At the beginning of last month, I decided to give my old swimsuits a try and see how they fit. Quelle disaster: my new bigger maternity bust caused some pretty impressive quadraboob. So it was swimsuit shopping time for me! I decided to be brave and try a two-piece with the baby belly for the summer. My inspiration? My preggo best friend in her Freya Supernova (renamed Magic for SS12) last summer, looking amazing!
I had my eye on the Freya Boogie at Linda’s, which comes in 28 and 30 bands–yay!–from a D up to an H cup (the band goes up to a 40; see size chart below).
Wearing a 28J/30HH, I just missed the cup cutoff. Argh! I wondered if the cups ran large enough that the 30H might work for me, so I asked Linda via Twitter. Thank goodness for Linda. With her experience fitting Freya swimwear she said I’d need the larger cup and to go for a 32H (the sister size for the 30HH I needed) and have a tailor take in the sides of the band 1 inch each if it was too loose.
Armed with Linda’s advice, I put in my order for a 32H. I had a last minute change of heart on the pattern and went for Freya’s Jitterbug print (underwire top, $51, tie-side bikini bottoms, $39), trimmed with gingham, a retro touch that I couldn’t pass up! Alas, Linda isn’t carrying the Jitterbug, so Figleaves it was.
The color was just as vibrant as shown on the Freya site (above), not the more faded look on Figleaves:
A little squeal *may* have escaped me when I pulled this out of the box! The hot pink, raspberry, teal, and lime green floral explosion looks like a modern spin on 60s psychedelia, dialed back a bit with the gingham edging. A perfect mix of sweet and funky.
When I tried it on, the cups fit perfectly, but I could tell the band was too loose by how much I tightened the halter straps to get the proper support. The halter was taking so much of the weight that it dug into my neck uncomfortably. I ran it over to my tailor’s and asked her to take an inch off either side to tighten up the band so it would do more of the heavy lifting.
To make the alteration, she took out the stitching by the clasps and all along the tops of the wings. Then she took an inch off the ends of both sides, where the clasps were. Because the tops of the wings get thinner from top to bottom, when you cut off the edges you are left with wider ends than before. To make the ends refit the width of the clasps, she folded down the tops of the wings starting at the cups, matching the width of the ends up to the clasps, and sewed them back down. In the photos above, the before picture shows straight diagonals from halter straps through the cups and wings to the clasps. In the after photo, you can see the seams on the wings descend at a sharper angle to the clasps now. It’s especially noticeable in the bottom photo below.
As you can see in the photos above, you really can’t tell an alteration has been done here, even though the shape of the wings is slightly different than the original. But, you can see how taking a band in any further than one size would totally change the look of the wings and potentially cause issues with fit. That’s why bra fitters only recommend taking in bras one band size.
And, ta-da! The perfect fit, with boobs strapped in place and not escaping out the cups! I love how high the cups come up on the side. No boob spillage! And you can see on the right that the band is now fitting my ribcage just right.
Although the difference in fit isn’t that noticeable in the photos below, the more supportive band takes more of the weight of my breasts so the halter doesn’t dig in as much, even though I do have it tied tight enough to give the girls some nice lift.
Although I ordered both the fold-down bottoms and the tie-side bikini bottoms, I was surprised to find I liked the latter more, even though they had less coverage. The fold-down style hit at a weird spot with the baby belly and weren’t as comfortable. Bonus: the tie-side bottoms are reversible! I’m wearing them with the solid gingham print on the left photo above, and with the print and gingham edging on the right. The adorably retro Lindy Hop top comes in the same gingham print but is solid, so if you fit into the cup sizes (annoyingly the underwire top only comes up to a GG cup versus the Jitterbug’s H cup), you could get the same tie-side bikini bottoms I did along with the Lindy Hop and Jitterbug tops and have three different looks.
Overall, I’m thrilled with the way this suit turned out for me. It makes me feel confident with all my growing curves–and shouldn’t swimwear always do that?! Freya really does make great full-busted swimwear and getting my sister size one band size up was the best way for me to circumvent their arbitrary cup sizing and land a suit that was more exciting than the 3 plain Jane black ones and 1 plain red one I saw in my actual size across all the brands out there (June at Braless in Brazil sums up my feelings on the dearth of 28 and 30 band/HH+ suits here). I only wish Freya would bump up the cup sizes they make in swimwear so those of us who need them don’t have to go through the alterations process. After all, this alteration shows that making a 30HH isn’t impossible!
If you need to do a band alteration on swimwear to get the size you need, see if your tailor feels comfortable tackling it, and if not, check with your local lingerie shop to see if they’re up for the task. Based on the feedback I’ve heard from bra pros, only stick to one band size up from your normal size for alterations to get the cup you need and make sure you order your sister size cup, too, i.e. one cup size down. (Again, for example, my 30HH cup equivalent was a 32H). My tailor charged me $20 for this, so the total cost of my suit was originally $90, with free shipping and less 10% off via a Figleaves promotion last month taking it to $81, and then up to $101 with the alteration. Here’s hoping I get two seasons out of it!