Remember my Lamour swimsuit from a few summers back? I finally got back to that pattern and over the last 4 months in between costume work and wedding dresses I’ve developed a whole little range of retro styled swimwear and thought I’d give a preview of some of the pattern styles.
…making swimsuits that is. And this pattern from the late 50’s/early 60’s is a real gem
I can see this in solid colours as well as other prints. It’s a fast and easy thing to sew.
Making it up in lycra is definitely worth a shot too.
As a full length all-in-one for hot weather off the beach? I think that could be fab. It’s such a good shape and fit I may even make a little linen dress from it as well
I really like a pattern that has possibilities of going much further than what is on the envelope.
The fabric used here is a hand printed cotton from India and I lined it with black cotton lawn just to keep the inside neat. I pre-washed both.
Instead of buttons up the back as suggested I inserted an invisible zip. I can get in and out of a garment with a back zip on my own but cannot manage buttons and asking for help can be awkward. Can anyone really do buttons up the back themselves?? I can’t even do bra hooks in the back…
But getting back to Butterick 6536 . It’s sized for 32 Bust/26 and a half Waist/35 Hip. And it fits me at 34/28/38. That ease thing in commercial patterns again. The 1940’s swimsuit I made a couple of weeks back was true to the pattern size. And this one, though pictured as being form fitting, looked positively baggy and not very nice on my daughter who is very close to the Butterick 14.
But that’s a good thing it was too big for her because it’s MINE now all mine! Fits me just like the illustration. The only thing I would change on a second make is to scoop the back lower and make the channels for the side gathering strings as strips sewn on top rather than hand stitching little eyelets. I’m not after authenticity of make, it’s the retro silhouettes I love.
In exchange for losing a swimsuit the daughter has selected a June Havoc Hollywood dress pattern from the 1940’s, an off the shoulder top from the 50′ and a playsuit from the 70’s plus fabrics from my stash cupboard, and I get to make her all that.
Hmmm, somehow not a even deal here.
For me the ultimate beach-babe is not off Baywatch and isn’t remotely like Bo Derek .
No, I’ve always held Dorothy Lamour as being the ultimate queen of Glamour Beach.
(Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable do figure in there too as style consultants).
So I got the Dorothy hair style down but the swim suit was missing.
But no longer…
(sound of a fanfare here and a ta-da!)
Move over Dorothy, Vera’s gonna kick some sand in your face.
This is the most recent proto-type: I’m on version 2 of the pants and version 6 of the bra. It still has pins holding the straps on and a couple of construction issues to iron out but basically it’s the swimsuit of my dreams come to life.
The lycra is swimwear quality (apparently not all lycra is made equal? … something I need to find out more about) and I lined the bottoms in power-net so don’t even have to remember to hold my tum in all the time- the suit does it for me. The bra cups are backed with a seamed cotton cup for better shaping than lycra alone would give though I’m going to try them in the power-net too just to see how that works… that would make the whole suit stretchy and more modern in construction.
There’s light nylon bones in the sides of the top so it doesn’t crumple and plastic swimwear clasps to close the back band and neck strap. The bottom cut is a little shorter than the one Dorothy is wearing but is still proper ‘big pants’ and I’m loving the modesty panel. Possibly the most flattering suit I’ve put on in recent years.
And a 1 piece version in the works too.
I’ll have a red one, a black one, more print ones, a stretchy lace one, a gold one… one for every day of the week!
Project ‘Swimsuit’ is finally under way.
All last summer I talked about making some retro styled beachwear for myself, daughter and friends.
Did I actually get around to it ? weeelll, I sketched ideas, collected some 1940’s and 1950’s patterns and original garments for reference… and then suddenly last summer was over.
But amazing early warm sunny weather has hit the south coast of England this last week and my thoughts turned once again to sun and sea.
I saw this 1940’s pattern at the Vintage Pattern Lending Library and decided it was the answer to my annual beachwear problems.
The cotton fabric is from a French Connection skirt I bought 6 years ago. I always loved the print but finally the waist just became too tight so the skirt landed in my scrap bag only to be recently rediscovered and recycled into this swimsuit.
The top is bagged out with a lightweight black cotton poplin and that is what I used to make the shorts that attach under the skirt as well.As the fabric was limited cutting out was tight. The waistband is pieced from 3 scraps and I narrowed the band on the bottom of the bodice to be the same width as the waistband. My skirt finishes 1&1/2″ shorter than the pattern which was just too long for my 5’4″ height and I saved a bit more on the cutting layout by not including the 2″ hems allowed for on the pattern. The fit was perfect and the pattern for the shorts underneath could make a great pair of flat front wide legged trousers at a later date.
A cotton swimsuit will be quite a different experience from a lycra one especially in terms of drying out time after a dip. I’m ready to put up with some dampness in exchange for style though.
All in all I’m really pleased with the outcome and full sail ahead.