Crafters and/or beach bunnies, help!
September 12, 2018 4:19 PM   Subscribe

I have a new one-piece swimsuit which has no padding or built-in support, and the fabric (while technically lined) is so thin I may as well go topless. I have some inserts that would solve the problem, but how do I attach them to the suit itself? More details within.

I definitely need to affix them somehow, as this is a swimsuit I will be swimming and generally moving around in. My ideas:

1a) Find a waterproof glue or adhesive meant for fabric-on-fabric. I've looked at a few kinds (1,2), but I can't tell if the glue would leak through the very thin lining and outer fabric, resulting in splotches (which would surely look worse that the outline of my nipples) or a visible change in texture. There are a ton of products out there but I have no idea what would be best for this--maybe something meant for silk, lace, or other delicate fabrics? And the tape looks good but reviews are mixed.

2) Gently hand-sew the pads to the suit lining, in a few places (again, not sure if that would show through).

3) Scrap the pads I have and go for something like this instead. These SEEM like they'd work (though I actually don't need the push-up), but again the reviews are mixed.

I got the suit on deep discount, so I can't return it but figure I don't have much to lose. Still, wanted to ask you around to find out if anyone has experience with this situation or any of the solutions before I potentially do something I can't undo, or spend money I don't have to! Thanks in advance.
posted by lovableiago to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total)
Glue will show through and make the fabric stiff (even if it's made for fabric), and I have had terrible luck with adhesive bras. The best thing to do is to sew them to the lining. Instead of sewing them in just a few places, you'll want to slit the lining open near a seam (neck or underarm), separate the lining from the outer material, sew them to the lining while it's free of the outer fabric, and then sew the lining back in. Just sewing in a couple of places will give you wonky boobs, and it will be really hard to do it without catching the outer fabric if you don't separate them.

The actual best way to do this is to machine-stitch with a zigzag. Barring that, if you hand-sew, keep in mind that the material is stretchy but the thread is not, so you need to use a zigzag or X formation to give room for the fabric to move without snapping the thread.

Here are a couple of tutorials for adding bras to swimsuits. Ignore the instructions on constructing the rest of the suit and just focus on the bra steps.
posted by assenav at 4:52 PM on September 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I apologize for not directly answering the question, but my solution to this very issue was to wear a bathing suit bikini top underneath the suit. I liked this solution so much I do this all the time now. After a while I tried out a sporty type bra I had and found I liked it even better. At any rate, it might worth a try to use something you already own before you either spend more money on something for this suit or start pulling the suit apart.
posted by dawg-proud at 7:17 PM on September 12, 2018

With glue, even if it doesn't show through generally glue does not stretch, but swimsuit fabric does, which can do odd things to the fit.

It sounds like your main concern is avoiding nipple show through. I don't know what type of pads/inserts you have. If these are inserts meant to use inside of a closely fitting bra, don't sew them in a swimsuit with no support, with nothing to hold them firmly to the breast you'll just have weird shapes on top of your breasts. If they are some sort of pad/insert meant to cover the nipple in situations like preventing nipple show through, you might be able to sew them in if they are of a material that won't tear from the thread, but whether they lie flat or show is going to depend on your sewing skill.

If you are looking for actual support, you'll need to sew a bra in. Some people just sew in an actual bra, instead of constructing one from scratch. Basically you put on the bra, put on the suit, mark where they overlap, cut the bra, and sew it in the suit.
posted by yohko at 2:16 AM on September 13, 2018

I think assenav makes very good points about slitting the lining fabric open before you sew anything, to make things easier. I would be tempted, rather the than sewing the inserts all the way around, to sandwich them between the lining and the outer layer, and then maybe you could get away with only sewing the bottom edge and having the rest stay in place?

My biggest concern with any method would be the pads themselves showing through at the edges. If the swimsuit is thin, and the inserts smaller than the surface area of your breasts, you are prone to getting a line. I'd make sure to do a trial run with your inserts before you try affixing them, and keep it in mind for option #3.
posted by copperdrake at 2:51 PM on September 13, 2018

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