Heart-to-Heart with Diane

Hello and Welcome! Isn't raising a family the greatest!? I know I've got the best job in the world, just being Mom! I love sharing things I've discovered that make being "Mom" better, easier or more fulfilling, and that is what this blog is all about. Welcome!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Swim Modest

Pretty Emily, my 2nd daughter, on Catalina Island

Having girls is quite another thing. After 3 boys in a row, I got a daughter! And when she was old enough to wear a swimsuit, I was in for a shock. Yes, she was just a baby, but I could already see that the world and I were not going to agree on how much of my daughter's skin they were going to get to see.

So began a very long shop-a-thon which left me empty-handed. We experimented. Covering a normal swimsuit with a t-shirt and shorts was not the answer (a wet t-shirt is very immodest!) Then I began a sewing fury, trying this and that, mostly failures. To dress my daughters in modest swimsuits became an obsession. We tried so many things!

I went to the local swimming pool to observe. If it wasn't so sad, it would be laughable. Every teen and woman there was in a pull-and-yank struggle to keep covered. First it was a two-handed pull-down of the back of the suit so the panty didn't ride up on their bottom. Then it was a yank to the front neck to keep their cleavage a bit more covered. Then on to the underarms to try once again to keep their breasts more covered, and then to the front crotch area, trying to make a tiny width of fabric cover a very private part of the body. This didn't look fun!

This called for some serious pattern drawing. I had lots of sewing experience, and my husband is an engineer, so he got out his drafting tools and some pattern paper. We slaved most of a summer away trying to come up with the perfect swimsuit!

My first goal in creating a swimsuit was modesty, but comfort and stylishness are very pretty important too. Finally, after lots of failed attempts, and a whole summer of sewing prototypes and lots of hysterical laughter when my daughters were summoned to try on yet another suit, we finally designed a suit that everyone seemed to feel comfortable, modest and stylish in! It is made of quick-drying lyrcra swim fabric that stretches with your body's movements. It has sewn-in lightly padded no-show-through bra cups (instead of those limp, panel bras). The sarong skirt (sewn in) drapes beautifully giving the crotch coverage that make us feel much more at ease. Under the skirt are shorts, not a panty, thank goodness, so you can sit at ease cross-legged in the sand without ever tugging at anything! And it is all one piece, so no worry about midriff showing, sarong falling off or anything else. Finally, liberation! Hurray!

Little girls look charming in them, big girls and moms feel comfy and relaxed. Older women appreciate the skin coverage. Boaters wear them as "splashwear". Sun sensitive people love the fact that they give top-of-the-arm and thigh coverage, where sunburns can be so painful. People who would feel ill at ease wearing a swimsuit into a store think they are great and dash into the store in them. No need for a cover-up.

If you are ready for something new, something more modest than what the stores are showing, try a Swim Modest swimsuit. I think you will be delighted!

See a big gallery of modest swimsuit photos here.

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  • At February 23, 2010 at 8:43 PM , Blogger TerriW said...

    Are there going to be new styles/sizes coming out for the upcoming season?

    My very-tall-for-her-age 6yo girl likes her Tropical Pink, but really misses her Wave Blue that she no longer fits in. She keeps asking if we can get it for her next year. (She'd need a girls 10-12, since it runs a size small.)

  • At February 24, 2010 at 5:20 AM , Blogger Stephanie said...

    I love these swimsuits! I'm so dissatisfied with swimsuits in the stores, but haven't been able to find anything modest and fashionable - this is perfect! Did you make the pattern yourself? Is there a way I could buy the pattern so I could make it myself?

  • At February 24, 2010 at 7:15 AM , Blogger Elisha Jones said...

    I absolutely love these. My daughter received so many positive comments wearing hers. I am going to be purchasing some more this year. Thanks so much for these wonderful swimsuits!

  • At February 24, 2010 at 7:52 AM , Blogger Faith said...

    I had the same question, I wanted a certain color but it isn't available in my size. Are you going to have more available for the next season?

  • At February 24, 2010 at 11:03 AM , Blogger Diane Hopkins said...

    Just like anything in the fashion industry, fabric is printed in runs of so many yards, and when it is gone, they make a new print. So if we had a fabric color you like, it won't be back, I am sad to say. I have my favorite prints, that I wish I could buy fabric every year, but fashion is a ever-changing market. But we continually get new prints, as we carry our suits year-round. I have a new design coming out this summer, a 2 piece suit. It will have a little tennis skirt attached over the shorts which come high on the waist to protect from midriff exposure, and the top will be separate. This makes it easier to use the restroom or nurse but less "secure" feeling——you might want to tug the top down once in a while. And I really hate "tugging"! My favorite is still the sarong suit that Emily is wearing above, but this will give modest swimmers more options!

    My favorite is the pink "Crazy Daisy" print that my daughter Emily is wearing in the photo. The fabric is very "in" right now, with paisleys, hot pink, light pink, lime green and turquoise in the print. I wish you could feel it! It is a quality fabric.

  • At February 24, 2010 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Diane Hopkins said...

    Sewing them yourself:

    I get this question and a request for a pattern often. I did create the pattern myself, with the help of my husband who knew drafting. It is the final product of more hours and sewing prototypes that I care to remember, hee hee.

    The trick with sewing on swimwear fabric is that it has "negative ease". In all things we sew, we have to add ease, or more room to the garment so it will be comfortable to wear. With swimsuit fabric, it goes the other way. If you make it fit, it will fall off in the water. So this is a highly specialized skill, and I got way in over my head when I attempted it. Thankfully, I realized it and found experts to help me produce them.

    It takes fabric that is made for swimming, and has a certain dimension of stretch, plus special thread and special multiple needle sewing machines that sew a very stretchy seam, otherwise, all the movement in a suit would pop the seams. The elastic must be made especially for swimwear, or the chlorine will ruin it within a few wearings. The stitches are specialized just for swimsuits. It is more complicated than I can explain. So I have an excellent sewing shop that makes the suits for me in the USA so I can see exactly what is going on and keep the quality control good.

    In other words: don't try this at home. Believe me, it will be an expensive experiment and a headache. I know! I don't even sew my own girls' suits. It's worth the price to have them made right and look right, not homemade. So, please enjoy that they are available!

  • At February 24, 2010 at 1:05 PM , Blogger Chocolate on my Cranium said...

    Hurray!!!! With seven daughters ages 14 on down we fight this battle every year. We will definitely take a look at the Swim Modest suits.

  • At February 24, 2010 at 1:28 PM , Blogger Ann said...

    I just showed this video and read your words to my three teenage daughters and asked them if they would wear them. They all three said, "NO WAY!" They all said that it looks like a dress, not a swim suit. I was so disappointed! Even my ultra-religious daughter said no. Darn. However, my two younger daughters will definately be wearing them and my son will also be very well coverd in the boy version! I love full body suits and bought many of them while we were in Botswana where everyone wears them because the sun is so intense there. Maybe my younger generation of kids, growing up in full body suits, will still be willing to wear them as teens. My current teens wore regular suits as small children so are not willing to switch. Thanks for putting so much time and effort into a great product!

  • At February 24, 2010 at 5:12 PM , Blogger Tracey said...

    I'd be excited to see a 2 piece suit with a solid color top and print bottom.

  • At February 25, 2010 at 5:51 AM , Blogger Tammy said...

    Oh, I am so glad that you're coming out with a 2-piece! I have one of the full-body suits, and I LOVE it, but I rarely get to wear it because I'm either pregnant or nursing. There's another idea--a maternity swimsuit! Thanks for all your hard work, and for providing this line of modest swimwear!


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