I have a tradition that when I go on vacation, the night before I leave I start on an ill-advised last-minute project. This vacation, it was the Agility Tank swim top from 5 out of 4. I didn’t get it done in time for the trip, because it took a bit of practice to get the hang of the elastic edges and my rule for late-night sewing is, if you make a mistake that will require significant seam ripper use, go to bed and do it in the morning.
I finished it the day after getting back though, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
The top is a sports-bra (with options for T-back or strappy shoulders), with a gathered tank top overlay that hangs off it – options to cut the underarms so that they hang close to the body, or so they hang lower and show skin. There are maternity and nursing options as well.
It comes up to a size 3X which is for B50″/W46″. I didn’t make any alterations and 3X fit nicely on my B50″/W48″ self. The crossed straps, combined with a lycra swimsuit fabric with a fairly firm stretch and recovery, gives pretty good bust support. I like how it works with my figure, because it draws attention to the bust, and doesn’t suck into the belly and back-fat rolls. It’s modest, but not frumpy, and I like that too.
Construction was straightforward – this was my first venture into swimwear and elastic bindings, and while it took a bit of practice to get the hang of applying the elastic, understanding the instructions wasn’t a problem at all. It just takes a bit of dexterity to handle three layers of bra, the elastic, and the fabric that covers the elastic, and stretch only the layers that are supposed to be stretched while holding the other layers unstretched.
The only part I found particularly tricky was attaching the straps in the back – I would highly recommend an assistant to help you decide where to attach the straps and how long to make them. My husband is a great photographer, but not so good at pinning things, so I had to do it all by myself, and there was a lot of trying on, getting stabbed with the pins, twisting to see my back in the mirror, taking it off, repinning, getting stabbed with the pins, checking the mirror again, cussing, taking it off, getting stabbed with the pins, and cussing under my breath.
Something I particularly liked about this pattern was that it is a pdf with layers – you can click to choose which size(s) you want to print out, so instead of a tangled nest with all the sizes, you can print just what size you need.
I highly recommend this pattern for curvy sewists, as long as they aren’t super-busty – I’m not sure the sports-bra design would provide adequate support for larger than a D/DD Cup. I don’t have a lifestyle where I need a lot of swimsuits, so I don’t think I’ll make another one any time soon, but I might make just the strappy bra part, to wear under tops with low or wide necklines.
Size Range (1-5) – 3. 3X isn’t particularly large, and with the caveat I mentioned about cup size, there’s no reason it couldn’t come larger.
Instructions (1-5) – 5. Very easy to understand.
Construction Process (1-5) – 5. Straightforward.
Final Fit (1-5) – 5. Forgiving without being baggy, supportive, sporty and fun.
Overall Rating (1-5) – 4.5. This is a really excellent pattern, with lots of useful options, that looks great and should work for a variety of body types.