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  • Writer's pictureJenni Beth

Bethany, Bethany, Bethany

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

I wasn't going to write this post, but I've been sewing swim for the family, and I can't resist sharing how cute my kiddos look in it!

So when Jessica from 5oo4 decided to do another swim shorts pattern, I couldn't resist testing it (even though I had already tested the Malia), because I knew my kids would want it. And boy, was I right.

You might remember that last year I sewed up the Kids Swim Trunks for all three of my little kiddos. And I thought it was the only pattern I would ever need for kids' swim shorts. And I was right. And wrong. That one is perfect if you have board short fabric and want to make woven board shorts or swim trunks. Which are awesome! But the new Bethany pattern is a whole other layer of awesome!! It uses regular swim fabric, which means you can use the same fabric for the swim top/rash guard and the shorts. So much fun!!

I started with the plan of making a swim outfit for my daughter. She already had this classic one-piece from last year that still fit. And I had extra of this fabric! So I sewed up the longest length of the swim shorts to match. And I absolutely love this look! It looks very retro to me. She will get a ton of use out of this suit this summer. Plus she prefers these shorts to the ones from last year, just because the stretch gives her a little more ability to move her body. I did include the optional attached swim briefs just in case she wants to try to wear it with a different swim top sometime.

Next I added my almost eight-year-old to the mix. I had already made this rash guard for him from this amazing tiger swim fabric from Boho Fabrics. So I sewed up a quick pair of shorts in the longest length with black binding to go with it. I have to admit, I was skeptical of whether this would work for a boy. But I tried. And they do! This is the first pair I made for him. Since then, I actually made him another pair, as the rise on these is a bit too low for him, and he prefers the enclosed elastic waistband to the contour waistband I used here.

Finally, I added my youngest son to the mix. He wanted to match his brother, but with short sleeves and the enclosed elastic waistband with a drawstring. And he totally wants to be a tiger when he wears this swim outfit! Look at him growling and in the tree!! I constructed the boys' version exactly the same as the girls, except I didn't stretch the elastic when I put it on the swim briefs. So the pattern is 100% unisex.

In case you're wondering, I also made the pattern for me. And it will absolutely come in handy this summer, but I think my kids take the cake for cuteness on this one!! Such a fun sew :)

This post contains various affiliate links. Purchasing patterns using these links does not cost my readers more, but the designer does provide me with a small commission from any sales. The commission helps to fund my fabric costs, and is very appreciated.

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Why "Sewing and the Trivium"

The Story

Classical educators like to divide education into developmental stages called the Trivium. These are called "Grammar," "Logic," and "Rhetoric." Grammar refers to the first steps of learning anything: learning the vocabulary of the subject being studied and memorizing facts about that vocabulary. Classically speaking, this corresponds to the elementary years of learning - years when students never seem to grow tired of astounding the adults around them with fact after fact about things they are interested in. Have you experienced talking to a six year old who is really into dinosaurs? enough said...

Adults also begin learning with the grammar of a subject. Each subject has its own unique terminology and facts that need to be mastered before one can explore the more complicated applications of that subject. Sewing is no different. What is a french seam? What kinds of knit fabrics are better for different applications? What is a dolman sleeve or a raglan top? These are grammar queries.

In classical education, logic refers to the action of logically processing the grammar facts students have learned, or are learning. The student who is particularly suited to this type of thought is the middle-school scholar - the student who wants to argue his or her way through the world and "be right" about all the things. This pattern of thought includes bringing different ideas together, comparing and contrasting them, analyzing what an authority figure says about an argument, and deciding whether different arguments are consistent with each other. In the sewing world, logical questions include things like, "How is knit fabric different than woven fabric?" and "Why does this pattern ask for a particular fabric type?" as well as tasks such as mashing two patterns together or changing the sleeve/length/placket from how the pattern was designed.

The final part of the classical trivium, rhetoric, is when a student makes an argument of his or her own by developing a "thesis" or main point and then laying it out for someone else in writing or speech. Typically, students are ready for formal rhetoric in their high school years - years that they are very concerned about what they look like to other people and gain an interest in learning to craft a message in a way that will be most effective for their purposes. Examples of rhetoric in sewing would be fully-formed tutorials or sew-alongs - or even the writing of a blog post itself. Anything that is explaining previously thought-out/tried-out projects can count as rhetoric. 

My goal on this blog is to lay out my sews and thoughts using this framework. And that is why I chose this title.

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