Maybe I've watched too many Esther Williams movies. Maybe I'm so immersed in vintage womens swimsuit patterns that I've lost perspective.
I've come to believe that the most flattering two-piece bathing suit is one cut much like the suit Esther is wearing above. It's also the shape of these lovely suits modeled by Ava Gardner below (with slight variations).
And it's the shape of Simplicity 1612. In fact, the bottom of Simplicity 1612 is nearly identical to Ava's polka dotted suit above -- note the side lacing.
I know it's probably not the most comfortable suit bottom to wear, with your belly button covered up and all, but it does hold one in -- not that anybody should be held in, mind you, but isn't it nice to know you have the option? Notice how some suits have a skirt-like flat panel that covers the crotch while others are just the plain suit bottom with a little ruching.
Notice too, how the silhouette for both mens and womens swimsuit bottoms is nearly identical. (Keep that in mind when you see my results.)
Simplicity 1612 is ruched all over and I must say I love the look. Can someone please tell me why nobody every ruched mens bathing suits? It's not sequins, after all.
These late 30's and 40's suits were cut high on the leg (essentially at crotch level) but always came up above the belly button (at least in period movies and ads). This seems foreign to us today but I think it's very flattering to many people, especially those of us with short legs and longish waists.
|Name that blonde!|
I remain on the fence about the side lacing for this suit. It requires thirty-two eyelets (or grommets, so I'd be pounding those all day and seriously pissing off the neighbors). On my muslin, I used my Singer buttonholer to make the holes, and I picked the smallest, roundest buttonhole template I had. In retrospect, I should have made the holes vertical, but really, it doesn't matter -- my results were underwhelming. Plus, it's a detail that doesn't really show up on a print fabric; on a solid, it might stand out more.
The end of each front and back piece has a narrow panel where the eyelets (or grommets) go. There are some small pleats in back and ruching in front, along with an elastic strip that gathers the front center seam (which in the final suit will be in a casing). I ended up lacing only one side of the suit (with rayon seam binding since I didn't have ribbon). On the other side, I inserted a zipper, just to see what that might look like.
I think what I'll end up doing is make a single, wide side panel rather than two that are laced together, and then on one side have the back of the side panel lap over a zipper. Or, I could put the zipper in the back, like on this beautiful vintage satin and nylon suit currently for sale on Etsy.
This suit is also remarkably similar to Simplicity 1612, albeit with wide black satin trim instead of bias strips (which I didn't add to the muslin).
I must say I am enjoying this project immensely -- who knew the world of 1940's bathing suits was such a rich one?
QUESTION: How high on your waist do you like to wear your bathing suit bottoms? Do you ever prefer to keep your belly button hidden? Enquiring minds want to know.
Have a great day everybody!