Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SwimAlong 2013: 1950s Vintage Swimwear

If I had to choose a favorite era for fashion and swimwear particularly, it would be the 50s. Curves were in and fashions really flattered them. Stretch fabrics were getting more and more common, so swimwear became much more body conscious (not to mention easier to get into and to swim in).

My first impulse when I think of 50s swimwear is the Pinup style suit - one piece with lots of torso ruching or other decorative interest, open neckline with wide straps or strapless and lower cut legs.
This image of Marilyn Monroe is a perfect example of the classic 50s look. Isn't she amazing? Fortunately, there are quite a few patterns and even free tutorials available for you to have your own "Pinup" style suit.
Burdastyle's Alison swimsuit pattern is a modern adaptation of this classic 50s style. Closet Case Files made an unbelievable version of this pattern, complete with full 50s backside coverage and ruching through the torso. Check it out here.
Not into patterns? Want to draft it yourself? The amazing and beautiful Amanda of Kitschy Coo put together a wonderful Pinup suit tutorial. It's worth a look-see even if you aren't interested in drafting your own pattern, as she goes through all of the sewing steps quite thoroughly.

But the 50s weren't all about Pinups!
Fit and Flare seeped into the swimwear world as well, with gorgeous, shapely swim dresses! Can you believe this princess seamed beauty from Advance? That neckline is divine.
Swim dresses came in "wiggle dress" form as well. This pretty number is available from Mrs. DePew Vintage as a download in a large range of bust sizes. The sweetheart neckline is flattering to many shapes.
But don't feel restricted to swimwear patterns. Lingerie patterns are easily adapted to swimwear, since they are often drafted with negative ease and sewn in stretch fabrics. This fabulous Ohhh Lulu Bodysuit would make an amazing 50s inspired swimsuit. The pattern includes a panty and bra pattern that would be a fabulous bikini as well.
The shapes of swimwear in the 1950s were really designed to flatter the feminine shape. I hope you've found something here to inspire, even if this era isn't your scene. Swimwear has come along way throughout the years! Come on in! The water's fine!

18 comments:

  1. I love the 50s suits. They're so cool and I think this is the style that would easily flatter me the most.

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    1. Me, too. I'm torn between Amanda's tute and the DePew pattern...

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  2. Really great suits. I had no idea, but the suit I pinned with hopes of making is exactly this style! Thanks for the resources to figure out how to accomplish it!

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  3. Hey thanks Katie I was looking for a 50s pattern! I saw the Alison... But I think thanks to you I am going to try and draft my own... Now to figure out how
    Much fabric I need, what kind, and all that jazz!

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    1. Sweet! I think Amanda's tute is great. Can't wait to see how it goes!

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  4. I love the classic styles of everything from the '50s! That swim dress pattern is so cute!

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    1. Isn't it adorable?! Totally love that look.

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  5. Thanks for all those links. Lots to look at and think about. Those swim dresses are adorable.

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    1. I can totally see you rocking one! :)

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  6. I've made the Mrs. Depew suit out of 4 way stretch spandex and it ROCKS! Next up I'm going to try the same pattern in a non-stretchy cotton. The pattern is nicely put together with easy instructions so if you're not sure I'd try this one. I'll also check out the Pinup suit tutorial, thank you for all your research and tips : )

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    1. Very good to know! I'm really tempted by that one, so I'm glad it goes together so well.

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  7. Yay - This is the post for me! I'm going to use the Ohhh Lulu pattern, because it looks like a good combo of retro-ish and easy to sew! I can't wait to get started!

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    1. Oooh, that's going to be fab! I really like that one. Nice that it has all the "bra" elements done for you.

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  8. Definitely my favorite swimwear era! I will be making the Allison with some modifications.

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    1. Yay! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  9. I can't find your email address to message your privately but.... I AM RELEASING THAT PATTERN THIS SUMMER! It's being tested this month and I hope to release it early June! CAN YOU SAY SYNCHRONICITY?!

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    1. Yay!! Let us know and we'll be sure to link you up!

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