Colored Bikinis (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Description : A two-piece swimsuit worn almost exclusively by women, consisting of a cover for the breasts and a separate piece for the pelvis. The separate components of the bikini resemble women's underwear - the bra for the top and the panties for the bottom. Note that the term "bikini" is also applied to a particular type of both men's and women's underwear ("briefs").
Subtypes : The string bikini is the smallest available, offering the least coverage. The bottom consits of a small triangle that covers the front area, and then a small string connects through to the back. The top consists of two small triangles held together with a segment of string and straps that pass halter-top style around the neck, or which tie at the back. The thong bikini offers only slightly more coverage than the string bikini. The sports bikini is designed for women who play sports. Like a sports bra, it's especially designed to provide extra support for movement.
Parts : The bikini is divided into two pieces, usually called the bikini top and the bikini bottom. Bikini bottoms may consist of briefs, shorts, briefs with a small skirt panel, thongs or strings. Bikini tops may vary from providing full coverage in a tank top style (sometimes called a tankini), through individual triangles for each breast. They may be attached at the back or at the back of the neck, halter-top style.
Preferred fabrics : Modern bikinis are made from a range of possible fabrics, although the use of synthetic fabrics is now widespread. Spandex or Lycra is widely used, usually in combination with fibres such as nylon, or cotton or polyester. Neoprene is also sometimes used.
Construction : Choose a pattern in the style and type that you like. Choose fabric in a pattern and color that pleases you. Swimwear fabric and lining fabric should both have stretch. Usually, patterns will come with stretch requirements for the fabric, so be sure to check your pattern before buying anything. You will also need swimwear elastic, hook closures and possibly bra cups, depending on the pattern. Choose the pattern size that best fits your measurements for the top and bottom. Cut the pattern and pin it to your fabric, allowing for the fabric design to fall exactly in the places you want. Cut the fabric as directed in the pattern instructions and baste the outside pieces together. Try the suit on, if this is possible, to make sure that it fits in all the ways that you want, and make any necessary adjustments. Then take apart the basting, noting adjustments, and sew the whole swimsuit together properly. Be sure to add lining, bra cups and other support details where appropriate. Put the bathing suit on to test the fit again before binding the edges. If the suit fits, bind the edges with extra or contrasting fabric and finish all details.
Sewing problem areas : Your lining should have as much stretch as your outer fabric.Take into account the fabric when determining your size. You may find that some swimwear fabric stretches well only lengthwise or width-wise, so plan ahead. Four-way stretch Lycra is best. Always buy a little extra fabric, just in case the fabric design requires a particular arrangement of pattern pieces. You may also need extra for binding edges. Choose swimwear top patterns by bust size first, then fit the rest. Make sure that bra cup inserts lay properly and can be removed for adjustment.The bust of a swimsuit can be altered to a larger size by cutting slits along an armhole-to-bustline line and spreading the pattern there for extra fabric.
Example creations : Retro bikini, Red "Jessica" bikini,
Example patterns : BurdaStyle "Jessica" bikini, Video tutorial series on making a bikini,
Uses worldwide :
Roman bikiniOrigins and history : The bikini in its modern form was developed by the French in postwar Europe (1946). It elicited a great deal of controversy when it appeared on the French Riviera. It was named the "bikini" in reference to the Bikini Atoll, one of the test sites for nuclear weapons following the war, a kind of back-handed joke concerning its projected impact. The bikini today is the number one item of swimwear for women with a huge worldwide industry behind it. Despite its more modern re-invention, however, the garment has existed from at least the Roman era, as the illustration at the right, a mosaic in the Villa del Casale on the Piazza Armerina in Sicily, dating from that era, shows.
Alternate names :
Related or similar garments : Bra, Sports Bra, Panties, Briefs
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