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Sew Along with ALD: Rad Patterns Supersuit!

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Welcome to Week 3 of Amelia Lane Designs' Summer Swim Spectacular! This week we will be sewing the Supersuit from Rad Patterns. The Supersuit is a vintage-inspired design with lots of options and detailed instructions for ensuring your best fit. Be sure to join the event in the ALD Group on Facebook to get daily updates and ask questions as we #SALwithALD this week.

Here is our schedule for the week:

Day 1 (7/6): Pattern assembly and pick fabric

Day 2 (7/7): Cut fabric

Day 3 (7/8): Bust assembly

Day 4 (7/9): Bodice assembly

Day 5 (7/10): Finish body, legs and straps

Day 6 (7/11): Catch up

Day 7 (7/12): Share!

Here we go! Starting off Day 1, today we're going to prepare the pattern.

Take your measurements and choose your options, then print and cut out the pattern pieces. The tutorial includes printing instructions for using the "layers" feature and only printing the sizes you'll be using which will make cutting and adjusting much easier.

Before you cut, be sure to reference pages 24-25 of the tutorial for fit/adjustment help. It includes help fitting for larger bust sizes and lengthen/shorten instructions that may be different than what you’re used to from adjusting other patterns. I needed to shorten my bottoms, so I'll share how I did that here.

Also check out page 4 of the tutorial for elastic and fabric band measurements. Elastic will be needed for the neckline and center front ruching regardless of other options you choose.

These images show the steps I needed to take to shorten my Supersuit bottoms to adjust for my height. It's recommended to remove it equally in three places. If you're making a 2-piece suit, you'll only remove from one or two places depending on the height of the bottoms you're choosing, but you'll still want to follow this process to calculate the appropriate amount to adjust for those specific portions of your torso. Remember to adjust the height in the exact same way across all of your pieces (front, back, side panel) These instructions are found on pages 24-25 of the tutorial, but I've summarized them here in how I needed to shorten for height.

I'm 6" shorter than the drafted height of this pattern. I'm supposed to shorten 1/3 of this amount spread evenly over the suit. 1/3 of 6" is 2". 2" split into three sections is 2/3" at each lengthen/shorten line. Because 2/3" is difficult for me to measure with my ruler, I decided to just call it 5/8". So I shortened 5/8" at the regular cut line, 5/8" at the high rise cut line ... and then just skipped shortening at the ultra high/one piece line because I wasn't using that option. First, I drew my lines then cut and re-taped my pattern pieces after shortening. At the end, I've got all of my pattern pieces ready along with a note to myself as a reminder of the elastic and fabric band cut lengths that I found on page 4 of the tutorial. If you're sewing along, be sure to add your daily progress on today's post! It will count as a prize drawing entry and it's the best place to check in with any questions you may have along the way.

Day 2 - let's cut this fabric! If it's your first time working with swim, I recommend using LOTS of pattern weights to help make sure nothing shifts while you're cutting.

I used my very last scraps of Melon Dots swim along with Arbor Triathalon Tricot. Triathalon Tricot is one of my all-time favorite fabric bases. It really feels amazing to wear, cut, AND sew. Don't forget to cut any bands and elastic needed for the options you choose.

If you're sewing along this week, be sure to go check out our daily post and share your progress for entries into our prize drawing.

Day 3! Today we start sewing the top chest portion of the suit.

We'll be working through pages 4-6 of the tutorial.

If making a 2-piece, continue on page 7 to add bottom band. If making a 1-piece or skirted top, stop at page 6. When you're finished with this portion, you'll have a top piece without straps that either has a bottom band or is ready to be attached to skirt/bottoms later.

  • Starting with a pic of my main fabric and lining basted together as instructed. I have clips marking the "quarters". When you find the center front and back, you'll notice that the side seams do not fall exactly in between. When you make your quarters to match up with your stretched elastic, your side points will be on the front bodice piece.

  • Next is a close-up view of my quarter mark point being about 3/4" inch or so forward of the side seam .

  • I found one instruction step missing from the tutorial, and that is to sew your elastic into a loop before attaching to the bodice. Overlap your ends about 1/2" and stitch together.

  • The elastic is quite a bit smaller than the top! Get ready to stretch it. This is how the top is able to fit securely even without straps if you're choosing the strapless option.

  • Here, I've lined up my front and side elastic quarter markings with the fabric quarter markings.

  • Stretch the elastic between your quarter marks so it lies flat along the fabric edge and add more pins or clips to help yourself when you're actually sewing it together in the next step.

  • Sew the elastic! Go slow, pulling evenly as you go along.

I found the rest of the instructions for top stitching and attaching the center ruching/band were much easier to follow in the tutorial so I didn't take pics of all those steps here, but this is what your top portion should look like at the end of today (minus the bottom band if you're going to be doing a skirted or 1-piece version).

If you're sewing along this week, be sure to go back to the group post and share your progress pics!

Today we start the main body assembly steps.

If you're making a 2-piece suit, you'll get started making bottoms today and finish the skirted top if you're using that option.

If you're making a 1-piece suit, you'll get started on the regular or skirted body assembly.

  • Skirted Top Assembly pg 17

  • Bottoms Assembly pg 19-20 (Steps 1-5. Stitch crotch seams together for brief style or attach crotch extension pieces for boy shorts (step 15). Stop here.

  • 1-piece Body Assembly pg 8-9 (stop at step 6)

  • Skirted 1-piece Body Assembly pg 12-14 (stop at step 9)

I finished my banded top yesterday, so for today's portion I've assembled my boyshort bottoms main and lining. If you're sewing along this week, share your progress with this portion in the comments on today's post!

The final steps! There are a lot of options here, but today's the day to finish leg holes, attach any bands, put 1-piece suites together, and add shoulder straps if you choose.

  • Bottoms Leg Holes finishing pg 19-21 (starting at step 6 for brief or 16 for boyshort)

  • Bottoms Assembly Waistband pg 21-22

  • Bottoms Skirted Assembly pg 22-23

  • 1-piece Body Assembly pg 10-17 (starting at step 7, following along for brief or boyshort options)

  • Skirted 1-piece Body Assembly pg 14-16 (starting at step 10, following along for brief or boyshort options)

  • *OPTIONAL* Strap Assembly if you choose pg 18

I put my lining inside the bottoms and added a waistband, then finished the boyshort leg holes. I also added shoulder straps to the top. If you're sewing along this week, make sure to share your progress on our group post! Tomorrow will be a sewing catch up day, and sharing finished suits (flat lays or worn) on Sunday! Thank you for sewing along with me! I can't wait to see what you make :)

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