Swimwear Inspiration: 30s

Today we’re starting with some swimwear inspiration from the 1930s. Let’s get started.

What do you think of when you hear 30s swimwear? My mind starts at the elegant evening gowns, like this pattern:

Then, I just picture cutting off the long skirt to a “boy short” length and voila! The run down: low back, angly front with some crossing, and very chic.

Let’s look at some bathers from the 1930s.

Click on the image above to go to Wildfell Hall where you’ll read more about 1930s fashions. There’s even a video. You’re going to love it.

As you can see in the image above, these suits were made of worsted wool. The necklines are pretty high compared to period or modern suits and even some 30s gowns I’ve seen.

Here’s a knitting pattern from 1939.

And another one from an Etsy seller Pamoola Vintage (below)

They also have a couple of sewing swim patterns like this top which is said to be a 30s/40s pattern.

Check out Susan Crawford’s book, A Stitch in Time, for some vintage knitting patterns, like this one (below)

Mrs. Depew has two knitting and crochet swim patterns. Both are from 1933 and are size 16. Here‘s a cute suit, ready to be downloaded:

and here‘s another cute number with a skirt, even:

I know a lot of you might not knit but the idea here with today’s inspiration is that you can take what you like, the lines and patterns within 30s swimwear and create the look by cutting, as if to color block block to come up with something truly inspired by this time period.

Anyone loving the 30s swimwear?

15 thoughts on “Swimwear Inspiration: 30s

  1. Brooke says:

    I have always loved the geometric seamlines in ’30s styles, no matter what the outfit is! Great reference photos!

    Btw, don’t know if you saw my tweet to you yesterday, but have you emailed anyone over at WeSewRetro.com to let them know about the swimalong sewalong? There was a post recently about people lamenting the fact they they don’t hear about so many of the sewalongs until they are over.

    • Leila says:

      I did see your tweet but wasn’t really home yesterday. I’ll send them an email. Thanks for bringing it up again.

      yeah, I love the geo stuff.

  2. Gjeometry says:

    I used to have a bathing suit EXACTLY like version C (gathered at the top, and skirt only at front over boy shorts). I loved it, wore it every time I swam and everybody thought it was so ugly. They made fun of me and wore their bikinis! (maybe why I’m not joining in on Swimalong 2013). #SwimsuitTrauma ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Leila says:

      Oh no! I hate it when people’s limited vision of what’s cool gets in the way like that. I totally understand the trauma. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for hanging out while we parade swimwear around.

  3. nettie says:

    It’s been all swimwear, all the time over at mine!! I had to start a new pinterest board, lol I’m really excited to see everyone’s projects!

  4. Gjeometry says:

    You know what??? I may join in! I found a swimsuit pattern that looks fairly simple and just made out of cotton, it’s so cute! (stretchy spandex scares me for sewing and for wearing). So, will have to check out the rules and what to do. (That’s a thumb up the nose to those from my youth with little swimsuit style vision.)

  5. Clare Szabo says:

    My Leila. I don’t need to tell you how awesome you are but I will. YOU’RE AWESOME and I love your blog so I nominated you for a Liebster Award. Go to my blog to find out what it is. xx

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