Surf’s up

Back in the ’60s I was a surfer girl (also known as a gidget) and remember when board shorts first appeared – they were really expensive and so I set about making them both for me and for my boyfriend of the day (matching ones!) from a pattern which I fashioned together from some Burda magazine patterns. They used the newly released hook and loop fasteners now universally known by the brand name “velcro” (also really, really expensive in the ’60s) which I bought and used sparingly. The waistband was held together with criss-crossed ties. There was no such thing as quick dry fabric, so I just used the most colourfully patterned cotton I could find which clung wetly to our legs.

On a side note: girls were not allowed in the surf club and whereas the boys won enormous gold coloured trophies in the competitions, the girls won…beach towels! I still have a couple of these – not that I was terribly good, but there were so few of us competing that I only needed a couple of the girls to wipe out and I was the winner! Good times! I should also mention that there were beach inspectors whose job it was to measure the sides of our bikini bottoms – if they were less than 2 inches we got thrown off the beach. Needless to say I was frequently evicted from the beach, even though the strings holding my bikini together were 2 inches apart. Board shorts frequently saved me from this indignity.

So when Archie asked me to make him some boardies I was transported back a very long way. I managed to find some quick dry fabric in Tessuti, Melbourne and a 1980s pattern: Butterick 4664 on eBay.

Although boardies don’t generally have an elastic waist, I worked out that if I did the version on the left hand side I could get two pairs out of my small piece of fabric. I managed to find corded elastic in Spotlight, and I thought this would make life much easier.


These were very quick to whip up. He didn’t want side pockets, so I put one on the back, held down with velcro. This velcro didn’t cost me a thing – I found it in my mother’s stash. She has a drawer full of velcro, most of which has been carefully harvested from discarded garments – she obviously remembered how expensive it was back then! Here is a photo of said pocket but it’s not very clear…


I should mention at this point that Archie is not really a surfer (although he does occasionally), but he and a few of his friends have an early morning swim at the beach every day and then they have a coffee somewhere trendy. To be frank, I suspect that this daily activity is more about the coffee than the swim!


He was a most reluctant model, so please excuse the lack of posing. I also machine knitted his jumper (it is chilly here in the mornings at this time of the year).

The fabric is Italian and quite cute, with American style cars all over it:


The corded elastic is brilliant and quite interesting to use – the cord seemingly appears from nowhere.

How is this for a disgusted look? hehe!



Average is still in the 23,000s.


Leave a Reply