In September of last year I took Mini-Me to an ASG (American Sewing Guild) meeting with me while I taught on bodice fitting. Mini-Me is totally in tuned to these types of conversations, however, during this meeting she was into the “iPad” games she was playing. As the meeting came to an end, I was engaged in a conversation with another member about a “mermaid” costume she had made for her granddaughter. OOOH boy!!! Mini-Me’s ears peeled up and before I knew it she was standing beside me looking at the digital pics, exclaiming that “we” must make one for her. Needless to say, she was not happy to hear me tell her to wait until next year, a concept not known by your average child…”next year!!” really Mimi? “Yes dear, I will get it done for your birthday.” I exclaimed.
Fast forward nine months and Mimi has come through on her promise…whew! It was a close call. Although I got some input from my fellow ASG member and the fin pattern she made, I still wanted the ensemble to be convertible and easy to take off for swimming. Thus, the three piece was designed.
Someone was really happy!!! And so was I. It was a big hit at the birthday party. She was able to jump into the pool a couple of times before removing the overskirt and swimming in the suit alone.
Pattern Description: McCall’s 3566(OOP) Two-piece bathing suit and cover-up skirt. There are several variations for the tube/bandeaux/tank top, and one bikini top. The bottoms are for shorts or bikini bottoms.
Pattern Sizing: She may have fit into a pattern size 4 with alterations, but since I only had a size 10-14, I pretty much re-drafted the pattern or you can say “severely” graded it down since it was a straight grade across sizes. Compared to the RTW grading system I learned in school, this is a straight grade. That just means there is a set measurement between sizes no matter how large are small the sizes range. I explained this in a little more detail in “Making the Grade.”
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I made a few modifications to get the mermaid look, by adding a sequin trim to the front of the tank top and adding the shirring to the waist of the tank. For the bottoms, I added a 2inch band to make sure it went high under the tank top. (for some reason, I did not write down her bodice length)
Skirt: I made the skirt using the basic pencil skirt drafting technique. I measured 4 places- waist, hip and knees and ankles with the measurement for each point in order to determine the the cut. Then I just slit the back up the middle and inserted the modified “godet” fins with ruffle trim insert.
Were the instructions easy to follow? I did not follow any instructions. The insertion of the elastic was done on my Bernina 234 serger first, and then I folded over the elastic to the inside and finished the hem with a regular zigzag on my Bernina 640 . I stretched the elastic slightly under the rear-end to get it to “cup” under. For the straps, I included elastic inside to keep them taut when wearing. I learned this in my knits class in school, and it seems to work very well for all my swimwear. All elastic used on this suit was 3/8″ swimsuit elastic. I buy this stuff in bulk!!! because everybody likes me to make their swimwear.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love everything about this pattern. I have been using it for a long time. It’s a great versatile base pattern to own.
This is swimwear Lycra from Hancock.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As I have found for me when using McCall’s, the pants crotch is “always” too short, and this was the same for even my GD.
Tank top: I added a sheered band around the bottom to match the skirt as part of the whole ensemble. I could have left that part off, but without the skirt, it would not have still looked “mermaid-ee”
Skirt- was just a pencil skirt made from her measurements and the “fins” inserted as a “godet” inset in a slit up the back.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I have sewn this pattern multiple times over the years, either as panties, or swimwear. Mostly though as a bandeaux and panties (view G with modifications) A really all-around pattern for the entire family.