Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

· 1910s Bathing Costume ·


One of my most-needed projects for this summer was a new swimsuit!  While I adore vintage style everyday and also rather like vintage swimwear, I'm just not comfortable sporting it.  Too little coverage to make me comfortable, plus I am pretty much the polar opposite of a "sun worshipper".  I don't love the way sunscreen feels, but I also hate getting burnt or tanned.  Consequently, I love garments that will cover my neck and shoulders when I'm likely to have sun exposure for a long period of time.  Enter: even older "vintage"!  The bathing costumes of the early 20th century really appeal to me, and I love having an excuse to go full-out, unabashedly sailor style!


I'm not super big on water activities, but even I have to admit that they *are* a natural part of life in the US and are mildly diverting. ;-)  I used to be super fond of swimming (and was quite good when I was young!), but I think it's one of those things that becomes more enjoyable when it's a habit.

All this to say that I have been sadly neglecting my own swimming attire for years...  My mom made me a really cute 1900s style bathing costume 12 years ago from this Folkwear pattern, and while it was a quite forgiving style for growing... it became obvious that I needed to accept the fact that something made when I was 13 years old was just really never going to work again. ;-)  I'm pretty good at procrastinating on projects and also pretty good at avoiding water sports.  Consequently I went several years without any swimsuit.  I think it's one of those things that, while you can manage without it, once you have the garment, you'll be using it a whole awful lot.  So I look forward to many more outings to put it to good use!

Blah, blah, blah... I talk/ramble/blather so much on this blog!  I think this is really just my way of getting a captive audience and getting out everything I could possibly want to say but usually am too inhibited by myself to do. ;-)  And besides, you can always skip to the photos if you don't give two hoots!


I changed the neckline to a shallow V and altered the collar accordingly.  I really wanted to do a wide, square neckline, but my desire for maximum sun coverage won out. ;-)

The buttons down the front are fully functioning to allow extra room for pulling it on.


The skirt is smooth at the front and pleated on the sides and back.


The back trim and sleeves were inspired by my very favorite image (from my Pinterest board), and I'm glad I finally got around to doing something with that inspiration since it's been rattling in my head for years!

I used both 1/2" and 3/8" ribbon on all the bodice/waistband areas.  It ended up being just subtly more pleasing than 2 rows of the same width and, bonus!, it turns out that I was able to completely use up both spools this way so it was some great stash-busting!


Speaking of stash-busting, the whole project accomplished that in spades!  The buttons are all from the stash, the fabric came from all the random bits we had leftover from 12 years ago.  It was the perfect amount- hooray!




I really adored the Folkwear pattern, but after wearing it a few times, we discovered how very inconvenient and unpractical having a jumpsuit with detachable skirt was for undressing/using the restroom.  The design was very clever, but it necessitated removing every article of clothing as well as undoing every button (there are 14) and untying the tie.  In short, it was a royal pain.  We've come up with a few ways of making other bathing suits more user-friendly, and this is our latest attempt.  I haven't put it to a rigorous test yet, but I do feel like it will be perfectly suitable. :-)

The dress is a one-piece with entirely separate bloomers and honestly, I'm not sure why I didn't think of it before- seems like an easy solution to the dilemma, haha!


 I also wanted to modernize my bathing costume a bit this time around- you know, bring it all the way up to the 1910s! ;-)  Shorter sleeves and a v-neckline instead of a jewel neckline were my biggest changes.  I drew lots of inspiration from my Pinterest board, and there are still so many ideas I'd love to use for another project!  I never found historical reference to buttons up the side, so those are (plausible, I flatter myself) artistic license but I'm a huge fan!

Also, the majority of bathing costumes I came across from the 1910s had longer bloomers and shorter skirts than mine.  I'm not entirely sold on that idea yet, so when I came across a few examples otherwise, I instantly claimed them as my justification. ;-)


Triple rows of ribbon for the skirt, again taken from extant photos.  I applied this trim before deciding on the trim for the rest, so of course now I'm second-guessing the placement and I really do think I should space them wider.  Sigh- to rip off, or not to rip off?  The struggle is real.



The bodice is quite roomy to allow for full range of motion, and it is taken in with inverted pleats in the front and back.


The side opens all the way into the armhole which makes for easy on-and-off, even when soaking wet.

Speaking of which, I made this bathing costume with taslan, which we've come to love for swimwear!  It's made from nylon, but is engineered to look and feel like cotton.  It's very comfortable, although I will admit that this particular batch of fabric is my favorite of all the others we've purchased since!  The glory of taslan is how quickly it completely dries off.  Upon first coming out of the water, it sheds massive amounts of water, and then it is easily wrung out a bit.  But after being in the sun for a few minutes the whole dress dries out and, depending on the humidity/sunshine levels, it can be completely dry in 15-20 minutes.  Score!  It also makes a perfect outfit for canoeing or anything involving "accidental" water.


· Photos by the ever-marvelous Kathryn who convinces me that, yes, getting in the boat is actually a really good idea for a photoshoot! I'd be so hopeless without you. ;-) ·

40 comments:

  1. *A*dorable! That suit looks lovely and I'm glad it comfortable. I like the look of the bias strips too; at first I thought leave the skirt ones, but now... well, I know what you mean about *maybe* switching them up! :^)

    Perhaps just move the top one the same distance apart as the others on your bodice? You could get that nice 'echo affect' and wouldn't have to move all 3 of them.

    I'd never heard of taslan before (I'm a natural fibers nerd) but there's something to be said for fabric that does what you want it to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! :-) I do like that idea of just moving one row- so clever! We'll see how imperative it ends up being.... ;-)

      Delete
  2. Very interesting post and you look absolutely fabulous. I'm quite intrigued by the whole idea.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh I love it! You did a splendid job & look great (you know, like you like the water:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Absolutely adorable!!!! :) I love the style, the way you trimmed it, and the idea for separate bloomers! It looks so cute, and very comfortable as well. I might just have to try getting some taslan myself! After a very bad experience with cotton, I was almost permanently turned off to the idea of water activities for good. But this may have just changed my mind! ;)
    Also, don't unpick!! It looks perfect, in my opinion! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Esther, haha! Yeah, I can see how horrible cotton could be! Try out taslan! I'd recommend going for lighter weights, as heavier fabrics we've tried just weren't as comfortable. :-)

      And thanks for the vote in the skirt trim dilemma. ;-)

      Delete
  5. So you really swim in this suit? Is that practical? Just wondering, but I'm totally in love with it! I'm a sucker for necklines with a tie and for vintage style swimsuit (I bought myself a 50s style one in store, but it's not as 'real' as yours!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Eva! Yes, I do swim in it! It's really not as cumbersome as I feared, but make no mistake... I won't be winning any competitions in this one. ;-) Your suit sounds adorable! I really do think the styles in the 40s and 50s were super flattering! Esther Williams is one of my favorite actresses, so that might have influenced me a touch. ;-)

      Delete
  6. I love this! And I think it's amusing how one generation's bathing costumes and unmentionables become the next's everyday wear. This dress could easily pass for a casual '50s number - and '50s swimsuits could easily pass for dresses today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Skye, haha! I hadn't thought of it that way- too true!

      Delete
  7. Getting in the boat is always a good idea. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. I'm definitely convinced. ;-)

      Delete
  8. Looks lovely and perfect for an elegant wade! And great job with the details, the buttons and the bow-neckline! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I usually wear natural fibers except for swimming. I have had some plans for modest and comfortable swim outfits, but I am not expert enough to handle that fabric and all those details. I have been eyeing vintage beach/play suits. They are usually so expensive, but Simplicity has a reprint: 8139. I might have to this with taslan and make separate bloomers. I would lengthen it too. Its weird how much more modest the vintage eras were except in swimsuits and shorts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That pattern is so fun! I hope you can find a great option that works for you! :-)

      Delete
  10. This is gorgeous, I'd wear it in a heartbeat!
    I don't go to the beach very much either (I don't do well in the sun, I don't feel comfortable in regular swimwear, and there are usually way too many people for my introverted self) but I bought a fabric some years ago to make a swimdress I could feel comfortable in. I still haven't made anything from it, as the bathingsuit fabric is new territory for me... This was lovely inspiration :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, so glad I could inspire you!

      Delete
  11. Adorable! It's great that you feel comfortable in it, too!

    Best,
    Quinn

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is just the best idea ever- I love it! I don't like most modern bathing suits, and currently don't own one, but this is a really lovely idea. The fabric sounds like it would be perfect, and I imagine that wearing a "sailor" styled outfit is perfect for water activities. The stripes are really nice. I am definitely saving this idea for a future project... if I ever find the time :)
    The Artyologist

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nicole! I think I'm most excited to use this for boating trips and the like... next summer, I guess. ;-)

      Delete
  13. Like Pepper Reed, I had never heard of Tasman before. I will have to look it up. I have been helping a friend prepare for her 205th trip to climb My. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. She told me that she doesn't pack anything in cotton because it takes too long to dry. Tasman might be perfect!
    The swimsuit looks adorable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that is an impressive trip! Taslan is used quite frequently for active/outerwear due to its properties, so it could definitely be an option. :-)

      Delete
  14. Oh Lily, this is so immensely sweet + beautiful. I swear, if swimwear like this was still readily available, it would be my go to choice. Modesty is an absolute must for me at the beach, yet there are so few good 21st options (especially that reach past the knee) available these days on that front.

    You truly look incredible, honey. Magnificent yesteryear summertime make.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's gorgeous and these photos are so beautiful!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. So gorgeous!! I really love this. I am a type of lady who wears loads of coverage on bathing suits and always say how I would wear ones from way back in the teens of last century. You wear this perfectly and the photos are amazing!! I too am the opposite of a sun worshiper though I adore the outdoors.
    +Victoria+
    justicepirate.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I really, really love this bathing suit on you, it's utterly adorable! My husband looked over my shoulder at the screen and also voiced his approval (we both like a bit of nautical chic!). Clever, clever lady. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heehee! Glad I got both of your votes! :-)

      Delete
  18. This was a very interesting post - I've never heard of taslan, where can you purchase it? While I love getting sun, I'm not a fan of the bikini. After all that sewing, I'm hardly ever in good enough shape for one so I prefer vintage styles too. Your suit came out so charming!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lisette! We have most frequently found Taslan on eBay, but it is available from a few different outerwear fabric sources. There isn't much demand, so a simple google search usually yields the limited stockists at the moment! :-)

      Delete
  19. Such a fantastic bathing costume. It also makes for a gorgeous sailor dress in and of itself. I love how you changed the design to make the shorts detachable rather than a jumpsuit with detachable skirt. While I love the design of a jumpsuit with detachable skirt I know first hand how much of a pain it can be. The fabric on this sounds absolutely perfect and I love the triple row of stripes at the bottom of the skirt. Also, you never ramble Lily <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Also, thanks for the vote of approval for monologuing! ;-)

      Delete
  20. This is similar to mine, but yours is more elegant. You pull it off so well! I also feel more comfortable in modest swimwear. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I looked up Taslan and found two options. One is 4 ply 4 oz and the other is 2 ply 2 oz. Which one would you suggest? Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Penny, so sorry for my tardy response! I can't remember what ply/weight this was, but we purchased 6oz (not sure on ply) that was too heavy. I would tend towards 4oz for lighter colors, but maybe 2oz would work for darker?

      Delete

 

Copyright © 2013 Mode de Lis . All rights reserved. | Designed by PrairieRoseDesigns.com