This fantastic bathing suit comes to you courtesy of the lovely Sherril Miller of Pattern Review. I posted on the message board looking for an Ethel Merman style swimsuit, like those on mybabyjo.com. I google image searched Ethel Merman before posting my question, and came up with a number of drag queens and many pictures of a stately, handsome older woman. I was curious that there were no pictures of her in a swimsuit, her signature look, but figured that she must have grown out of her bathing beauty phase. It did not, of course, occur to me that I had the wrong person. Several people gently pointed out to me that I meant Esther Williams. It's the historical pop culture questions that always stump me on the crossword, too.
Anyway, Sherril said that she believed she had in her possession such a pattern, inherited from her husband's grandmother. And offered to send it to me! That is a generosity of spirit! She was laid out flat with back spasms, and even still managed to send her husband to the PO to send it off to me with a quickness. I was so touched and amazed, and knew I had to make the pattern immediately.
I used the fabric I got from NYC during pattern review weekend that I had leftover from my Alberta Ferretti knockoff. Having finished it, I don't think the pattern is shown to its best advantage in a print. The print is all distorted by the ruching and I think that distracts from the lines of the suit. Oh well.
So, what's slapdash about this project? Rather than do any pesky measuring, or perform algebraic geometric surgery on the pattern to get it to, you know, fit, I just cut out the lining as drafted and then kept taking the darts and seams in and in until it fit. That's why they invented lycra. Then I kinda sorta figured out where I had taken it in the most and cut out the fashion fabric layer a little smaller in the those places, and then sort of ruched the whole thing together. It worked out great.
You can maybe see a little bit of how much I took it in in these pictures of the lining after all the sewing but before I trimmed away the seam allowances.
I don't think this swimsuit can actually be worn in the water. With all that fabric it's pretty constricting, and I think the weight of three yards of wet lycra would pull me under like a riptide. But I will look freaking adorable sitting on a chaise longue at the beach with an umbrella drink in my hand, no? Anybody want to offer their beach house on the French Riviera (with cabana boy) in which to practice my styling and profiling?
You can see the web album, with way more poses and angles than is necessary, here.