Victorian Bathing Suits – Part I

Okay so with only 17 days to work on this project, I really need to get moving.  Ew.  I probably shouldn’t have counted the days – that does not help at all.  Now I just feel stressed.  But I’m determined that we will wear these costumes, so here we go . . .

First, the inspiration.  Ohmigoodness, these people were awesome.  Did you know that modest Victorian ladies would get dragged out into the ocean by a horse in a tiny wooden hut called a “bathing machine” where they would change into their bathing clothes?  Then once out in the water, they would splash around a bit and then get back into the hut and change back into their street clothes while they were dragged back to shore?  Okay.  That’s NUTS.  I find trips to the beach to be complicated enough without all of that nonsense.  Anyway, this is what they were changing into:

victorian bathing suits bathing beauties gibson girls

And did you also know that their wool bathing suits were so heavy that the ladies did no actual swimming?  They would have drowned, yo.  Instead they all just held onto a rope and jumped around.  That sounds really lame, but I’m a really lousy swimmer, so I probably would have thought that was lots of fun.  Born too late, my friends.  Moving onto the actual project . . .

I’m going to wear a shirt, skirt and bloomers or a dress and bloomers – I haven’t decided how to construct it yet (the dress will probably be faster, but then I won’t get to wear the skirt on its own sometimes).  Anyway, I dug through my stash of “historical” patterns and came up with these:

butterick 3417 butterick 3418 simplicity 9769

Butterick 3417 ;  Butterick 3418 ;  Simplicity 9769

Shirt, Skirt, Bloomers – perfect!  And then I made a line drawing (or “flat”) to determine which elements I would use from each pattern:

victorian bathing suit flat drawing

The dotted line indicates the white trim on the black wool dress.  Cute, right?  I’m excited to get started!

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