Around 1845, the two-piece bathing suit for American and English ladies came into existence – before that time most women wore a long shirt-like garment.  The earliest reference to a suit with drawers I've found was in 1838 in France, and in America in 1848.

This type of bathing dress, with the skirt and blouse made together and with separate trousers, was alarmingly avant-garde in 1838, and acceptable but old-fashioned by 1865.  It was popular during the Civil War, and still worn as late as 1875.

The pattern has several variations. It may be made with a high neckline with or without a collar, or with a lower neckline.  The long or short sleeves can be enclosed in a cuff, confined with elastic, or left open in a bell shape. The blouse skirt may be made from mid-thigh to below the knee in length. A separate belt confines the waist. The trousers may be made in the wide Turkish style or normal width, from below-knee to ankle length, and also may be enclosed in a cuff, confined with elastic, or left open at the bottom.

Historical Sewing Patterns

1838-1875 Bathing Suit Pattern

The Mantua-Maker

This pattern includes 18 pages of instructions with historical tips, and 5 pattern sheets. It is printed on bond paper, and enclosed in a reclosable plastic bag.

All sizes Petite – Full (bust: 26" – 61") are included.

No. 1800-4
Early Victorian Two-Piece Bathing Suit.

Attached skirt with separate trousers.

$23.00