Thursday, 28 November 2013

Late Victorian or Edwardian bathing suit



Pattern: For the bottom part I used the drawers from the Laughing Moon #100 Ladies Victorian Underwear pack, but closing the crotch until about halfway and attaching it to an improvised bodice. For the skirt and separate waistband I used the waistband from the Laughing Moon package, but modified slightly.
Fabric: Dark blue Dvala fitted sheet from Ikea, 180 x 200 cm, 100% cotton. I used about three quarters of the fabric, maybe more.
Haberdasheries: About 9 metres of petersham ribbon and 9 metres of ric-rac ribbon; 10 red buttons; two snap fasteners.

Bathing suits like these could consist of different parts: a sort of jumpsuit with or without a skirt over it, or a dress with bloomers underneath. I chose the first option and made a separate waistband, so that I can also wear the swimsuit without the skirt.

First, I cut the drawers from the Laughing Moon #100 Ladies Victorian Underwear pack, then an improvised bodice with the same waist circumference as the drawers. As I didn’t want any bagginess at the shoulder, this meant the bodice actually got wider towards the waist. I attached the drawers to the bodice creating a tunnel, which enables me to evenly gather the fabric at the waist before putting the skirt or separate waistband on. I based this on an image of an original bathing suit.
For the skirt and separate waistband I used the waistband pattern piece from the Laughing Moon package, modified: it is supposed to be folded in half, but I didn’t do that, and cut another piece for the inside. The skirt is just a rectangular strip of fabric 178 cm long and 65 cm high, including seams, gathered at the waist and sewn to the waistband.
I decorated everything with ric-rac ribbon sewed on top of petersham ribbon, which I think creates a nice contrast and old-fashioned look.


The suit without the skirt:


My bathing suit was mainly inspired by the images below. The one on the left is an 1893 navy blue flannel suit (agelesspatterns.com). In the middle is a 1900s British suit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I can’t find the source of the photo on the right, but it’s a two-piece from around 1900.


And these are the photos I tried to recreate; the one on the left is from 1910, the one on the right from 1900:



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