Monday, November 3, 2014

Civil War Bathing Suit Sewing Pattern

I'm pleased to announce the release of my newest pattern:

Early Victorian Two-Piece
Bathing Suit

Victorian Bathing Suit Pattern by The Mantua-Maker
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. 

Victorian Bathing Suit Pattern by The Mantua-Maker
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.

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.
#1800-4 --- $23
See it on Etsy:
or at my website:


  1. Cool. I can't imagine trying to swim in one of those things, but then again, they're probably amazing at hiding all the things most women don't want paraded around at the beach. ;o)

    1. LOL, B.E.! You didn't *swim* in them, you dipped in the water and prayed you didn't wander too far out into the ocean. Then you scampered back to shore, preferably before anyone saw your bedraggled state. :-D

  2. Aside from bathing, this looks like a great tunic and pants pattern. Hurray on the launch of your new pattern!!

  3. Congratulations on your latest venture! Love that you researched it so well - I hadn't realized a bathing suit suit was around as early as 1838.

    1. Thanks, KinseySue. I was shocked, too. People said all sorts of rude things about it in the early days, but I think it was much better than wearing a wet nightgown-looking thing. 8-o


Share your thoughts with me! :-)