Swimstyle Patterns :: The Heiress Bikini

Last September I blogged my Sophie Swimsuit and in that post, talked about how I’d purchased a bikini pattern, cut it out and – long story short – freaked out.  The pattern I was referring to was Swimstyle’s Heiress Bikini. I can’t quite remember how I first discovered Swimstyle (more than likely Instagram) but I definitely remember having one of those “YESSSSSS!” moments when I saw the pattern because this is very much the style of swimwear that I love and buy.

Back in January, I found the bag with all my cut pattern pieces and, a few afternoons later, had sewn up a new bikini. Still being a little green on the swimwear-sewing front, I must confess to a couple of head-scratching moments with the Heiress instructions which are concise but by no means in-depth. As a further shout-out to Heather’s excellent Sophie instructions, I went consistently back to those when the going got confusing with Heiress’ instructions. Given the need for stretch (and therefore zig zag) stitches, I found the straight stitch lines on the Heiress illustrations pretty confusing.

Mid-project, do you ever get that sewing feeling where you just lose total faith in your project and start powering through because you don’t think it’s going to work out? I had that twice with this bikini – once while sewing the bottoms and once while sewing the top. And oh-me-of-little-faith, they worked out just fine and are totally wearable. A bit rough in parts, sure, but you can’t see where and I don’t care. And just like my Sophie Swimsuit, I reached peak sewing satisfaction with these. Just to be clear, I’m not doing laps or jaunty beach jogs in these, but they will do me just fine for those things I love doing most at the beach – lying, reading and occasional dips. And let me assure you, I’m really very good at those three things.

Size wise, I cut a 10 in both bottom and top. I think the top is perfect for my cup size but there’s definitely some room for tweaking.  The underbust band doesn’t sit as flat as I’d like and I might try using a slightly wider elastic there next time. As far as bust coverage goes it’s neither super supportive nor enhancing but that’s just the way I like it. I’m especially a fan of the the Heiress’ side boob coverage – something I always look for in a RTW bikini and which is often surprisingly hard to find.

The lining rolls out at the side, which is probably my error rather than pattern error. I did use a slightly wider elastic than what was recommended because that was all I had on hand. It’s just a little glimpse but to avoid being bothered by that, my tip would be to use self lining rather than a contrast colour like the white I used here. Strap wise, I went with the adjustable option (purchasing my hardware from Booby Traps) but you can just as easily go with a halter style like Debbie’s.

The fit of the Heiress bottoms was spot on, if a little cheeky. After I made them, I did a little Insta shout-out and asked for some alternate (and more modest) pattern options, getting some further recommendations.  As a result of this, I ended up trying the Watson Bikini bottoms which were unlined but easy. And (bonus) a PERFECT fit.

Watson Bikini Bottom (above) and Heiress Bikini Bottom (below)

Here’s a good side by side to show you the rear leg cut differences between Watson (left) and Heiress (right) but for all intents and purposes, the front view is virtually identical.

Since making these, Sharon from Swimstyle has done this pattern hack which allows you to add more butt coverage to the Heiress. This gorgeous fabric – River Stretch – has unfortunately sold out, but you can check out our current swimwear range here.

So, as first forays into bikini-sewing go, I’m pretty happy with my Heiress and know exactly what I need to do to make my next one, for next summer, even better. But for now, its time to start planning autumn sewing…