Shortening/Lengthening the Laminaria Swimsuit

One of the coolest things about sewing your own swimsuit is that you can make the torso the right length. As a tall gal, 1 piece swimsuits have always been my nemesis as there’s nothing worse than rocking a wedgie every time you put on your swimsuit. The Laminaria swimsuit has printed shorten/lengthen lines on the pattern pieces to make shortening and lengthening easy.

How can you tell if you need to add/remove length from your swimsuit? The size chart tells you the crotch length that the pattern is designed for which is average for an average height woman (5’6″). If you need more/less length in ready-two-wear swimsuits, you’ll probably want more/less in this swimsuit. However, the only way to tell for sure is to make a muslin out of the same fabric that you will be using for your final suit as small differences in horizontal and especially vertical stretch can make a big difference in how the suit fits you. If your measurements suggest that you need an adjustment of 1″ or less, you may be able to get away without shortening or lengthening your suit. Because you custom fit your strap length you can make some compensation there. Additionally, you can go up a size to get just a bit more length while maintaining a similar fit as having your fabric stretch less around you horizontally allows it to stretch more vertically.

For reference, at 5’10” with my height fairly evenly distributed between my legs and torso, I add 1.5-2″ extra length, depending upon the fabric I am using.

Cut each piece that has a shorten/lengthen line on that line. For View B and View A lining there are 2 lines on the Front and Back pieces. You want to cut on each of those lines and divide the length you want to add/subtract between each of those lines. Then separate the pattern pieces by that 1/2 length.

For View A, there is 1 line each on the Lower Back Left, Upper Back Left, Lower Back Right, and Upper Back Right. You want to shorten/lengthen each of those lines by 1/2 your total length since it will effectively add the whole length across the back when the lower and upper pieces are combined. View A Front also has 1 line but it is different from all the other pieces in that the whole length needs to be added to the one line. We do this because we want to add the length in a way that doesn’t affect the insets in order to minimize the number of changes we need to make.

After you separate the pieces (or overlap them if shortening), tape them down and connect them. You don’t want to connect with a straight line as this can give you some funny shapes when you are separating pieces in a curved segment. Instead, start an inch or two on one side of the line and draw a gentle curve to an inch or two on the other side of the line.

Check out the Laminaria Swimsuit Sewalong page for a whole bunch of helpful tutorials. And let me know if there’s a specific tutorial you’d like to see or a spot that you might want some more help!

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