Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rashie 1

We went to the beach a few times over Christmas, and I usually relied on my trusty one-piece.

One afternoon, about to hit the beach, I put on my trusty one-piece, and found it was itchy. It must have had sand in it! Alternative? My mismatched bikini, hot pink florals on top and wild orange florals on bottom :). BUT I have a mummy tummy, and I didn't want to flaunt it. Easy solution, I thought - add a t-shirt! So I did. But that afternoon, as I got wetter I got heavier. My t-shirt dragged and flopped uncomfortably in the waves, and out of the sea stayed sodden. Enviously I stared at another woman's cute rashie top - loud florals with contrasting black panels - it looked comfortable and cute.

I went to my nearest department store for inspiration, and was not inspired: the rash tops were conservative and expensive. And then I searched for rash tops on the sewing blogosphere. I didn't find much, but what I found convinced me a rash top would be an easy make.

Enter Rashie 1:)

Rashie 1 nearly succeeds - it meets the comfort criterion, but I'm unconvinced about the cute criterion. Rashie 1 is a wearable muslin:


I wore it to the pool recently to test its performance; here it is after a swim:



Sorry about the photos - not very crisp or interesting, I know, but the kids weren't in the mood for photo-taking and I wasn't in the mood for posing in front of lots of strangers. I do love the backdrop though - filed away ages ago without much thought about the multiplicative embarrassment of swimwear in public, no war paint, wet hair, and thighs!

Although the top looked and felt like a snug fit when dry, in the water it stretched a bit - you can see some looseness all over in the photo above, but the looseness at hip level is what I really noticed in the water. In fact, I think it needs to be taken down a size all over to achieve the snug fit I wanted.  I probably should have realised it was too big as compared against the bikini bottoms (which are snug) - see how much wider the top is in the photo below? Mind you, this is another wet photo, and since the bottoms are fully lined and their waist stabilised with a frill :) they didn't stretch as much in the water:


The fabric is a pretty amazing match for my RTW wild orange floral bikini bottoms, isn't it! Just a cheapo from Lincraft, so perhaps it's a knockoff:



Only a fellow sewist would venture this far into the blog post, so here are a few more pics of the rash top on.  This is the best back view I have, but I don't think you can really see the main design change I made to the original pattern - omitting the centre back seam and invisible zip.  I can't imagine using an invisible zip in swimwear!


And just one more - yes, I really do need to take it in:




Now for the Sewing Info

I couldn't find a rashie pattern per se, but I found a pattern I could work with: BurdaStyle pattern 120 06/2011. It's a pattern for a fitted t-shirt with a high neckline and short sleeves, as well as centre back seam with an invisible zip.  

I cut out the pattern in a size 38, with about 3cm extra length and with both back and front cut on the fold - I ignored the pattern's centre back seam. On sewing front and back together at shoulder seams and trying it on, I found that the armscyes were too low for the fit you want with a rashie, so I took in the shoulder seam by about 1.5 cm to raise the armscye. This also lifted the neckline - fine because a rashie is supposed to cover you all the way up to your neck. The sleeves then had too much fabric to fit well so I just did a quick and dirty removal of (3+cm) excess fabric from the sleeve cap before serging the edges:  


The sleeves look fine in the end... instead of using a twin needle straight stitch for hems (as I'd usually do with swimwear or knits), I finished the hems with a three-step zig-zag. I think I recall Katherine using this finish on some of her swimwear ages ago:


And although rashie tops usually have a short funnel neck to protect the lowest part of your neck, I decided to try something different. Using the sewn top as a guide I cut out 7cm wide facings, top sewn again with a three-step zig-zag: 


And that's all!

If you need a rashie for yourself, it's a really easy make - go on!


See you soon



- Gabrielle x













16 comments:

  1. Gabbrielle it looks fabulous (as do you!). They are so expensive especially if you want something bright and happy. I have a friend who makes rashies with separating zip front. She uses very very nice fabric of really great quality but they have to have 50 SPF rating and that makes them expensive (at least I think $100 is expensive as any sewist probably would) I have to make a rashie for my son as he left his somewhere! Great fabric match - sure it isn't the real thing it looks a perfect match.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I noticed that at the shops - anything swimwear that's interesting or fun costs an absolute bomb! The more I look at rtw swimwea the more convinced I am to learn to make it. Your friend's tops sound really cool - I think I know the kind of thing you mean :)

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  2. Wow that is so cute! Often performance wear escapes the 'I can make that category,' but you proved that it's totally possible to make cute and functional!

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    1. Thanks Meg! A simple rashie like this is dead easy to make :). I am definitely going to make more!

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  3. What a great idea! And I cannot believe the perfect fabric match you found. I thought at first the bottoms must also be me-made. Wow! The swimwear gods were smiling upon you that fabric shopping day :) great rashy, you got the shape just right. I usually find a nice snug fit is the best even if it sometimes makes me feel a bit body conscious. That last thing you want is a loose, floppy, wet annoyance. I almost always wear a rashy when swimming with my little one. Even a one piece can be a bit frightening with grabby, learning to swim hands reaching out to prevent drowning. Wardrobe malfunctions are not welcome ;)

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    1. Pretty lucky, hey! They're not identical - the top is just s little less vibrant than the bottoms, but not really noticeable. Yes, snug is best, definitely! My kids are past that grabbing stage but who wants floppy swimwear!

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  4. I need a rashie too! Make me one??

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    1. Very funny :). It'd take you about 5 minutes to make your own! I might even have some left over fabric if you like safety orange!

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  5. Great rashie and perfect fabric find. The Remnant Warehouse has loads of swimwear fabric and so some fantastic prints!

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    1. Thanks Sharon - I've never been to the Remnant Warehouse: sounds like I should!

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  6. I thought you made the bottom as well because the fabric looks eactly the same! You look GREAT in your rashie! My daughter recently bought swimwear like this - a tank top and a pair of shorts. The fit of the top is very snug body hugging snug but not tight. Oh well, she hasn't worn it in the water yet :) but I'm hoping that it wouldn't get all loose in the water :)

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    1. No :( not the bottoms... Thank you, it is pretty loud but I guess that's fine for swimwear plus I I love loud! Version 2 will definitely be more snug, hopefully like your daughter's. And I suspect how much it loosens in the water has something to do with the fabric quality...

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  7. Rashie!! So cute, I'm making one of these for sure, come swim season. Yours looks great.

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    1. Thanks! Cool, I'll look forward to seeing yours - seriously easy sewing :)

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  8. I've got J&L Patterns bathers pattern number 106 - it wouldn't take much to turn it into a rashie. It's very similar to a rashie I bought my daughter. Hers had side panels, a full-length front zip and a mandarin collar, with the front edges and collar bound in a contrasting colour - easy to get on and off, and really stylish. It looked like a coordinating jacket!

    J&L were based in Osborne Park, Western Australia in the 90s - not sure what happened to them, but they had some interesting patterns for adults and kids. They are probably available occasionally on Ebay.

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    1. I'll look out for that! I have picked up at least one J&L pattern at second hand stores but they've been for kids' swimwear only. Your daughter's rashie sounds great - I love the idea of side panels! I've seen some quite radical interpretations of the traditional rashie in recent fashion magazines - long sleeves and next to no bodice, crazy cutouts and interesting zips - so there are lots of options :) but not sure they'd achieve the sun protection aim!

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