Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A 1940's Bathing Suit

I have always thought 1940's swim suits are just the cutest! I finally used a trip to the beach as an excuse to make one. 

I vacillated over what fabric to use, as the 40's are out of my regular purview. I looked into stretchy blends. I looked into rayons. I looked into wools... And by the time I spent all this time hemming and hawing over fabrics, it was going to be too late to order anything in time. So, I settled on some cute checked linen I'd had in the stash for ages. Time to use it! 

For the top and skirt, I used Simplicity 1022, unaltered. For the turban, I used Mrs. Depew's 1940's Turban pattern. 

I have pretty good luck fitting in most vintage size 34 patterns, without having to adjust too much. I love when that works out because it really helps me see how vintage patterns were designed to fit, since, as I said, this late in the 20th century is not my area of expertise. But I'm learning! Its my new goal!

The bottoms are comprised of a skirt over trunks. They are attached to each other at the waist and lapped placket, which closes with snaps and a button. Actually, the one alteration I made to the pattern was I cut the waistband out of a straight strip of linen, instead of using the shaped pieces that came with the pattern. It was simpler and quicker to measure and fit this kind of waistband, than baste up the shaped one, make sure it wasn't too big, etc etc.

I chose to make the trunks out of a stretchy knit blend, just like is done in an original 40's swim suit I have in my collection. I'll share pictures in a separate post. I used a pair of jersey pillowcases from Target for the trunks (I found the sunglasses there, too). They have elastic around the leg openings. These are sooooo soft and comfy! 

The inside and outside of the top. It had options to tie like a halter, or add buttons to the band and holes to the ends of the neck ties and criss-cross across the back. I added the buttons, but forgot to add the button holes! Easy to add later.

In my original suit, the top is lined with knit. I can see that being very comfy!

The turban is my favorite part! I think it made the outfit!

There was actually a lot of work that went into the turban. The edges are all narrow hemmed, by hand, as was called for in the pattern. I added wig clips to keep it on my head. I suppose one could also add little combs, or pin it on. It definitely needs something to secure it. 

And because it's no fun unless you turn at least one pic black and white!

Pics of that original suit to come. Cheers, all!


  1. Definitely pin-up worthy on your sweethearts wall!

  2. So cute! I don't think the turban is my style, but it looks great on you and definitely pulls the whole ensemble together!