No. 1880-30
Super easy, one-piece swim suit.

 (Well, it has a belt and a cap, so three pieces.)

This is the rare bathing suit I'd consider swimming in.


Historical Sewing Patterns

1880 - 1895 Simple Swimming Dress Pattern

The Mantua-Maker

This pattern includes 6 pages of instructions with historical tips, and 3 pattern sheets.  It is printed on bond paper, and enclosed in a reclosable plastic bag.

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

Based on an engraving in Harper's Bazar, July 9, 1887, the "Lady's Swimming Dress" consists of only the waist and drawers, without a skirt.  The blouse is gathered at the scoop neckline and by a belt at the waist.  The neck and armholes arm are bound.   The shoulder seams are not sewn, but are buttoned together, so the binding slides in a continuous curve all along the neck and armhole.

In this pattern, the bathing dress is unlined and bound at the edges.  It opens at the shoulders only, and you step in and out of it.  The trousers can be made in knee or mid-calf lengths – or in the very short French length, which English ladies complained looked like a circus-rider's outfit. I've also included a pattern for a simple bathing cap.