I own about half a dozen vintage men's swimsuit patterns, which I've picked up over the years mainly on eBay and Etsy.
Some are for cabana sets, some for suits with windbreakers, and some are just for Speedo-style suits. I don't make bathing suits often as I don't find them very interesting to make. I wear commercial swimsuits to swim laps in as they're made with chlorine-resistant fabrics that aren't easily found in fabric stores.
Today, don't ask me why -- the temperature never rose beyond the mid-Forties and tomorrow's forecast is even colder -- I decided to test out one of my swimsuit patterns, Simplicity 6073.
The issue I always have with patterns from this period is that they were drafted with extremely high rises, as many men back then wore their swimsuits (and pants) over their navel, at their true waist (though not Frankie Avalon in that first post, clearly). That's not a look I find flattering at all. So the first change I made was to take 2" out of the front and back rise. This still wasn't enough, however: the waist came up too high. So I took an additional 1" off the top waistband.
Since my "lower" waist (where my pants generally sit) is wider than my true waist, I also widened the pattern at the waistline by 2" total (adding 1/2" to the two side seams, front and back). Finally, I narrowed the waistband from 1 3/4" to 1 1/4" inches.
For this test garment, I used a piece of heavy cotton poplin I had in my stash. There is a front zipper fly, and I added a fly shield (not included in the pattern) as well as a single front button on the waistband.
I'll make additional tweaks on the next version, but this isn't bad for a first try. It fits comfortably.
I'd like to experiment with snaps and/or grommets instead of a waistband button, and maybe add some small patch pockets with flaps. Also, use more interesting fabric. With such a small garment, the details really make all the difference.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!