Asymmetric Monokini

Criss-Cross One Piece Swimsuit Analysis

This is an asymmetric criss-cross one piece swimsuit. It's still technically asymmetric because there is a left to right over lap. This is not a stable garment for several reasons, namely that it's basically just straps at various angles ... these are fixed length straps ... so every time the wearer moves around or changes position they also change their body length, meaning the straps are gaining and losing significant tension. It's for this reason that they've stitched it together in the center .... making it the same as a plunging neck one piece with cut away sides. You can see how the tummy straps aren't straight because the wearer has a longer body length than the garment .... we can fix the problem of stability and give it a wider range of fit by simply moving the tummy straps further out towards the side seams of the bikini bottom.

NOTE: Part of what we all did at Fashion School was look at other people’s high fashion garments and see if we could work out how they were made. This was particularly the case for 3rd year pattern making. The teacher would show us a photo of something from fashion week and give us an hour to make a pattern for it … I loved those challenges. At the end of the hour, the teacher would demonstrate how she thought it should be done and why. Some people out there call this copying or “knocking off” someone else’s design … that’s not what we’re doing here … this is about learning how to make patterns by following a procedure … it’s what we all did and how we learned. I’m not telling you to take these instructions and go manufacture this garment for sale …that is wrong and illegal ... I’m using this design as an example to teach students how to manipulate a block into a pattern that resembles this style (albeit, probably not exactly).

This time instead of demonstrating on the Size 10B/C Women’s One Piece Block we drafted previously, I’m going to base this pattern on the RTW Women’s One Piece 12% Block Set for a Bust size of 88cm, Waist of 68cm and Hips of 93cm. I want to do this to show that the block we start with isn’t important for this type of lesson. Before you start each step, take a good look at the illustration to help you follow the drafting process. At the end of each step your draft should match the illustration.

Step One

To start with we're going to need the full front of the one piece block for marking all our guide lines, but only half of the back for the bikini bottom. I've placed the back on the other side because that's the side it'll match to later. First of all draw a guide line vertically up from the bust point to about 7cm beyond the shoulder line ... this will form our halter strap. I've drawn a 25mm rectangle around it because that's about the size of the one in the photo. I've also drawn in a circle of 80mm diameter to approximate the boundary of the breast ... this just serves as a reference when placing our design lines.

Next sketch a design line from the bust point to the leg line ... it's arbitrary, but I've moved it about 50mm (2 inches) further out than the one in the photo (50mm when on the body). I've drawn a 35mm rectangular guide (purple) around it at the leg line as that's about the width of the strap in the photo.

Next I've drawn a 16mm guide from the bust point, horizontally outwards to extend about 70mm past the side seam ... this will be for the tie strap at the back.

I've also used the 8 section guide to approximate the position of the belly button for visual reference. The model in the photo has a longer body length so you can just see the belly button appear. For an averaged sized person it probably wouldn't show in that garment.

Step Two

Draw your neck style line (red) from the top of the halter strap to the leg line, trying to cover at least 2/3rds of the breast from the BP. Draw in the arm hole style line (green) from the top of the halter strap to the end of the tie strap guide, trying to stay about 15mm from the arm hole. Draw in the tummy style line (purple) from the end of the tie strap guide to the leg line, trying to touch the edge of the breast boundary. These are all arbitrary design lines and you can move them around as you see fit to change the design.

Sketch in where you would like the top of the bikini bottom to sit on the front (blue line).

Now the smart people should ask me why I'm not shortening the tummy strap like I always do for narrow straps. It's because this is not a stable garment and I don't want the extra tension I'd usually have for things like shoulder straps ... instead I'll use elastic with 5% reduction and allow the garment to be fitted by the back tie strings. The bikini bottom style we do soon will also have a little more downward pull. If you're doing this to custom fit for yourself then you may want to make up a mock garment (toille) and see if you need the tummy straps shortened for yourself.

Step Three

Remove the guidelines we don't need anymore so it's easier to see. Draw two nice curves joining the tummy strap to the bikini. I've dropped the center front one a little to be consistent with the photo. Remember that whatever shape you draw here will look wider on the body!

Step Four

Place the back block over the front block at the side seam and draw in the top line of the bikini bottom back. Note in the photo that this looks really square and low ... not too stable but that's the design. You could change this if you wish, but I'm sticking to the photo. I'd suggest raising the whole bikini top line but then you'd need to balance the aesthetic with a wider tummy strap too.

I've also brought the apex of the front leg forward a bit to help stabilize the tummy strap and hold it down (remember we didn't shorten the tummy strap before).

Step Five

Remove all the excess guide lines to show the pattern.

You could stop here and add seam allowance, but I get the feeling that the back leg line is quite cheek revealing. So I've shown in red how I would trim that off the back and front bikini sections. Now to lock that in place we might want to add a center back seam. Draw two guidelines perpendicular to the CB, one halfway down the panel and one three quarters of the way down. These are our cut and close lines.

Step Six

Rotate each section anti clockwise about 10 degrees, pivoting from the leg line. Re-curve the bikini back (red line). I've also removed the side seam as I'm fairly sure that's missing in the above photo. You can leave it if you like for better use of fabric. Technically it'd be more stable as separate panels.

Step Seven

That's it, you're done. I've put the two mirrored panels together to show what they'd look like. You can pretty much change anything you like in this style ... the theory is style the same.

Step Eight

I've added 10mm for fold over elastic and for stitched seams (cutting off excess with the serger). Be sure to add a label for style, panel name, how to cut, size information, date/revision and author. Mark any guides with the relevant label (I forgot to do that last bit sorry).

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