- Regular sewing machine capable of a zig zag stitch (required for foldover seams)
This is going to be one of those construction methods that's simply best shown through video instead of illustrated like in these written directions. Because of this, we strongly recommend you pull up the video tutorial at the same time so you can crossreference some of the more complicated steps in these directions. You can find that here: https://youtu.be/ANV4z3G6Rv8
Assemble your pattern and cut your desired size.
Then, cut 2 of each pattern piece in your swimwear fabric. 1/4" seam allowance is included. If you're making your swimsuit with two different fabrics, cut 1 of each pattern piece in EACH fabric.
At this step you will also cut your 2 band pieces required for this style, and the exact measurements for those are provided inside the pattern.
First we need to attach our bands.
We're going to attach the bands to both the front and back pieces, but we're going to do different stitches for each.
Start with one of the back pieces. Place the band onto the waistline of one of the back pieces, right sides together, and pin.
Then take the other back piece and match its waistline with the remaining long edge of the band, right sides together.
Pin, and then sew a basting stitch on both waistlines to secure the band in place.
Now take out your front piece.
For the front piece you will also arrange the band onto the front pieces with right sides together, just like for the back pieces. However, instead of a basting stitch you are going to use a mix of stitches. As shown in the illustrations, you want to sew a basting stitch in the middle but on the edges you want to sew an overlock or zig zag stitch. We recommend you sew the overlock/zig zag inwards about 2-3", but it doesn't hurt to do more than that.
The reason why we aren't just sewing this band with an overlock the whole way is because it may get bulky when we sew across it again in a later step.
Now that our bands are attached we're going to put the front piece aside and just focus on the back piece. This style is designed to have foldover seams on the back piece, so if you want to make concealed seams you'll want to skip this step and treat the back piece and front piece the same way.
First we want to secure in our band so it doesn't move around when worn. With your back piece still inside out (and right sides together), tuck the band down inside the waistline so it doesn't show anymore.
You will match up the two basting stitches we made previously. Then, using an overlock or zig zag stitch, sew across to secure the band in.
This is your final stitch on this seam, so make it secure!
Our band is secured and now we need to sew the leg holes.
First, make sure your back piece has wrong sides together- it should be right sides out!
To sew foldover seams, first use a basting stitch and tack down both of the leg lines.
Then, using an overlock stitch or zig zag stitch, sew and attach elastic onto the lining side. You will want to give a slight stretch to the elastic here- about a 1-3% seam reduction, or enough stretch so it's just barely scrunched.
For more information on how to sew elastic, click here.
Part 2 of this foldover seam is folding over the elastic onto the lining side, then using a zig zag stitch to top stitch the seam down.
Use a wide and shorter zig zag stitch. Focus it to the inside of the garment, you don't want to get too close to the outer edge or else your elastic might flip and not sit right. It's ok for the zig zag to be around 1/8" away from the edge.
This will complete our prep of the back piece!
The front piece has concealed seams, so we are going to work with it while it's inside out.
First, match your front piece with right sides together. Using a basting stitch, tack down the leg holes.
Then, go in to sew and attach elastic using an overlock or zig zag stitch. For this seam you do not want to stretch your elastic.
Now we're going to secure the band in a similar way as we did for the back piece.
Tuck the band inside so it's completely in the waistline, but instead of sewing all the way from edge to edge we're just going to sew the middle. Sew so you meet up with the overlocking we did when attaching the band, this way there aren't gaps.
The reason we don't want to sew all the way across is because we need to fully access those sides, which includes the band. If we sewed it all the way across we wouldn't be able to pull the sides out like in the next step. So try not to sew any closer than 2" away from the edge, otherwirse the next step will be tricky!
Now take your back piece and insert it inside of the front piece, so right sides together. Your front piece is still inside out, but your back piece is right side out.
Align it at the sides and gusset and then pin across all 4 layers of fabric to secure. Use extra pins on the sides, as attaching the band and lining up your seams in this area is the hardest part of this tutorial!
You'll then want to sew the sides and the gusset down. You can use either a straight stitch, stretch stitch, or an overlock stitch for this. Afterward, trim the excess.
This illustration shows how the band of the front piece is able to peek up and fully align with the band on the back piece. This is why we didn't sew all the way across!
Before we take this piece to the right side, we're going to make our last effort to get this band secured in so it doesn't twist. Using an overlock or zig zag stitch, sew your band together again as if you were continuing from Step 5. You won't be able to sew all the way across, but get as close as you can without running over the side seams we just sewed.
Now make a 2-3" hole with a seam ripper somewhere along an existing seam. If desired, tack the seam down on either side of the ripping to prevent it from unraveling.
Then, take the bottoms all the way to the right side. Finish off the hole by top stitching it with a straight stitch or zig zag stitch, or you can sew an invisible stitch by hand.
That completes the Oakley Bottoms!