This past summer, something of an explosion in interest in crochet swimwear occurred in my city. It is highly possible that this happened also elsewhere in the country, but I was generally surprised by the sudden demand. Crochet swimwear has been fashionable in recent years, but I really did not expect this trend to reach my city so late xD. Given this phenomenon, I eventually received quite a few custom orders on crochet bikinis & swimsuits. I have made such projects in the past, but this year I decided to deviate from my previous practices. I tried out new techniques and very pleasantly, new yarns!
For each part of each garment I experimented with different details:
For the bikini bra cups I tried out a new construction method, and experimented with short rows. The shape for all projects was a basic triangle, but I learned that by adding a bit of width at certain places with the use of short rows, the overall fit of the cups improved considerably. Upon request, I also added bra foam cups. These work well for the bikini tops in terms of stability and comfort (and some extra ‘help’).
While I have made bikini bottoms before, I have never tried making proper shorts. I usually work bikini bottoms, bottom-up (from crotch and upwards), but the lace pattern of the shorts above demanded a top-down construction. It was a little bit demanding at first and required a few tries to get it right, but all in all, very educational process. I basically created two large openings for the legs and then worked in rows just for the crotch. They key element here was how the crotch was connected to the leg openings. Upon my first tries, the result was not very good looking. The lace pattern itself created some unsightly gaps that needed a bit of fiddling to be filled without making the shorts too narrow or too wide.
Regarding the one piece swimsuits, I followed the same construction as before, with several modifications, mostly in sizing. The two examples shown here, the black and blue, have high leg cut, deep V-neck opening and a semi-low and very low back opening respectively. While lying flat in the pictures it is not easy to visualize, but these garments when worn are very, very sexy. I think these must be the sexiest projects I’ve made to date. (Too bad I can’t show you modeled pictures :/ )
As for the yarns, I didn’t use the 100% cotton light fingering yarn I usually employ. Instead I tried something different. I am very pleased that I discovered the stretch yarns made by Alize and Nako. These are very stretchy microfiber yarns made for elastic garments, such as swimsuits. The Alize Diva Stretch is a fingering weight with very generous yardage, while the Nako Comfort Stretch, a slight heavier weight with smaller skeins and half the yardage (Don’t know why in Ravelry the weight is marked as light fingering, it is closer to Sport). They are both easy to work with, and produce a very nice result, very close to manufactured swimsuit fabric. The colors are quite resistant to sunlight and salt water, which is also a plus.
Their light yarn weight also enables the knitter/crocheter to use double or triple strands and control the thickness of the finished fabric very easily. I used Diva Stretch double stranded throughout, as it is very thin, and normally worked with a 1,5 to 2mm hook.
Both yarns are an excellent alternative to cotton, as they dry out quickly, are colorfast and of course, stretchy! These will definitely be my go-to yarns for all stretchy garments from now on.
I have created a small stash for myself with Diva stretch yarns for future projects/designs. I think that I will have a hard time choosing with which color to start working first, all of them are quite impressive (especially for a color addict, such as myself xD). Or should I maybe just give up and try some colorwork? 😀