We’ve just finished up the summer school holidays here in Australia which for us means the end of a busy beach season. My kids do beach swim lessons every summer holidays, which is possibly our favourite holiday activity. Surf safety is a big deal when you live near the ocean, and knowing the kids are learning valuable ocean skills goes a long way to putting my mind at ease – and of course it’s a great excuse to spend every morning on the coast!
Last year I made my girls rashie and swimmer sets to wear to the beach (unfortunately I haven’t blogged them yet) and though the girls loved them, they’ve grown out of them! When I first made them I used self drafted patterns, and it was a lot of work. And then something irritating happened – I lost them. Cue temper tantrum. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to start the process over, and decided that this year I would choose a pattern from another designer who had already put all the hard work into creating something awesome.
I went on a bit of a hunt and ended up really liking the Boo Designs swimmers pattern. It made me really happy that I didn’t waste my time trying to draft my own pattern (again hahaha) – this pattern has it ALL. It’s got a Classic Rashie, Raglan Rashie, Togs (one-piece swimsuit), Tankini, Bikini, unisex Shorties, Classic Briefs and Contrast Briefs – all in sizes 2-10. Though Bunny is a size 10 right now and the top of the size range, I figure there are so many options here I’ll end up using this pattern over and over again for Birdie and Buddy. Bunny already wants me to make her the tankini for school swim lessons this term, so I can tell this pattern is a winner with the kids too.
I have a tendency to feel like I should draft everything myself, but this was a really good lesson for me that sometimes I should stop and consider whether it’s actually sensible to do that. I could have saved a lot of time last year if I’d used this pattern and I think I enjoyed sewing these more because the pressure was off and I could just cut out the sizes I needed and enjoy sewing. And I really really enjoyed using this pattern! I made Bunny and Birdie semi matching rashies using Ellie Whittakers Creamy Ice Dreamy swim lycra in purple and blue colourways. I let them choose the combos, and Birdie went for Blue body, and purple arms/neckband, and Bunny chose purple body and blue arms and blue arms/neckband. For Buddy I used some leftover fabric I had from Sew Active fabrics. Though Buddy’s fabric wasn’t technically swim specific fabric, it’s a high quality sports poly and given the fabric composition I know it’s going to last really well. Finding swim fabrics for boys has been quite hard, so I was happy to make this compromise. Though I have a sneaking suspicion that his will be longer lasting. I ran out of fabric for his sleeves so I ended up splicing together pieces and adding some topstitching. I love turning a necessary hack into a design feature!
I added some Kylie and the Machine labels to the back of the rashies so the kids could tell which way round they go when dressing. For the girls I used the rainbow handmade labels and for Buddy I used the hand made label – both available in my store. I used this project as another opportunity to get used to my coverstitch machine. I think It’s going a lot better now that I’m using woolly nylon in it. I think my relationship with my coverstitch is a bit strained – it’s taking me some time to fall in love, but in situations like this it was a real help.
I didn’t take any snaps of the kids wearing their rashies at swim lessons because I’m always wary of not including other peoples kids in my photos and it was a bit impossible to achieve that on days with the beach so crowded. So instead here are some photos of them in action at my favourite spot in the world, Matilda Bay on the Swan River. We have a tradition of coming here for a picnic as a family on our wedding anniversary each year, and it really was a beautiful afternoon celebrating with the kids making giant sand castles and swimming with the swans.