Amanda vs the Bombshell Swimsuit

As a self confessed and oft proclaimed home body 2014 has been an absolute year of opportunities and adventure for me. I’ve travelled up and down the eastern Australian seaboard for work, spent a month exploring Japan with el husbando and just last week was relaxing by a pool in Malaysia with a dear friend. Crazy! I’ve never had a beach holiday before so I decided it was time to go the whole hog- big sunglasses, floppy hat and epic swimsuit. As my poor old Esther Williams one piece was pretty close to worn through it was time to lady up and dig the Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit out of the stash and have at it. Let me just say this was a 50s poolside lady of leisure win!


The Bombshell Swimsuit totally harks back to the aqua musicals of the 40s and 50s with the ruched front and back, front skirt panel and sassy halter straps. The fabric is the most luscious metallic plum swimsuit lycra from Tessuti. This stuff is crazy gorgeous!


Construction wise these bathers were really straightforward. The sew along on the website utilises lots of great photos which clarified some of the steps that I was unfamiliar with. These togs (hullo obscure Queensland word for swimwear!) came together really quickly. To be specific in five very panicked hours over two nights before I flew out. There may or may not have been gathering stitch removal happening at the airport whilst under the influence of pre-flight beverages… Things were crazy!

As I was seriously under the pump to get this done I decided to get all crazy, read some reviews, make a few alterations to the pattern before cutting and hope to hell it worked. This paid off pretty well but it was touch and go for a while there!

As I’m 5’8” I added an extra inch in length to the front and back. You are also advised to extend the outer panels at a ratio of 1 to 1.6 to keep the ruche effect looking voluminous which I did. This resulted in the front looking fantastic but the bottom back had too much fabric and it sagged once I got out of the pool. Future Amanda would be well advised to either concentrate the gathering further up one’s derrière or add less gathering fabric to the back panel.


To keep my girls in place I added an inbuilt bra using foam cups and a strip of half inch swimsuit elastic to provide under bust support (as outlined by Katie from Kadiddlehopper). This alteration did help but I also moved the straps in an inch on either side, and reinforced these with a second row of stitching, to get things feeling right. A quick look at my old Esther Williams revealed that these have a strip of boning on the side of the bust for extra support and I’ll be adding that next time for sure! And yes, this is me being a raptor in the rain.


What I liked:

  • The 40s feel. I love my Esther Williams bathers hard so it was great to make my own version.
  • How the gathering on the back and the front panel work. It was seriously ninja construction. I love it!
  • The bust tab. Weird, I know, but it totally makes the bodice look epic.

What I would change for next time:

  • Less gathers around my butt. It looked great before jumping in the pool but afterwards it felt uncomfortable!
  • Refining the internal bra setup. I’m thinking some side boning and/or an underwire.
  • Widening the neck straps. Those straps are holding quite the lady cargo and it would be great if they had a bit more room to distribute the weight around my neck.

The Deets

Pattern: Bombshell Swimsuit by Closet Case Files

Fabric: 1.4m metallic plum swimwear lycra and 1 metre swimsuit lining from Tessuti Fabric.

Notions: 200m thread (seriously, I used both spools right to the end!), 6mm swimwear elastic x 1.4m, 1.25cm elastic x .5m, foam bra cups

See also: Sew Brunswick, Sewaholic, Cloth Habit 


And here is my chance to share some travel photos from Langkawi. This was a simply glorious island and the resort we stayed at was pure decadence. I mean SWIM UP BAR! MONKEYS! WHITE SAND!

Langkawi-Palm-TreesOur chalet at Berjaya Resort and one of the monkeys kicking it on the beach. I called him Eustace.

Chalet-and-MonkeyThe walk down to the Pahn Thai restaurant over the water.

Pahn-Thai-RestaurantAnd this was my view everyday at the pool. Seriously. From now on when I need a happy place you can find me here…




  1. The swimsuit is just so many kinds of awesome! I have that pattern and for some reason sewing swimwear just scares the hell out of me but I’m determined to have a go this year!
    I kept up with your holiday pics on instagram and it just looked beautiful.

  2. Awesome togs! I grew up in Qld so togs rolls off my tongue well 😉 although I find I always hesitate when talking of them, not quite sure whether people will understand that or bathers etc. I actually think people don’t understand a lot of what I say but just nod and pretend. But back to those bathers….totally awesome colour! I want that exact colour in a sleek wool jersey… just divine. Colour looks fab on you, and the fit just lovely. You look very glam!

    • Team Togs! I have enough issues with Queensland lingo in Canberra- it must be much harder being an Aussie in the States! Start psyching people out with randomly made up words I say- like “squidgy bob” for sandwich. Bwah ha ha!
      And plum wool jersey would be lush!

  3. great suit – i love the colour on you. i should pluck up the courage to sew one of these – rtw ones are never long enough in the torso for me. When we lived in NZ everyone near us called swimsuits “togs” (we had a solar heated indoor pool just round the corner from us). Coming back to the UK people did give us the side eye when we were talking about togs, but we still call them that and we have been back for 4 years!

    • Thanks, Tamsin! I have always been scared of purples but stuff it- they are fun!
      And yay for more peeps using togs in their vernacular! I bet you totes get some WTF faces for that word! My fave NZ slang is “chilly bin” for what we Aussies call an Esky (a insulated box you take on picnics to keep things cold). Slang win!

      • I thought Esky was pretty exotic when I moved to Australia. In England we just call it a cool box. The thought of anyone having a motorised esky in the uk is just plain insane (and pretty weird in Oz too!). To me togs just means clothes generally, so I f I thought someone’s outfit was pretty cool I might say ‘Nice togs’. I will be more aware when saying it to fully dressed queenslanders from now on.

    • Thanks, Chantal! I was stoked with how they turned out (they look super long when lying down flat on my table- eep!) And Langkawi was crazy awesome! Well worth a visit!

  4. That bombshell looks so amazing!!!! The colour! (so rich and luxurious: great choice) The gathers! (looks vavavoom from the back) The neckline! (really flattering). The cheeky retro vibe! ( very glamorous ).

    Now I want one, even if up here the leaves a falling and I am scared straight of sewing a swimsuit.
    Well played, Amanda. Well played.

  5. Your bombshell is amazing! I love the colour of the fabric too. I live in Belfast in Northern Ireland, I’ve lived here all my life, and we would call a swimsuit “togs”! Now I need to know who started it first!!

    • Thanks, Lynne! The colour was one of those see it and grab it moments. Seriously lovely stuff at Tessuti at the mo!
      Way to go Belfast! The power of togs spread! Tamsin said that they use it in New Zealand as well- I wonder where else?!

  6. They look fabulous! They’re definitely on my ‘to make’ list at the moment.
    I’m also Team Togs! (Qld born and raised) I’m quite proud that my 2 yr old son calls his swimmers togs as well. Now to get him to call his bag a ‘port’ . . .

  7. Wowzers! This is indeed a snazzy pair o’ togs (made it over to the western seaboard as well, btw :p ) you’ve got yourself there! I love the colour on you- I have my eye on a couple of Tessuti swimsuit fabrics myself. I can imagine the wet gathers around the bum might not be the most pleasant feeling though… such a pity. Ah well, a good excuse to either a) spend more time in the pool, or b) more time reclining poolside with a fancy drink with an umbrella in it. It’s a win, win situation come to think of it 🙂

  8. Love the togs! Such a great colour too. I need something similar to fulfil my lounging poolside with drink and giant hat fantasies.

  9. Oh my Lordy, lady. These togs are the absolute bomb. The colour is perfect and just really, really classy. And the ruching is tres va va voom!

    I have a pair of rushed togs that only have the ruching at the front, but a fully lined and unruched tukkas. Could that be an option to prevent le sag?

    • *hat tip* My thank, milady!
      I am seriously contemplating a non-gathered back piece- Sew Brunswick did a great version and my Esther’s have the same… The saggy but feeling was pretty ugh…

  10. Ooh, I have been eyeing that pattern and I love the plum. You definitely look like a bombshell!
    I bought a swimsuit last year while we were on vacation, but it ended up having itchy bra-cups. Ugh. Maybe I should take the plunge and make one myself

  11. Wow Amanda! Those togs are totally amazing! I especially love how the ruching at the back turned out and the colour is devine! You have reminded me that I have that pattern lurking on the c drive waiting to make… perhaps I had better get onto this now for our southern hemisphere summer! You’re set!

  12. Now I feel like a dirty old man having oogled your fabulous swimsuit, straight after some esther williams swimsuit oogling (so reasonably priced, too!) – so much fabulosity! That purple fabric could not have been more appropriate for this pattern – you rock it! And now I need to go to Malaysia. What a seriously divine location for a little bit of chillaxing!

  13. Amanda you look ridiculous! Ridiculously awesome! Could you look any more chic? This is really making me feel motivated to make mine since the Bombshell has been in the plans for going on a year. I’ll take the saggy bum under advisement. None of us need more saggy bummage than we already have. I love these, you look fabulous!

  14. Fabulous togs!! (that’s what I grew up calling them in kiwiland too) That colour is just divine, they look so luxurious and expensive!! I have this pattern but haven’t made it yet although you are super tempting me too!! I was unsure about the halterneck – I find they just don’t work for me as my “lady cargo” (love that phrase) is somewhat heavier than my delicate neck can cope with!!
    Lankawi looks amazing – I will be hitting you up for details, it looks amazing and relaxing!!

    • Team Togs has another vote! For non neck painful lady cargo support Cashmerette made hers into regular straps and they look tops. Go it, I say! You would rock it with Bribie style!!!

  15. Gorgeous swimsuit, such a beautiful colour! I have been to the exact same resort on Langkawi a couple of years ago and remember the lovely Thai restaurant as well. Happy memories!


  1. […] loose fitted, when you bend over the neck can gape and onlookers could potentially glimpse your lady cargo!!  I recommend either crouching or a don’t care attitude.  Lacking the required decorum, […]

  2. […] swimsuit (view A), made in plum lycra purchased at Tessutti, because I wanted to be more like Amanda! The swimsuit is barely worn – it was late summer by the time I finished it, and by autumn I […]

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