It's hard to forget the neon green body thong, or "mankini" made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen in the 2006 movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. If you're looking to turn heads -- in a good or bad way -- you can recreate that look with a little -- very little -- spandex. You won't have much luck finding a pattern for this unique swimming costume, so here is an "upcycled" way to make your own.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Neon leotard
- Elastic thread
- Sewing machine
- Stretch fabric tape
- White chalk or sewing pencil
Try on your leotard. It's best to find one with four-way stretch spandex, because it will be more comfortable and ultimately fit better once you transform the leotard into a mankini. You'll want it to fit pretty snug, too, to keep everything in place.
Stand in front of a mirror and trace the outline of the mankini onto the leotard with your chalk or sewing pencil. In the front, you'll draw a very, very deep V at an acute angle of approximately 20 to 30 degrees. Make sure to leave enough room to fully cover the groin. Draw the outside of your straps to follow the V from the crotch area up to the shoulders, creating a 4 inch wide strap. This will get more narrow once you hem the edges; however, it is better to leave extra fabric than to run out. For the back, you may need a friend's help to continue tracing 5 inch straps over your shoulders to meet in the middle of your back in a racerback style. The straps meet and continue straight down your back to look like a "Y." The lower vertical line will connect with the crotch seams just like a thong. Remember to leave enough room for a 1/2 inch hem or more on each side all the way down.
Remove your leotard and cut along your chalk lines with a sewing scissors.
Try on again to ensure there is no bagginess that could be obscene.
Hem the cut edges using either a sewing machine with elastic thread or fabric tape. Fabric tape is not ideal, but it works in a pinch. Fold over each jagged edge and secure in a straight line with fabric tape underneath. This may be easier to do while you are wearing the mankini because it will be fully stretched that way. Otherwise, thread your sewing machine with stretch thread. Fold over and pin a straight hem. Sew the hem, stretching with both hands as you sew. The result will be a slight bulge around the seam depending on how stretchy your spandex and elastic thread; however, it won't matter when you're wearing the mankini.
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