Palms, Pineapples, and Patterns – Suit Up For Summer with Raspberry Creek Fabrics

Hello, fellow sewists and summer enthusiasts! I am thrilled to be a stop on the Raspberry Creek Fabrics Suit Up for Summer Blog Tour today. I’ve got a family’s worth of patterns to share with you. I hope you’re inspired to sew your own swimwear for everyone in your family!

Yes, we still have snow! And yes, it was warm enough to do this – 65 degrees, a rare March day for us!

We went full on family matching for this group of suits, and I am so excited about it. We even got everyone to smile and look at the camera, which is no easy task! I used patterns from seven companies (nine if you count the two bags) and five and a half yards of fabric, including linings, to complete this set of suits and bags. Why so many patterns and companies? Well, I already owned many of the patterns and have used them for swimwear before. I also have a projector to cut with, so that makes it easy to use multiple patterns quickly. But mostly, I love making everyone exactly what they want in a suit – customization is the best part of sewing!

I’ll start with Ben’s suit and swim shirt. He was the one who chose the main print – Abstract Palm Tree – from the new swim lineup at Raspberry Creek Fabrics. I wanted him to have a print he’d be excited about wearing, so we based all our choices around this palm print. We chose the solid green and solid light blue swim fabrics to coordinate with the palms. There is a huge selection of coordinating swim fabrics on the website to put with the new lineup of prints, and I’m excited to mix and match for more suits later!

His swim shirt is a Rocky Mountain Raglan from Peek A Boo Patterns. I used the palms print on swim fabric with the kelly green solid swim. Ben used to leave his shirt on right up until getting into the water when swimming, so he loves having a shirt he can wear in the water now! All four of us burn really quickly, so it makes all the difference.

I used the Men’s Swim Trunks pattern from 5 Out Of 4 Patterns for his shorts. We looked at several different swim trunks patterns, and he ultimately chose this one for the elastic waist. They have a mesh lining as well. There was supposed to be a drawstring, but I got so excited to start sewing the day the fabric arrived I made them up without it. I’m not the Imperfect Sewist for nothing! His next pair will have one, but he assures me these will be just fine without! This was my first sew using boardshort fabric, and I am LOVING this base from Raspberry Creek. I have plans to order more for shorts for myself and hats for the kids.

Little Dude Eric also got a pair of boardshort swim trunks! I used the Swim Boardies from Lowland Kids. I chose these because they are shorter than other patterns, and he’s small enough that super long shorts are unwieldy (actually…it’s because of his adorable knees!). I didn’t include lining in this pair because he’s likely to be in a swim diaper this summer. His swim shirt is a Reagan Raglan from Bella Sunshine Designs in the palms and solid light blue swim. This raglan pattern is a slimmer fit, and works well for a rashguard without being form fitting. I did size up a little for both pieces because it’s going to be a few months before we wear these for actual swimming, and this guy is a bottomless pit…he’s got some growing to do before then!

I like how the boys are matching but have different main colors in their shirts!

Miss Lena is sporting a Mairin suit from Sew a Little Seam. This pattern has literally endless options, it’s pretty incredible! She, very specifically, chose a two piece, the long top (to here, mom!) with a ruffle, and a ruffle on the legs. Lena was also adamant about the Ombre Tie Dye Pineapple print as soon as she saw it. Luckily, it’s from the same line as Daddy’s palms with the same matching coordinates and everything came together! I’m excited to try out this pattern for myself in women’s sizes soon, along with some different options for Lena!

My top swim sewing tip? When topstitching elastic, sew right on the far edge of the elastic (from the wrong side, the one away from the edge of the suit). That way, it won’t flip out!

As soon as Lena saw her suit, she said ‘Oh Mommy, it’s just how I wanted it!’ She immediately put it on and we played beach. Imperfect sewing and all, what more reason do I need to create for my family?

Keep reading for more about this bag I made from the boardshort scraps!

My suit took the longest for me to plan. I had something in mind, then second guessed myself and took a different direction when the fabric arrived…does that happen to anyone else? I loved the light blue and palms matchup so much I had to use it for my suit too.

I used the Patterns for Pirates Take the Plunge suit as my starting point (affiliate link). I used the bodice of the suit only (the pattern is for a one piece) and made the waistband piece into a bottom band. I hadn’t done this hack before, but had been wanting to try it and it worked out to be the perfect length for the suit top I had in mind! I also used a strap hack from the P4P blog and did cross back straps. For support, I used sew in bra cups from Wawak but left out the underbust elastic. Two friends have asked me to make this suit for them, so I’m guessing it turned out well! I know it’s comfy and feels great!

I actually made two bottoms to go with my Take the Plunge top. The first, on the left, is the Waimea Swim Bottoms from Greenstyle Creations. I used the elastic waistband for this one, and would have preferred the foldover waistband, but I didn’t have enough of either fabric left. My preference is more due to the fact that I can’t stand threading elastic through than fit – these stay up great! The solid green bottoms are the Riptide Reversible Shorties from 5 Out Of 4 Patterns. I thought the Waimeas were my favorite bottoms, and now I can’t decide which bottoms I love more! I’ve got more pairs of the Riptides planned so I can take full advantage of the reversible feature!

Speaking of features, both of these bottoms patterns have great ones! The Riptides have this cool ruching detail on the sides that allows you to wear them in a longer boyshort style, or ruche up the sides like I have here and convert them to more traditional swim bottoms. I love how it adds extra interest as well!

The Waimeas have POCKETS! Here’s another moment of imperfection for you: I have the pockets in backwards. I made them like the pair I made last year, then realized when they were done that both pairs have the pocket pieces reversed. The pockets should slant from the waistband in the middle down to the side seam. I hope you got a chuckle from that like I did, and that if you were hesitant to sew your own suit, that you dive in and do it! It doesn’t matter if every detail is perfect…what matters is that you love it and are comfortable. I wore last year’s pair all summer and never knew!

This is a good time to mention the fears many have about sewing swim. It can seem like such a challenge if you’ve never done it before, and many people seem hesitant to dive in (pardon the pun) and try it. I’m here to tell you that YOU can do it! I don’t treat sewing swim much differently than sewing anything else…the biggest difference I’ve noticed is there’s just elastic everywhere! Your suit doesn’t have to be perfect – you will love it anyway! Choose one of the great prints from Raspberry Creek and give it a try…I’d love to learn what you create!

Let’s talk scraps…I ended up using just about all of the palms and blue swim fabric and have a decent scrap of green left for another project, but I had a lot of boardshort left. I planned a yard and a half per the patterns for the boys’ trunks, and as I suspected, I could easily squeeze Eric’s in with a lot left over. So, I made some beach bags! Both are patterns I’ve used before. The big one is the Fast and Easy Mesh Bag Kit by Lyle Enterprises. It’s the perfect size for towels (four will fit easily!) and is a super quick sew with the mesh piece and webbing for handles. The small zip bag is one of my favorites: the Peek-A-Boo Bag from Sweet Treasures, designed by Terri Staats. It has a clear vinyl window, and I’ve made them to store everything from snacks to toys. This one will hold our sunglasses this summer. Both Ben and I have prescription sunglasses, and that involves a little extra planning to bring them along. I’m excited to have them contained and not on the loose in the big beach bag!

Here’s a quick recap of the fabrics and patterns I used. Another note: I used elastics in 1 1/2″, 1 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/4″ widths, from a mix of Wawak and Joann’s (but I’m really excited to try the new elastic RCF has!). It’s not specifically swim elastic…I haven’t had a problem using general elastic, but we tend to swim in lakes and rivers and less in chlorine if it matters! I also used clear elastic in 3/8″ width. I’ve noted below if a pattern is specifically for swim or not (if not, I didn’t make any changes).

  • Palms boardshort: 1 1/2 yards
  • Palms swim: 1/2 yard
  • Pineapple swim: 1/2 yard (around half of that left)
  • Light Blue solid swim: 1/2 yard
  • Kelly Green solid swim: 1 1/2 yards (around 1/2 left)
  • Mesh lining fabric: 1/2 yard
  • Swim lining fabric: around 3/4 yard
  • Peek a Boo Patterns: Rocky Mountain Raglan *general use*
  • 5 Out Of 4 Patterns: Men’s Swim Trunks and Riptide Reversible Shorties
  • Bella Sunshine Designs: Reagan Raglan *general use*
  • Lowland Kids: Swim Boardies
  • Sew a Little Seam: Mairin Swimsuit
  • Patterns for Pirates: Take the Plunge Swimsuit
  • Greenstyle Creations: Waimea Bottoms
  • Lyle Enterprises: Fast and Easy Mesh Bag Kit
  • Sweet Treasures: Peek-a-Boo Bag
It will be a few months before we can really enjoy the pool, but we’re ready!

It was such a blast to sew up these suits and bags and to be a stop on the Raspberry Creek Fabrics blog tour! I am just as excited as you to check out all the other fantastic sewists that are sharing this week (check out their links below). As always, time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

~Yours truly, The Imperfect Sewist

Thank you to all of our amazing sewists who are joining us this week!

Hosted by SewSophieLynn and Paisley Roots

Sew Hard of Hearing, I Em Sew Happy, Zaji-Kali Makes, Sewing with CWay

Sew Mary Mac, Lorelei Caroline, Sew With Summer, All My Spare Time

Made By Kates, The Imperfect Sewist, Intensely Distracted, Lovely for Life

Sew Whit Designs, Sew What with Afton, It’s Liesel, Clothed in Vermillion

Kainara Stitches, Stacey Durant, Desert Blooms, That’s Sew Kari

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