

  • Reply Flo June 28, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Awesome! Looks like you had a lot of fun with this pattern with fantastic results. Now I know why you were pinning all those swimsuits on Pinterest! You look great in all of the photos.

  • Reply Rebecca Burnett June 28, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Wow! These are just fabulous! I love you're fabric combinations and the tankini looks awesome! You look fantastic!

  • Reply Carolyn June 28, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    OH! you look too too fabulous Sue!! I love all your colourful and playfully patterned combinations, and they all look to be masterfully constructed too. All absolutely gorgeous, and you in them too!

  • Reply fabric epiphanies June 28, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    I love this and yes, being another middle age woman (although under 50) I love seeing it worn by women in my age bracket! I have been mentally planning an underwire bra like suit for this coming summer because well it is perfect for those of us that like to keep everything in its place. Now I don't have to draft my own wooh hoo!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks Anne! I don't want to be labelled as an enabler, but….having a one of a kind handmade swimsuit is something we shouldn't feel guilty about treating ourselves to…LOL. And yes…think HOLIDAY…

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Why yes I did Pao. I find the names we use for bathing suit/swimsuit etc. so interesting. I admit, I use the word bathing suit. Is that a generation thing? A Canadian/Chicago thing? Or does swimsuit just sound classier?

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Yeppers…it's done…and I'm someone who fairly dashed from the pool or ocean to my towel to cover up, LOL. Well…I never said I was a logical thinker.

    Thanks so much for your compliments!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    I was beginning to think I wasn't going to get outdoor photos…we've had a fair bit of rain and chill here too. The weather has only recently warmed up. Well, you've got another festival to go to…and hopefully the days will get sunny and warm. xo

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks Meigan! Aren't tankinis great…especially if one is going to be in a suit for more than just a single swim.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    LOL…you know all my secrets Flo! Yep…I'm all about cute cat photos, my dream cottage, etc. etc…..Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for stopping by! And thanks for your kind words.

    I will be off to visit your blog and see your Sophie Swimsuit too!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Carolyn! Your Sophie Swimsuits are perfection! And modeled beautifully! I'm in very fine company!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 28, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    I was *this* close to drafting my own too. And…like you say…wooh hoo for not having to do it!

  • Reply Margo Bergman June 29, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    You are absolutely beautiful! I live these suits and your mash up is perfection!! And that first picture is my favorite!! Hot stuff!!

  • Reply amy mayen June 29, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    I love your 3 hook band, amd the prints you chose for both suits!! You're miles ahead of me in cup fitting; I hope to catch up soon!!

  • Reply dan June 30, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Oh, what a surprise! I am envious … a colouful, well shaped swimsuit is a must to feel comfortable on the beach … you have sewed lovely pieces and they fit you perfectly!

  • Reply Janet June 30, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Gorgeous suits! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Hana Velvet Ribbon June 30, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Ohhh.. these are gorgeous! You look great in all of them 🙂

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion June 30, 2016 at 9:17 am

    I might have said it wrong, I like the blue with pink suit the best. Which is technically the second photo on your post. Don't ask me why.
    The first photo is brilliant. Give your husband my compliments.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 30, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I was thinking just the same as you. The 'first' first one doesn't really count, LOL.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 30, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Aw thanks Margo! LOL…I just couldn't do photos as lovely as yours. Only tight shots to minimize the aging body.

    I still want to try bottoms using your method.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 30, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Thanks Amy! It was fun working with foam on this suit…not something I've ever thought about adding to bras. I forgot to mention in the post that I paint my hook and eye closures with acrylic paint. I'll be sure to mention that in the next, more detailed post.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 30, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Thanks Dan! I imagine that you have the chicest swimsuits on the Med!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 30, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Thank you Janet! I think it's nice to share sewing results for a new pattern. Happy you appreciate it. 🙂

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 30, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Thanks Hana! It's been fun creating them and I'm happy to have a selection.

  • Reply Abbey June 30, 2016 at 10:27 am

    You look FABULOUS in your new suits! I am really impressed with the fit you achieved, too: your bikini/one piece mashup is definitely giving me some copycat inspiration. =)

    I eagerly ordered one of the swimsuit kits and am looking forward to trying my hand at swimwear sewing. Thanks for sharing your versions with us!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 30, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you so much Abbey! The kits are/were great…almost sold out now. Everything in one tidy package, wrapped up in a bow! Will look forward to seeing your make if you decide to share!

  • Reply sewmanju July 1, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Just seen these: how did I miss them? You look fabulous. The suits are gorgeous. I look forward to seeing how you made them.

  • Reply Jessica Cangiano July 2, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Sensational swimsuits! From the punchy, cheerful hues to the classic silhouettes, they all look jaw droppingly awesome and are uber fun to boot.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 2, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Thank you! I woke up this morning excited about my next one, so things should come together quickly!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 2, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Thanks Jessica. I hope to do a vintage-y inspired one one day too. Maybe…just maybe…a long line two piece.

  • Reply lp July 3, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I have been waiting for someone to make a tankini! That is what I really want in a suit–a supportive and cute tankini. I also really like your mashup. I'm so glad you shared!

  • Reply Sharon July 3, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    You look fantastic in your swimsuits, another on the other side of 40 really appreciates seeing it.

    Oh a tankini thank you this is my preference and I do have the Sophie pattern so looks like I need to start working on the fit.

  • Reply Abbey Dabbles July 4, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I know it's been said already, but it's worth repeating… All three of these versions are AMAZING!!!! My fave is the pink/blue nautical print one with all the fancy pattern matching. And I love it when a sewist covers how she had to finaggle a pattern to work with bigger boobs.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 4, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Thanks so much! I'm just about to get started on my next documented make. Of course, the biggest hurdle is choosing the fabric, LOL.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 4, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Thanks so much Sharon! The tankini is a very doable option with the Sophie pattern. So yes….the fit is your first step. Then you're practically done!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas July 4, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Aw…thank you Abbey! When I saw the pink/blue fabric in the thrift store, it made me so happy. It's just a fun, fun print! Adding the bikini back really did make it work for me!

  • Reply Louisa July 4, 2016 at 11:06 am

    So cute, Sue! Your photos are to be proud of, no regrets or embarrassment allowed. I love them all but tankini version is nearly exactly what I've been looking for myself. Brilliant mashup! Now I need to buy that pattern. Not that I swim much being super sensitive to chlorine. The ocean is good though even with the seaweed!

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