DIY Swimwear with a Built-in Big Bust Bra that Fits!

I bought swimsuit spandex on a whim a couple of years ago, when I was in a very ambitious mood and thought I could make my own cup-sized swimwear. But once I had it at home in my sewing room, I panicked. Spandex scares me!

Then in May of this year, I came across this awesome tutorial about how to sew a built-in shelf bra. The bra shown in the tutorial is definitely not supportive enough for larger busts, but I figured I could make some adjustments and get it to work. There are some things I would definitely improve next time, but overall I am happy with the final result!


I’m not going to do a full tutorial, since the Burda Style tutorial is really great at explaining how to make the built-in bra. I will tell you the supplies you need in order to do this yourself and provide photos of the full-bust adjustments I made! [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Partying with Eveden

It’s another Eveden post this week! A couple weeks ago, Darlene and I attended a “70s dance party” thrown by Eveden for bloggers and other members of the press. We got to see models try on anything we requested from the latest season, got fitted (I’m happy to report that I’m already in the correct size), and even enjoyed some muffins and other breakfast goodies.

It wasn’t really a dance party, but I guess some of the collection is inspired by the 1970s, and the lovely PR ladies wore ’70s-inspired outfits. In fact, that’s one of the things I love about the Eveden brands and is part of why I like supporting them—they are very accommodating and welcoming to press!

Most of what I was interested in was the trendy swimwear cuts I shared in my coverage of the last Curve show. It really makes a difference to see these things on a real person in front of me. But I also have a few other tidbits to share…

First up, what I last referred to as the “standout” of the show, the “Pinup” set. I’m surprised to see how long it looks on a real body. With my long torso, I pretty much always expect long items to actually be a conservative length on me. This one’s definitely worth trying!



Moving on to swimwear:

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Fitting In ~ Cup-sized Swimwear Changed My Life

I’m a Jersey Girl. We don’t go to the beach, we go “Down the shore . . .” and the music of Bruce Springsteen was pretty much the sound track to my adolescence. So when the Boss covered the Tom Wait’s song “Jersey Girl”, it should have summed up those 80’s for me, as I actually lived them.

“Cause down the shore everything’s alright . . . .”

Except it wasn’t. For me. Plus-size and full-busted, I had a really hard time ever finding a swimsuit. Even as a child, wearing a hand-me-down one-piece of my older sister’s, I hated getting sand into the crotch of the swimsuit that was stretched out after years of being worn by someone taller than me.

Then when I was shopping for my own suits, I couldn’t find anything in conventional stores and couldn’t find enough bust support in plus-sized swimwear. For two decades, if I couldn’t go skinny-dipping, I would wear men’s swim trunks and a t-shirt over an ill-fitting bra. So, as you might imagine — I didn’t swim much. Maybe a handful of times in my twenties and thirties. Otherwise, I stayed out of the sun and out of the fun. Pool parties, weeks at the beach, vacations to sunny, summery locales . . . I turned it all down and stayed indoors.

Only my dermatologist was happy. Cup-sized swimwear changed all that when I found it in 2007. And I’m making up for lost time trying to get in all the vitamin D I can manage. I even, in my 40’s, took up surfing.

Earlier this summer, a good friend took me to see Sir Paul McCartney perform in Philadelphia as part of his Out There tour.  Comfortably secure in a swim bra under a summer dress, with no cares about straps showing or lingerie being on display, I was able to get lost in the music.  Singing along to old Beatles & Wings tunes, I was completely un-selfconscious about what I wore.  That took nearly half a century, but I was able to be Out There. 

So my hope for my fellow full bust sisters is that you find a swimsuit and sink your toes in the sand or in the grass.  That you build sand castles or run through sprinklers; that you go tubing down a river or snorkeling or surfing or flying kites on a beach.  That you let a cup-sized bikini top do double duty as a bra under a summer dress.  Try one of the suits we’ve reviewed and get Out There.


Happy Summer!

Busty and the Beach – Curvy Kate Starry Eyed Bikini Review

Hourglassy writers have been feeling pretty lucky to be able to review cup-sized swimwear all month, so when I opened my package from Curvy Kate to an extra bikini with my Moonflower tankini, I felt extra lucky! The Starry Eyed bikini was given to me by Curvy Kate, but all opinions are my own.

This bikini gave me a great opportunity to compare the fit of two different Curvy Kate swimsuit styles. While the 32FF unpadded Moonflower fit my chest perfectly, the 32FF padded Starry Eyed gave me a giant case of quadraboob. My need to size up in the padded cups is consistent with Leah’s and Patsy’s experiences with the Coco Loco and Luau Love.

After confirming that I only spilled out the top of the cups and nowhere else, Curvy Kate sent me a 32G instead. As soon as it arrived, I didn’t want to take it off. The 32G top gave me such a nice, rounded lift and so much support that I kept it on under a tee shirt and went to meet a friend for coffee.

curvy kate starry eyed profile

The interior of the cups is the same as Patsy described in her Luau Love review, and there is supportive side boning as well. The band is very firm with black power mesh beneath the print fabric. The center gore tacks perfectly. In these photos, you probably notice some wrinkling in the left cup fabric overlay. Perhaps a little extra fabric ended up in a couple of the 3-part overlay panels because this cup is certainly not too large.

starry eyed front hardware detail

Don’t you love the matching star hardware?

starry eyed bottom tie detail

More matching star hardware in the drawstring bottoms.

Overall this isn’t a “wow” design, but it’s classic and comfortable.

starry eyed front 1

curvy kate starry eyed back

The size medium bottoms didn’t feel 100% secure while swimming my 10 laps at the YMCA (perhaps 92%? I could feel the water resistance pressing down against the waist band–as well as the center gore), but of all the suits I’ve reviewed this month, these bottoms felt the most secure for bum coverage.

starry eyed bottom legs detail

Like the Moonflower bottoms, the Starry Eyed bottoms are only lined in the front and crotch, but I checked the mirror while sopping wet after swimming and didn’t find the back to be see-through. Speaking of sopping wet, here are front and side views immediately after getting out of the pool.

starry eyed after swimming front

starry eyed after swimming side

I’ll remove the tag before I go swimming in this suit next time!

Based on Leah’s, Patsy’s, Mia’s and my reviews, Curvy Kate is a big win for cup-sized swimwear. I hope our reviews of all our suits this month will help your own swimsuit choices for the rest of the summer!