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Jun 15, 2010

Cathy à la plage -- aide moi, s'il vous plait!



OK, enough parlez-vous for one day.  Readers, I need your help.

We're taking a mid-week beach vacation next month to the glamorous Fire Island Pines and we're bringing my cousin along with us.  Trouble is, Cathy claims she has nothing to wear.  You can guess what that means.

Now I can work my way around a 1939 Hollywood dress pattern pretty well, but I know next to nothing about women's bathing suits -- not to mention all the little cover-ups that come with them.

I hightailed it to Etsy to see what was available.  What I noticed is that the older the swimsuit pattern, the more likely it is to include an entire beach/poolside wardrobe.

For example:


The bikini's nothing special, but that palazzo pants number is very Liza with a Z!

Then there's this:


As soon as I saw that I started singing "The Shadow of Your Smile" and anyone who can guess why wins a free lollipop and maybe more.  It's cute...but a little modest for an athletic girl like Cathy.

This one, modeled by Cathy's doppelganger, Brooke Shields, is a favorite:


As is this...


For a girl without a lot on top, I think that's a cute look.  Here's another:


Who knew the Eighties were such a great decade for swimsuits when they were so dreadful for everything else?  I especially like that blue one-piece with the gathered front up left.  But no cover-up included.

Of course, if it were up to me Cathy would wear something like this.

That's Annette Kellerman, who swam the English Channel way back when.  Esther Williams played her in "Million Dollar Mermaid."


I'm fond of Esther's one-piece suits, but they're a little heavy looking to my eye.  Plus you don't get much of a tan.

So what do you think, folks?   Should we go modest?


Mod?

Or Mamie Van Doren?


Is there a bathing suit pattern -- contemporary or vintage -- you're especially fond of?  Do you think old styles end up looking...old?  Any celebrity inspiration you might share?

What's the best look for a girl who's small on top and not willing to get a Brazilian bikini wax?   Is the entire idea of Cathy in a bikini -- waxed or not -- distasteful?

Thank you from the bottom of my two-piece!


36 comments:

  1. The Vogue American Designer pattern is a stunner. I could see Cathy in red! I think the all-in-one and for those small on top (not me) perhaps some padded cups in the bather top??

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  2. Ah "The Sandpiper"... I think with Cathy's rather fair complexion a cover up is essential. What about 8736 with the caftan made up in voile a la Taylor? The 80's styles do seem made for the rather frontally well-endowed and you should definitely avoid a thong to avoid Brazilian necessity. Am sure whatever you come up with will look fantastic!

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  3. I love it that the name written on that first McCall's pattern you show is "Kitty". That jumpsuit was MADE for women named "Kitty"!

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  4. No matter which design you use for the suit, I think, ahem, perhaps a cute little skirt attached at the waistband (or, cut the suit pattern at the hip level and insert the skirt there and then sew everything up together) might be a discrete addition for Cathy. If nothing else, it will hide the fact that she really is pretty flat in the seat and has no hips. But I love all of the patterns - remember, the earlier ones many times were made of woven material such as gingham - I remember those suits from the 1960s - the padding in the bras only lasted one season, no matter if you swam in chlorine in a pool or at the beach. The padding ended up crunchy by the end of the season.

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  5. Great ideas...

    Fiberchick: you win the lollipop!

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  6. if annette kellerman isnt wering a corset under that body suit maybe I need to swim the channel a few times too!

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  7. I'm too overcome by Cathy's resemblance to Brooke to provide meaningful direction on swimsuits.

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  8. Maybe Cathy's decollete could be enhanced with the addition of some gentle ruffles to add subtle volume? And a matching ruffle to a bikini bottom would be very cute too :)
    http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.binbin.net/photos/miso/mis/miso-frill-bikini-top.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.binbin.net/compare/Miso-Satin-Halterneck-Top.htm&usg=__eXpMmyP1bpU4p3jEUXjZcF_dY7c=&h=600&w=600&sz=48&hl=en&start=10&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=pKBtPZzKCuNetM:&tbnh=135&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfrill%2Bbikini%2Bhalter%2Bneck%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26tbs%3Disch:1
    http://www.google.co.uk/images?um=1&hl=en&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=ruffle+bikini&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

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  9. Yes, yes, ruffles, ruffles, lots of ruffles.

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  10. Ah... boo :(! My links didn't work. The 1st was to a picture of a coral bikini top http://www.binbin.net/photos/miso/ mis/ miso-frill-bikini-top.jpg (remove spaces to get the link to work), and the 2nd link - search "ruffle bikini" in Google Images.

    :) Seemane

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  11. I know it's a little modest for Cathy, but something like 8736 might be the way to go -- my mom is built like twiggy and that style was so flattering on her she was still wearing those suits into the 80s. I've never seen anything that looked better on the super-slim. Maybe merge it with that Simplicity...8193?

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  12. Okay, first of all - if you're saying s'il vous plaît, you need to say aidez-moi. Or you can say Aide-moi s'il te plaît, but you're talking to a whole bunch of us so go with the vous form! (I'm a Montrealer!)

    Secondly although I have very little advice for Cathy who is in a style category beyond my own (not mentioning that jumper though) I am very excited that I have the first pattern you posted! I got it at a garage sale many moons ago for a few cents. And I had been seriously considering making the bikini top from it! Can't imagine me in the jumpsuit doohickey though.

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  13. I really like the ruched blue one (M9089), and for a "period appropriate" (LOL!) coverup why not lengthen the menswear inspired shirt from Cathy's last outfit, or even just reuse it at it's current length? Get her a wide belt, and let her rock it. :-) Question: Is that Simplicity 8198 or 8193? Whatever number it is, I NEED it....badly.

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  14. A vacation with Cathy....how wonderful! I'm sure she would love to have a bikini like the one on kwik sew 3417 :)

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  15. Countrygirl, it's Simplicity 8199.

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  16. OMG! What a trip down memory lane. I remember so well my mother making Simplicity 8199 for me when I was around 15. We had such a fight about whether to raise the waist or let it ride below the below the belly button (egads...how scandalous!) It was white and the first time I went swimming in the lake it became a yucky color of mud orange. Thanks for the memory. I'm sure Cathy will look very tasteful, as she always does, in anything you choose.

    JoanieR

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  17. Ha, so I'm not the only one who had a Simplicity 8199 suit as a teen! Mine was pale blue dotted Swiss, IIRC. With the rickrack on the edges. I had nothing up top then and not much more now, lol. And I have photos of my grandmother at Atlantic City in 1913, in head-to-toe wool beach attire ... modest and probably very itchy!

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  18. 'Vacation with Cathy' sounds like the name of a 60's beach movie with Annette and Frankie, so I'd go Mod and 60's. Plus I love those styles for more "Twiggy-built" physiques

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  19. I want to see Cathy in this: http://www.wholesomewear.com/page-4.html

    -Allie

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  20. While I would love to say Mamie Van Doren I don't think it's a style that would work without a Brazilian. I think simplicity 8193 with the cute little tankini-esque green polka dot suit would be a good suit for Cathy's shape.

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  21. My grandmother embroidered many of Esther Williams' swimsuits. She used to talk about it when I was a little girl. She even embroidered some swimsuits for me, but I hated them because they itched so bad!

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  22. I quite like the Esther Williams look - one piece with the low-cut legs. McCalls 9089 in the blue ruched version would be a good option, the ruching adds a little oomph to smaller busts. Cathy's tall enough to rock the palazzo-pant jumpsuit look, too!

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  23. Did you not discuss with Cathy her opinion of being retouched, per the discussion last week? Perhaps the Brazilian is not an issue if she is comfortable with her hirsutism.
    And I think Kwik-Sew 2689 might be more appropriate for her athletic build. Think
    Gabby Reece
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/swimsuit/collection/issues/1997/97_greece_02.html

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  24. Ummmmm... ok, I'm going to say what everyone else is thinking. Is the *hair* really what Cathy is concerned about showing down there? Brazilian or not, I'm having a difficult time imagining Cathy going for anything that isn't skirted. Like this:

    http://www.estatesalestore.com/images/mccalls3165.jpg

    Or how about this?

    http://www.vintagefashionlibrary.com/inc/sdetail/248

    And I've always loved this one when I've seen it pop up on eBay:

    http://m.b5z.net/i/u/10030340/i/109.jpg

    Whatever she decides to go with, it'd be a shame to have to hide her light under a pareo the whole time.

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  25. I vote ruffle the top and skirt the bottom.
    I counting the days until we see the pics. :-)

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  26. Elaine, let's hope for high tide. ;)

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  27. Cathy needs a boy leg pant with a low rise. That cuts down on the need for a Brazilian and will give more coverage where Cathy is likely to need it! The Brooke Shields bandeau with a boy leg pant would be perfect and I agree that Cathy would rock the palazzo pant suit thing. It's so her.

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  28. I think the blue with the ruching would help camouflage Cathy's small bust line (sorry, is that too forward?)

    For Cathy's husband, I can send you a pdf pattern for a totally Fire Island ready pair of hot pants.

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  29. I know very little about making swimsuits, but I did research a little bit as I have a pattern I got in a huge lot of baby/toddler/girls/teen patterns before she was born in her size. I believe there's some sort of special elastic you're supposed to use, but I'm not sure. How complicated is making a bra, anyway? I mean, they're just about the same as a bikini top!

    As for which pattern, I'm rather fond of McCalls 8089. It looks good for the less endowed and the neckline can be raised and if you like the period look of the Esther Williams looks, you can also redraft the leg openings to be further down the leg.

    Or to go way out there, you could locate a bicycle shorts pattern and swap out the bottoms of the swimsuit so that you've got a racing suit look!

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  30. Oh! Oh! Oh! I vote for McCall's 8738!!! I love the palazzo pants! Cathy would look divine in them!

    BTW - I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your Blog.

    I can't wait to see Cathy's swimming attire!

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  31. Thanks, Judith! There will definitely be something completed by mid July though it's anybody's guess what. ;)

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  32. Oh my. I've made both the blue and the red-and-white stripe from M9089. If I recall correctly, the neckline on the stripe is as awkwardly low as it seems on the envelope. Easy suits to make and to wear, though.

    Those bikinis just don't send me. Cathy's got more style and dash going for her -- she can carry off the one-piece styles with panache, where the less statuesque just fail. The palazzo pants or pant suit look just made for Cathy!

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  33. 9089 gets my vote! Matching up stripes is fun! And the stripes are hot right now!

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  34. I had M9089 from the first go round, but never got around to making it. God I'm old.! :-)

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  35. Palazzo pants with a head scarf! Or you could cut them shorter into a playsuit!
    (whatever you come up with for Cathy I am sure will be classy. I managed to keep breathing through your Harem pant phase so Cathy in a bathing suit is gonna be easy.

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  36. I'm picturing a strapless onepiece with gathers
    between the bust and a little flippy skirt attached...just long enough to cover the ...er..groin.
    From the selection shown we all Know Cathy could rock the palazzo jumpsuit, so I'd love to see her in the Elizabeth Tayloresque caftan complete with turban, jewels and a disdainful look..somewhere in St Tropez

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