I had been wanting to make a Vintage Turn of the Century bathing suit for a while now, so making this dress fulfilled that dream.
Step 1 was cutting out this pattern. This was my first time using the Folkwear pattern brand, and I really liked it. I actually mostly followed the pattern… which never happens. My boyfriend’s mom gifted me this pattern for Christmas and I’ve been planning on making it ever since then.
For the fabric I chose this beautiful blue cotton and used white cotton for the collar and skirt waistband. Most of the time bathing costumes like these were made of wool, but I was not about to wear wool to the Gulf of Mexico in June. The pattern listed cotton as one of its suggested fabric, noting that original garments were made out of wool. But I just imagined wet wool with sand stuck to it and it was an unpleasant thought, and cotton was a nice light, cheap, alternative.
I also used a cotton for the lining, but I only lined the front of the bodice. Because again, I’m wearing this to the Gulf of Mexico in June. I do value historical accuracy, but I’m making this dress just for fun and wearing it just for fun, so I want it to be comfortable. It still defiantly has that Edwardian “look”.
I was really proud of how the black pleats turned out. There were a lot of pleats that went into this bathing dress. Of course I had help from the sewing cats.
This I attached the front to the back.
Like I said lots of pleats and help form the sewing cats.
This outfit had two waist bands the skirt waistband and the waistband that attached the bodice to the pantaloon bottoms. So, this outfit could be worn two ways, with or without the skirt. But I really like the look with the skirt. It flutters so beautifully in the beach breeze, and most of the historic photos I’ve seen show ladies wearing it with the skirt. So I think it is the more popular style.
Attaching the pantaloons was a little weird for me because usually nothing I do has anything to do with pants.
The sleeves were nice and poofey
The skirt was three pieces. The front panel is V shaped and it is attached to two large rectangular panels that are then pleated to high heaven. SO. MANY. PLEATS. Then I sewed all the pleats.
After that I attached the skirt to the white waistband, and I attached the white sailor’s collar.
The one place I deviated from the pattern is that it called for an elastic band and ruffle around sleeves and bloomers, but I opted for a simple band instead.
I trimmed the dress in white grosgrain ribbon. I put it along the hem and the band of the sleeves.