Real gem

• Sea Jewels seamstress Amy Ho.

SOUTH Fremantle local July Wiggins couldn’t find a pair of bathers that fitted her properly, so she decided to make her own.

The former teacher came up with a design that was flattering for mature women like herself.

“Buying bathers can be confronting – with tighter fittings you see all the lumps and bumps,” Mrs Wiggins says.

She developed a loose-fitting top, with a matching bra underneath, and a pair of little-boy leg bottoms.

When she hit the beach, she was inundated with people asking where they could buy a similar outfit.

“My husband said ‘Why don’t you find a manufacturer and work from the garage doing mail orders?’”

Fifteen years later, Sea Jewels operates out of a factory in Bibra Lake, and her range has been expanded to include men’s attire. All the bathers and rashies are made on-site by machinist Amy Ho.

When the Herald dropped in, she was busy working on a large order for a local swim club.

Like the bathers, the rashies are made from a lightweight fabric imported from Italy that is chlorine resistant, has a 50-plus sun protection rating, “and has 15 to 20 times the life span of lycra and outlasts nylon/spandex many times over,” Mrs Wiggins says.

Although the business has a shopfront and customers can drop-in, most of their sales are done online. Their swimsuits range from size eight to 32.

“Whether you’re a full figure, have a tall torso or need tummy control or bikini tops to support big boobs, Sea Jewels have a style that will work for you.”

The company also gets a lot of orders from men.

“Especially tall men who can’t get rashies to fit,” Mrs Wiggins says.

Some customers have been ordering for years, including a man living in the US Virgin Islands.

“Every year, for the last ten years, he orders two pairs of our XX bathers.”

by JENNY D’ANGER

Sea Jewels
3/84 Barberry Way, Bibra Lake
1800 008 482

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