I was (and still am) working on an elaborate project for the Historical Sew Fortnightly The Great Outdoors challenge, but (as so often happens), I’m busy dealing with stuff, and won’t be able to get it done in time, so it’s been pushed back to a later challenge.
Luckily, I quite unexpectedly ended up with the inspiration for a simpler alternative item. I’ve been working my way through all the various T-shirt patterns that are available at the moment.
I was trying the Tessuti Alexa T (not linking to it, because really, don’t buy it – SO overpriced for what it is) in a gorgeous fuchsia merino blend knit. Unfortunately, I was so disappointed in the cut of the T-shirt that it was unfixable (enormous armholes. You can fix almost anything but enormous armscythes in a T-shirt), and I almost threw it away.
Then I remembered the gorgeous fuchsia swimsuit that Knotrune did for the HSF Art challenge. She was inspired by Picasso’s Bathers, and my fuchsia wool was the same shade, and looking at Bathers, it wouldn’t be too hard for me to cut my T-shirt neckline’s down to match Picasso’s
Of course, I had a T-shirt, and The Bathers are wearing one pieces. Off to do some research, which yielded, this:
Ta da! Early 1920s Jantzen girl wonderfulness – in two pieces!
So I adjusted the neckline of my T-shirt, bound it and the armscythes, and used the last of my merino to whip up a pair of knee-length shorts (using Cake’s Espresso leggings pattern, which I DO recommend, as my base).
And the result:
Ta da! Early 1920s (ish) swimwear wonderfulness! On me!
Because it’s the middle of winter, and far too cold to be outside in a swimsuit (even a wool one), I posed inside, in the bathroom. It seemed vaguely suitable, especially when I pretended to dive into the bath!
I’m really happy with my swimsuit, but I am just thinking of it as a working toile – it’s certainly not period perfect, but it does the job, and will help me to make another one that is perfect later on.
For now, it’s fun to wear, and it might even get a trial dip in the sea once the weather is warmer.
I might have to work on my diving form though…
I was short on fabric so had to do a bit of piecing:
The Challenge: #15 The Great Outdoors
Fabric: 1ishm of merino/something synthetic (probably nylon) blend knit.
Pattern: Extremely altered versions of Tessuti’s Alexa T (I don’t think there was a single line left that matched their pattern by the time I was done), and slightly altered Cake Espresso leggings.
Notions: polyester thread, elastic
How historically accurate is it?: Not much at all, since it didn’t start out as a period item. The construction itself is plausible, though I should have done my bindings slightly differently to match the period examples I have studied. The knit is much finer than a period knit. The overlocking is actually accurate, as overlockers have been around since the 1880s, and in the ‘teens and 20s were commonly used on knitwear and swimsuits.
Hours to complete: 3 or thereabouts, depending on whether you count my fussing with the Alexa pattern as part of the construction.
First worn: For the photoshoot
Total cost: I paid $15 for a 3x metres length of the merino at a clearance sale, and also made a long-sleeved T (that actually works!) out of it, and a cardigan, so lets say $5 +$1 in notions = $6 for the swimsuit.