The Beige Bra of Swimsuits: Ipswich Review

Disclaimer: All opinions stated in this post are my own. I have not received any type of compensation from anyone for making this project.

Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette is one of, if not my favorite, designer(s). What I’ve recently discovered is that her style is not my style. She’s no pockets, I’m all pockets. She seems to prefer knits, I prefer wovens. She likes sleeveless, I prefer sleeves. I own her Appleton, Washington, Harrison, Concord, Upton, Turner and Ipswich patterns but, I’ve only made the Appleton, Concord and Turner heretofore.

The Appleton and Turner are two of my favorite and most used patterns. I’ve made changes to each pattern, too. I’ve sewn the Appleton in sizes 12-18 GH with amazing results every time. I always cut both sides at wide width for more coverage and occasionally shorten it a couple of inches. Apart from that I’ve only done an FBA on it. The Turner I’ve only sewn in one size, then made adjustments, added those to my pattern and use it like that. This one really wants a medium or heavy knit and using anything lighter can require additional changes. I’ve straightened the front waist on the bodice, taken in the sides (I should have traced a size smaller), lengthened it to maxi and given it a scooped rather than v neck. I’ve yet to meet the knit v-neck that I like. I miss pockets with these two dresses, but love the dresses and always get compliments.

The Concord wasn’t a success for me. I made it twice in two vastly different fabrics, with two vastly different failures. One was thin and hung like a nightgown lengthwise. Thinking the weight was a large part of the problem, the next was made from a much heavier knit with the pattern shortened. The sides and underarms had to be taken in drastically. Some of this may be a factor of the knits used. I don’t know. I was so disappointed I have yet to pick the pattern up again.

There is a Harrison kit on the to-sew pile. It’s been languishing there due to it’s lack of embellishment. It seems like a fine pattern, but like many Cashmerette patterns it is a basic, no embellishment included. No pockets (probably for the best really), no sleeve options, no front yoke (sensible for such a vast size range). Things that have no bearing on wether or not it is a good pattern, but just little style elements that I’ve realized I like. We’ll see how it goes when we get there.

There may be some fabric left over

Midsummer is a great time to sew that swimsuit that has been planned for years. My swimsuit ideal (perhaps, until I try it on) is the Closet Case Patterns Bombshell Swimsuit, but I’d never made a swimsuit and I’d never made a bra. Both for the same reason. I sized out of the available patterns. That has changed some, but remains a limiting factor. FBAing a completely unfamiliar garment where size is key and materials are expensive is very intimidating.

Enter the Cashmerette Ipswich, a me sized suit with cup sizing and underwire bra option. That is not to be passed up. Again not my style, but it is the beige bra of swimsuits. If you are large busted, you know what I mean.  It is the only thing available in your size. Now, that does not make it bad. If you are only buying one bra you buy a beige bra and you find yourself reaching for it often even if you have other options because it is useful. Beige Bras, while resented are also awesome. The one piece Ipswich  is your beige full coverage bra, the two piece Ipswich is your beige demi. Jenny has since released an Ipswich Tankini Expansion. Sort of like having a black demi.

I have very mixed feelings about the style of this suit overall. It is composed of three panels for the top and for the bottom of the front and back. With a horizontal neckband and waistband. The neck piece and waistband make the switch from one piece to two piece easier. If you use a black for contrasting side panels, waistband and neckband. It can give the appearance of slimness, but I feel this works better if you do either the waistband black or the side panels, all together it feels a little divided to me. Of course, that may be my general dislike of color blocking. The major change I might have made so the pattern would be creating a curved/scoop neckline like this picture that came up on my Instagram Pinterest feed (I don’t know anything else about this picture, but it’s probably an ad).

scoop neck swimsuit

  Also, I rather hate mid-back closures on swimsuits-again, a matter of personal preference.  If I need someone to help me dress I’m not interested.  This may have been a necessity for those who are more pear shaped.   Perhaps, this being unnecessary is just an advantage I have due to my shape.  In the future I’d likely leave it out.

As far as, construction, everything was very straight forward and well thought out. It was just a matter of following the clearly written steps. My one construction caveat is the straps, which I hate. Pressing nylon is a pain in the ass. And sewing it on in a single pass, while stretching it (a lot) is a real pain. I trust Jenny, though. She probably tried sewing it on like regular bias tape and found that the two sides didn’t stretch evenly or something. P.I.A or not,/ it was probably a good idea.  One potential drafting flaw or drafting issue depending on your shape, is this neckline gape.  It is present on other versions as well (including one posted on Instagram by the designer of a suit she was wearing and presumably made).  One more small issue is that the swim bra only attaches at the sides.  Most in suit cups are attached to the lining all around, which I prefer.

Will I make this again? Probably not, but I wouldn’t say never and stealing the swim bra to use in the Bombshell pattern is worth looking into. The swim bra is lovely and fits well (I think-I haven’t swim tested it). It was a nice foray into bra making and will hopefully, finally give me enough courage (and a fitted pattern for comparison) to open up a bra kit and get started with one of the patterns I have. Even if I really hated my version of the Ipswich, I’d be happy I bought it and with the time I put into making it. I don’t hate it though, it looks nice.  (My kids love the floral.) This was a great learning experience and made a decent suit.

I’m counting this as item 7 of my #2018MakeNine because it fits my criteria of learning new skills, trying new things, and creating another TNT ready pattern.

Updated: 8/13/18 to correct spelling error, include the scoop neck photo and link to the designer’s swimsuit photo

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