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swimsuit tummy-control

Tangent | Posted in General Discussion on

I bought a new swimsuit, and it has ‘tummy-control’…  or does it?  Two layers of fabric across the front, one layer of the same across the back.

Using the ‘chain is as strong as its weakest link’ idea, how does this swimsuit control the front, if the back is half as strong??

Seems to me that the back would wear out twice as fast, or faster, because that’s also where the most bending/stretching/contact with the waterslide would happen! 

Has anyone had luck with reinforcing the lower back panel of a swimsuit?


  1. solosmocker | | #1

    I know from personal experience that the back is always the first to show signs of stress, but then again, that may be my prominent rear! I have tried on those tummy control types. They are usually a sarong afair whose ruching seems to bring your eye right to the tummy. I guess its the two layers are better than one mentality at work here. I would think a better control would be obtained from a fine flesh colored power net installed across the tummy. I would leave the upper edge unsewn so it would not transfer its line to the outside. Just some thoughts here, solo

    1. Tangent | | #2

      Yes, I agree with the power-net across the inside front, but shouldn't it go across the back too?  What's holding it in place, if not the back?

      Don't manufacturers think of this when designing swimsuits etc, or are they trying to fool us into buying their stuff?

      Admittedly the doubled layer of fabric does have a smoothing effect, but it can only be as tight as the back panel can hold it.

      1. GailAnn | | #3

        Have tried a few of these tummy control suits.  If I have on a swimming suit, I want to be-able to swim or at the very least move.  Find the ones that "control" by optical illusion (colour blocking, or vertical white piping on a black suit) to be the most useful and serviceable.

        My favorite suits I've ever had, I've made from Kwik-Sew pattterns circa 1985. 

        Thought - I have a tummy and a butt, how much can they be controlled?  Gail

        1. Tangent | | #6

          A swimsuit should only be as tight as what is comfortable for you, or maybe a bit less if it causes the rest of you to bulge out...   ;-)

          My favorite swimsuit would probably be a floor-length muu-muu, but that's hard to swim in, so it's back to finding something that is both comfortable and reasonably flattering...  and flattening!  The sand in my hourglass figure has shifted!  :-(

  2. user-51823 | | #4

    i am assuming that the one piece in the back is not over the rump, but above it on the same level as the tummy area?
    because a bulging tummy protrudes all the time, and the small of the back tends to scoop in or at least be fairly straight, the bulge area can only be contained by a criss-crossing reinforcement-- think of shelving units that have diagonal bars in back to stabilize it. if you've ever assembled one, you know that even a sturdy bar will not help if it is attached vertically; the unit will still sway and lean. it's a similar principle. a single layer of strong mesh will not work as well as the criss-cross.
    i would think that a single layer of the fabric is all that's needed in the back, for the attached front pieces to work for tummy control. the back doesn't need to be "strong", it only needs to be a stabilizer for the front pieces which are doing the work.

    Edited 9/29/2007 12:04 pm ET by msm-s

    1. Tangent | | #5

      The front piece is "doing the work", but what is supporting it? One thin piece of fabric? 

      The inner support piece in the back would be attached at the sides, leg edges, and crotch seam, but not sewn between the side seam and the back cutout. The back piece should probably go as high in the side seams as the front piece, and if that is higher than the cutout, it could be sewn into that seam as well.  Using the same support fabric as in the front would give it the same strength, and appearance.

      1. user-51823 | | #7

        the back section doesn't have to be a particularly strong piece to do the job of stabilizing. i would think that as long as it attaches at the sides to be in contact with the front pieces, that's all that's needed.So, are you saying that when you put it on it doesn't work? if you want to try to improve on the design, you should by all means go for it! i can't count how many times i've made improvements on store-bought garments.

        1. Tangent | | #9

          My point is, that this setup puts twice the stress on the back panel, which also gets the most friction from being sat upon, etc. So the butt wears out too fast.

          It's really sad when someone wears a suit after the stressed fabric has become too thin (the elastic threads have disintigrated but the polyester is still there) and she hasn't realized it....

          1. user-51823 | | #10

            lord yes! but i can't fathom how someone could not feel that their suit has lost it's snap.
            not to mention, i never wear a bathing suit in public without checking everything in a mirror first! and, to avoid feeling self-conscious anyway, these days with my sad old thighs i usually slip on some inexpensive black biking shorts over my suit.

          2. Tangent | | #11

            I like your bike-shorts idea!  Sad but true, there was a lady at a public beach wearing a suit she should have tossed away....  the front looked fine, and she obviously didn't know there was a problem.  It was pale blue, and once it was wet, the fabric tended to show thru, like a wet white t-shirt, and where it was worn thin.....  her friends should have told her!

          3. user-51823 | | #12

            poor thing. i would assume that either she couldn't afford a new suit (they have gotten SO expensive!), or that this was her 'B' suit so she wouldn't wear out a better suit. but yes, she must not have been aware of just how bad it was.

          4. Ralphetta | | #13

            I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Time had an article about swimsuits they were calling tankininis.  They were designed for people who couldn't show skin for religious reasons but the manufacturers found that lots of other people liked them, for example burn victims or just people who didn't like the way they looked in traditional suits.  They were made of lycra, had hoods like scuba suits, and a tunic top over leggings.  They fit more snugly than I would have expected, but not nearly as tight as a regular bathing suit.  They looked futuristic and I didn't think they looked at all dowdy.  Has anyone else seen them?

          5. user-51823 | | #14

            i've seen the tankinis that came out some years ago, but not these tankininis. they sound right up my alley!

          6. Ralphetta | | #15

            WHOOPS  I meant to say burkini...as in burqa

            Edited 9/29/2007 9:59 pm ET by Ralphetta

          7. user-51823 | | #16

            ahhh- i was curious, LOL.

  3. user-51823 | | #8

    i just realized, possibly you feel that a structure more akin to a girdle is what you want?
    a tummy-control garment as revealing as a swimsuit applies structure as minimally and invisibly as possible. if you want the true holding strength of a girdle, then it would probably be better to shop for a sturdier swimsuit.
    i don't think any tummy-control swimsuit is going to make a huge difference. i finally realized that the best tummy control comes from better ab muscles, so i started doing pilates and am much happie with how i look in swimsuits (although at 51, i'll never wear a two-piece again! LOL)

  4. user-208070 | | #17

    control swimwear

    Here's how I solved the whole problem:  I sewed board shorts and then a long sleeved "rash guard" out of a gauzy knit fabric that is just opaque enough to keep me from getting burned, but the breeze blows through.  Lace bra and panties for quick drying.  I wore this for swimming and beach time in Hawaii and I have never been more comfortable at the beach. 

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