For anyone who has competed before, you know how expensive the sport of bodybuilding can be…especially the suits.
Last fall, when I finally made the decision to compete in a physique show, I also made a quite confident decision that I would make my own suit…having little to no experience when it came to sewing. But I got a sewing machine, ordered fabric, found some patterns and tutorials to use for the suits and got started.
I quickly discovered that sewing isn’t as easy as I thought it was, it’s quite time consuming and required A LOT of patience (which I did not have at the time). So I opted to buy a blank suit in the color that I wanted and jewel it myself. Still incredibly cheap compared to buying a pre-made and jeweled suit. **Last years suit that I stoned myself ➡➡**
I had a lot of fun bedazzling my suit, it was relaxing and kind of a mindless activity. Since then, I have worked on my sewing skills and though not entirely perfect, I finally was able to make a few suits successfully from start to finish. I have been doing progress pics and practicing in a mixed suit that I made…The top of one suit fit me better and the bottoms of another the same.
Once I was confident that I could get a full bikini done, I ordered new fabric/materials and got started! My original plan was to wear another royal blue suit, I love the color and feel good in it. I ordered a royal blue spandex fabric and started working on it. Unfortunately it just wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, the fabric was supposed to be a 4-way stretch, but it wasn’t and it didn’t lay the way I wanted it too.
So I decided to hop over to JoAnn’s fabric a couple of weeks ago to see what they had for their performance fabrics. They didn’t have the royal blue that I had been hoping for, but I did end up finding a nice purple, a multi-color fabric (which I am calling unicorn), and a light blue. I decided on using the blue material – I think it matches my personality as well as will look great with the dark spray tan when on stage.
Making the Suit
I got home from JoAnn’s and was so excited about getting started on the suit that I got to work right away! I chose to start with the top of the bikini since it would take the longest – the top has more pieces to be cut out, more adjusting, and more attachments than the bottoms do. I had ordered soft molded cups from Miko Suit Supplies and was using the Figure suit bottoms pattern that she has on her shop as well. I was able to get most of the top done in 1 weekend which was great. I am really happy with the way it turned out!
I cut the pieces for the top which included: 2 square cuts to cover the cups, 2 – 1.5″ wide strips to go along the outer edge, 2 – 2″ wide strips to go along the bottom of the cup, and 4 – 1.5″ strips that would be used to make the neck and back straps (these I guesstimated on length).
From there, I started sewing the fabric to the cup. I wanted the inner edge of the cup to be clean, so I chose to sew the fabric so it was underneath the cup and then flipped it over so there would be no visible stitching and it would have a smooth edge. Then went from there, sewing down the other sides and adding in the edges to allow for straps to be attached.
Top finished, I started the bottoms. Cut out front and back pieces in the blue fabric and a beige liner fabric, pieced them together and went after it. I would have had them done in the same weekend, but I decided to take a bit of a break to reduce the chance of messing the bottoms up…which tends to happen when I get tired and frustrated. The hardest part of making the bottoms is sewing in the elastic, the tension needs to be even on both sides…there have been many times where I have had to rip stitching apart due to it being uneven.😤Once they were finished, it was time to start jeweling!
The Stoning of the Suit
I think this part scared me a bit more than the sewing portion of the process…Sewing I can rip stitches or cut new fabric and start again. Gluing stones, not so much, once they’re on they are on and if you pull them off, the glue is pretty damn noticeable.
I decided to start with just lining the inner edge of the suit with stones to start off and then figure out where to go from there. Next I started the “whiskers” and then added the burst between the whiskers. To finish it up, I added stones to the back and neck straps too
Onto the bottoms! These were a bit more stressful for me. I needed to make sure everything was centered and straight. I wanted to wrap the bottoms on a ball or something to make the fabric smooth, but didn’t have anything so instead I used a protein container 🤷♀️. I finished the front in about an hour and continued the back of the suit the following day and finished in about the same time. I did a similar pattern on the bottoms as the front…”whiskers” with a burst effect between and around.
Overall I am really happy with how this suit came out. And it worked/fit well this past weekend at my 1st show. There are some things that I do need to improve on for the next one, mostly with cleaning up the stitching. But I am pretty damn proud of myself for finishing this suit!
More suits to come soon, and other athletic apparel!