Vintage swimsuit


This is Simplicity 7498 and if you think you’ve seen the fabric before, you would be right – this is what I used for my Bombshell, my Bombshell coverup, and for some Speedos, and yes, I still have more, even after this make!


One of my personal aims this year is to challenge myself, and although this looks like an easy make, I had to grade the pattern down several sizes, which I am really hopeless at. I almost had no idea where to start with this pattern, so I took about an inch off either side of the back seam and a bit off the front side seams. Then I cut out the pattern and basically made it up to see what needed to be done.

The first issue was the “bra” part. I could have put a few pairs of socks in either side and still have room over! I unpicked it and took about 2cm off the bottom of the cups and the top of the bodice. I also took about 3cm off the length of the straps. It was starting to look better. I tried to adjust the pattern as I adjusted the fabric.

I then needed to take another 3cm off either side of the centre back seam, which required more work than you would think as the top part is totally faced.

The bodice has a lapped zip, which I handpicked as my machine was jumping around on the lycra. Of course once it was in, I realised that I could get the darned top on and off without using it!

You can see in this photo that all my adjustments threw my pattern matching off. Decided I don’t care at this point!


Once the bodice was done I had to make the “shorts”. These really looked like large bloomers rather than shorts. Here is a photo of the back shorts pattern with my Watson bikini pattern laid on the top. The big difference is that the shorts are cut on the bias, which would be interesting, but the thought of gathering those leg openings to fit me made me quail.


To be honest, I had no idea how to start grading this part of the pattern, so I made the Watson bikini instead. Next time I might make an actual bikini from one of the many patterns in my stash.

Here is a rather immodest photo of the bikini – this is the least offensive one I could find!


All that was required then was to test them in actual water. I wondered if the bodice would float up around my head – it did float up a little bit, but only to my hips, which I can put up with.


Yes, I swam without getting my hair wet as I had to go out after this photo was taken and I didn’t want to wash my hair again.

I love this swimsuit. I can drift around the house in it and not feel too embarrassed if we get visitors. It is comfortable for lounging around in, and I can swim in it. A total success, I would say!


The details: Pattern is Simplicity 7498 from 1976. This is one of the patterns I chose from the Selvedge Shop as my prize for the 2014 Vintage Pledge. The fabric is more of the red and white lycra I bought on super, super, special from Spotlight.


16 thoughts on “Vintage swimsuit

  1. Don’t tell me this is your private swimming pool! I’m green with envy, now. But frankly you deserved a nice swim after taking up this challenge so brilliantly. Your photos are not offensive at all. You’ve got the legs, madame!

  2. You look amazing! I so enjoy reading your blog and seeing your finished projects as well as your travel photos, so different from here in the eastern USA.

  3. Sounds like the perfect swimsuit after all your frustration in getting there and it looks great on you. Now where are they hiding those shirts on the pattern envelope?

  4. I’m so glad I found this blog post! I am in the middle of trying to sew this pattern myself and just realized that I made the cups wrong so I was trying to find some photos that could help me with the assembly. Thank you! My pattern is also too big so I’m trying to grade it down. I started laughing when I saw the pattern for the bottoms, so huge!

    1. Thank you for the comment. Let me know when you’ve finished yours as I’d like to see it. I need more of these, I think!

Leave a Reply