Strappy back bikini top: Merckwaerdigh BHST2

This project has been a bit of an adventure.  It started out as an attempt to knock-off a RTW bikini top.  Followed by some pattern-work to change the seamlines on a bra cup.  While it worked in terms of fit, the style lines didn’t really suit me.  So in the end, I used the design from the bra in the last post and changed the straps to be a bit more swimwear friendly.  Here is the end result…

BHST2 bikini top

In the beginning….

… there was this bikini top that I liked the look of and wanted to copy.  The base pattern I was using was BHS10 view E ( the padded bra from this post).  The cup seam that joins near the bridge is much lower in the RTW bra, so I started to have a play with manipulating the darts on the bra pattern.

Here is the first attempt and the resulting cup.

After a bit of playing around, adding scraps of fabric to test different style lines and print orientation, came version 2.  I wised up and started pinning the cups onto the bra that I already made so I could get a better idea of the effect.  I’m not liking the roundedness of the design lines, or the contrast in the fabrics.  Some of the other prints I tested, didn’t look any better.

 

Time to try a different approach…

This time I decided to use an existing pattern and try to get a good colour/pattern combination.  I really liked the cup on BHST2 and thought it would be worth a try.  I ‘say’ that flippantly, but I kept changing my mind between three potential patterns.  Using a different print, I cut out a couple of sample upper cups to see how the print would look.  The ‘stripes’ are more like chevrons so picking the different parts of the pattern would give completely different looks.  I’m using the previously made up bra from this pattern to pin the samples to.

I decided to go with the angled version and fussy cut the pieces to minimise the amount of white near the bust point.  The upper cup was cut on the fold so it was self lining.  The rest of the bra is lined with a lightweight powernet and clear elastic replaces the normal lingerie elastics (10mm at the bottom of the band and 6mm elsewhere).  So, having sorted out the cups, the next problem was the straps

Strap challenge

The straps on BHST sit very close the the edge of my shoulders, but give a really open back. To make sure I didn’t have a wardrobe malfunction when swimming, I decided to add some cross-over straps.  I liked the angle on the back band and thought multiple straps coming off the band, similar to yoga tops, would work well.  The back of the band was cut as one piece (ie without the colour blocking seam) and an extra seam allowance was added to loop around the bikini clip.

The straps were made with 6mm clear elastic inserted into them.  I cut lengths of fabric 30cm wide.  This was folded in half lengthwise, right sides together and the elastic zigzagged on to the edge.  Then it straps are turned inside out.  The turn and flatten out really nicely.

The straps were attached first to the back band.  Then using the ‘Red’, I got the rough placement of the straps, plaiting them as they went over the shoulder.  They were pinned in place, so I could try it on and adjust the final length of the strap.  Initially, I  interwove the straps as they crossed over each other.  This looked nice, but was a pain to try to put on – lots of twisting of the straps and hanging up on each other.  In the final version, one side crosses over the other.  Much easier to put on and the straps sit in the same place each time.

On the back, as the plait separated, the two ‘outer’ straps are bar-tacked together to stop the plait unravelling.

So, here is the final bikini top.  I’m quite proud of it, even though I took the long road in getting there.  I’ve saved the leftover straps for a bikini bottom, but I’m not quite ready to tackle that for a while.

Thanks for reading this far 🙂

BHST2 bikini top

 

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