Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Patons and Baldwins archive part three - 1930's swimsuits

I've been saving these photos for a while, waiting for the sun to shine for long enough that I feel up to talking about swimwear. As the past few days have been scorchers and humid beyond belief, and I have been wishing that I could spend 24 hours a day floating about in very cold water, it seems to me that now is as good a time as any!

I have shown two lots of 1930's knitting patterns from the Patons and Baldwins archive here and here and explained how I came to see them. I grouped all the swimwear patterns together as it is a great way to see the variety in designs. In the 1930's swimwear became more like swimwear of modern times in that things like long sleeves and bloomers disappeared, bodies are no longer completely covered and the garments are more practical for swimming and more revealing for sun bathing.


The back is very low in many of these swimsuits, reminiscent of 1930's evening gowns. I assume the central strap helps give a bit more structure when actually swimming.


This is a nice two tone example, the way the dark colour carries on in a little diamond into the lighter colour is a nice touch.


I like the effect the stripe wool at the sides gives, it would give an illusion of a smaller waist.


I really like the little sun cape that goes with this swimsuit. It appears to attach by two buttons near the waist to make it easy to add and remove.


I like the harlequin top on this one. She must be serious about swimming as she has a bathing cap.


I was pleased to find some patterns for men's costumes, notice the large cutouts at the sides. The stripey yarn was obviously that year's trend!


This looks very similar to the first pattern, except that she is posing on a diving board.


I was also pleased to find children's swimsuits. This one looks lovely in the striped yarn.


I am assuming this is a crossover strap version of the previous costume


Looks like the side cutouts are slightly smaller on this one.


Never mind the costume, checkout the beach shoes!


Diagonal stripes were popular on 1930's knitwear.


Geometric patterns were also popular.

Do you have a favourite?

There are many, many garments on my to knit list, which, incidentally, never decreases and is regularly added to. Some of them are for me, some are possibilities for my Easy shop, some are commissions and some are just things that I want to knit out of curiosity, just to see what they would be like. Swimwear and underwear are the two main types of pattern that fit this category and I keep earmarking patterns that I will get around to trying one day.

So, luckily for me, Helen from Pretty Old Patterns has decided to run a vintage swimwear knit along. Hooray! This gives me a push to try out one of my patterns! Helen has made three patterns available if you want to try one or it is fine to use one of your own. You can read more about the knit along to help you decide if you wish to join in here.

12 comments:

  1. These are so fabulous! I really wish more repro swimwear brands would delve into classic 30s styles like these suits. I suspect they'd go over marvelously in our vintage wearing community.

    Hard to pick just one favourite, but if I had to, I'd lean towards the one with the matching cape. What a great way to help stave off sunburned shoulders.

    Thanks for sharing these marvelous beachwear images with us, sweet Kate.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. You have chosen one of my favourites there Jessica! Being so pale that cape would be marvellous for me. I really do think report brands would do well with designs like these.

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  2. Wow, wow!! I love them all, but my favourite has to be the one with the cape, it's so gorgeous and I might actually be brave and get my legs out to wear that one!

    Have you seen Sarina Poppy Vintage's modern versions of 1930s swimsuits? I absolutely adore them and if I was to go somewhere hot I'd definitely buy one. xx

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    1. The cape one is getting lots of love and I agree with you Cate! I haven't seen Sarina Poppy's designs, I will be taking a look though.

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  3. How very cool! I think my favorite is probably the first one you posted, or the one with the sun cape - they're both really cool, definitely 30s designs, are I would give my eyeteeth for either of them. Although probably not in wool...

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    1. I just can't imagine a wool swimming costume either Jessica! Apparently they were very baggy when they got wet and easily filled with sand!

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  4. Very pretty! I especially love the harlequin one, but they are all really cute.

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    1. They are all cute aren't they Kate!

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  5. these are all fabulous! I really love 30s beach wear in general its so flattering. The striped number is particularly great and I love the sun cape. I have a 1930s terry swim cape that is of my most prized possessions

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    1. I think I may have seen your cape on your blog and it is a stunner! What a great find! I do like all these swimming costumes!

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  6. Talk about stripe obsession! I like the little details like the diamond and the little cape and the extra straps. But really I'm just giggling at imagining my husband in a men's costume with side cutouts.

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    1. I know! The men's ones really look quite comical to us now don't they!? I wonder if men at the time thought they looked smart or had a suspicion that they weren't quite carrying it off as well as the women!

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