Recently I had the opportunity to do some sewing for a family friend. She had a new swimsuit that needed a pocket sewn in for her mastectomy prosthesis. This was a project I hadn't previously had an opportunity to do, so I was glad when she said I could share it with you all here on le interwebz.
She brought with her a kit that she had purchased for the purpose. The pocket I would be inserting was a soft piece of beige nylon/spandex knit fabric, finished at the edge with some serged on elastic.
Certainly more simplified than what would lead you to a nicely finished end product, the instructions were pretty basic, but were something that would allow you to get by if you had few sewing skills.
I also had the benefit of an old swimsuit that she had brought with her so I could see how the pocket had been attached before.
Looking closely, after the edges of the pocket were turned under it was whipstitched around the edges.
At the center of the pocket opening there was also a small metal snap.
The new swimsuit did not have the 'shelf' bra that the older one had. This can certainly be more comfortable to wear, but meant that I had to be extra careful with my stitches to not catch the outside fabric with my needle.
I started out with a preliminary pinning of the pocket to the suit. This actually turned out to be the most time-consuming part.
No two bras or swimsuits are exactly the same shape or size or angle, so I'd imagine aligning the fabric so it lays perfectly over the desired area would be different every time.
After I had it pinned down flat I carefully turned under the edges, making tweaks to the alignment as I went along.
Then I carefully bllindstitched the edges down. I'm sure the whipstitching on the original was fine, but I prefer to hide my stitches when possible. I figure the fewer things that rub on the threads, the longer the stitching will last.
In order to keep the ability to stretch with the fabric I angled each stitch back about a millimeter each time and regularly checked the stitches to make sure that they were tight enough to hold strongly without reducing the stretch of the fabric.
I finished the pocket by turning it inside out and trimming the seam allowances down to a reasonable length.
Then I added the snap.
All done and ready to hit the pool :)
As I was preparing to write this post I did some poking around on the web and was shocked to find the prices for ready-made mastectomy swimsuits. Just... wow. Not that swimsuit shopping isn't harrowing all by itself, but for something that seems such a simple addition to a rtw swimsuit, the markup just seems ridiculous to me. The pocket kit seems reasonably priced comparatively, and then you aren't limited to just a few styles/ colors of suits. Just my two cents.
Next week I'll have more updates on the corset and mini painting for you as well as a special guest post with my mother. :)
Happy Friday and have a great weekend!