Hot! What’s A Girl To Do? | Handmade 50's Batik print Swimsuit

What’s missing from my wardrobe? My hubby would scream SPACE! Whoops. What’s really missing is a new swimming costume. I have lived in my vintage 50’s swimmers so much that the last few times I’ve entered the ocean in the classy one piece I said to myself this could well be the last dance my dear. I could either emerge stark naked or with a baggy sand filled crotch. It’s time to say goodbye but not without taking a copy, why part with a silhouette that works? | Handmade 50's Batik print Swimsuit

I kinda freaked a bit thinking about the construction of this challenge. Can I do it? you see, the entire back piece of the original swimsuit is shirred with elastic which I have happily done before on a dress but for some reason— possibly me pulling too hard on the elastic sent me off on a whirl of confusion, cussing and frustration it just wasn’t working out, I almost threw in the towel I had already built the front— lining and all and felt I had come this far just work out another way to make the back work. | Handmade  50's Batik print Swimsuit

I cut the centre back panels inserted darts and a zip, I then cut side back panels which of course joins to the front panel. I dug through my sewing bin and save the shirred panel I so tirelessly worked on and cut it to fit into the bottom of the back side panels which worked out to be a blessing in disguise, this allows flexibility to the swimsuit, I can sit comfortably because of the ease these shirred panels give. Phew! The fit of this suit is perfect for me, there is no elastic needed around the crotch and rear she just sits excellently this could be due to the low cut. The bra section consists of a centre bottom panel, side panels to the centre bottom and a top panel that I have inserted thrifted mustard coloured piping along. I then placed 1inch wide elastic down the centre to create the gathering mirroring this process for the lining and then took to inserting boning that sits at the either sides of the bra cups so she sits pretty. The back straps cross over and button up at the front. I’m really chuffed with how this turned out. It was a long process but got there in the end with a smile on my face. | Some light reading

I enjoyed the moment of sunshine Melbourne had on offer soaking up some inspiration but before I knew it the sun was lost behind a cloud and it became slightly chilly quickly, it is Winter after all. Melbourne and her four seasons in one day! | Handmade 50's Batik print Swimsuit

I knew I wanted to make a sun top to shield my lilly white skin from the sun and found this reverse printed [silly] chiffon at a half price fabric sale. I self drafted this kimono type top which was a right royal pain in the arse, nightmarish, I cut the front panels on a curve and placed the reverse side of the fabric to it turning it under as I sewed, it didn’t matter how many pins I poked her with or how many times I pressed it into place the chiffon had a mind of it’s own. I know there have been numerous blog posts and tutorials on handling this stuff so please excuse my ignorance I just thought I could handle her. The top has imperfections that only you and I would notice, I will wear it because I adore the drape, cut and reverse print and it strangely complements the swimsuit. Lets just say, lesson learned. | Handmade 50's Batik print Swimsuit

Above is a shot of the back, I’m just not up to showing you and the internets my derrière not because I have body issues, not at all I mean, we all have parts of our bodies that we’re not too fond of that’s just the way it is the photo’s just looked awkward besides it’s not really about my body it’s about my sewing skills and showing how these skills can most certainly flatter the body. Being blessed with these handy skills can make us look classy and well dressed don’t you agree? because it fits. Huzzah to that I say. | Handmade Kimono Reverse print

I’ve named this one after one of my favourite Bat for Lashes songs- What’s a Girl To Do (appropriately titled I think) and can’t wait for her new album to come out , she’s such an amazing storyteller and singer.

Also if you like to show off what you’re working on over Instagram I’d love to join in on the fun My UN is Kazzthespazz I look forward to seeing your posts.

The Facts
 Fabric | Batik printed cotton for the swimsuit lined in white broadcloth for the front and the batik for the back. Reverse printed chiffon.
Pattern | Copied  vintage swimsuit, self drafted kimono
 Year | Vintage remake and contemporary
 Notions | boning & buttons
 Time to complete | Approx 10hrs maybe more
First worn | For the photos
Wear again? Yes with confidence but will test it wet before I enter the ocean.
Total price | $7 Batik $7 for the Chiffon a metre.



Eclectic, fun loving seamstress sewing to the beat of her own drum.


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  1. Swimwear and unmentionables (another post this week) are both on my list for 2013 sewing when I can buy fabric again. :) This looks fantastic. I love 1950s suits. So flattering to the curvy figure!

    • Thanks Erin, I agree it’s the only cut I will wear in a swimsuit. I have just found some great knicker patterns on Etsy that I’m going to have a go at. I really like the idea of making my own unmentionables :)

  2. Hot Damn! You look fantastic! You have one lucky hubby my friend. Your bathing wear look so good. You did a fantastic job on this. It is so beautiful. And so are you!

  3. This is just fantastic! I love the prints against each other!

  4. Love it! What a great way to blend a classic cut and your own personal style. I also love your Pile ‘o Textiles. I was sure your house must be full of that sort of textile!

    • Thanks Leimomi, I’m glad you like this, a vintage cut with Batick fabric! Why Not :) These textiles are from my bedroom. I like to surround myself with things I love for inspiration.

  5. The swimsuit is SO cute! I remember wearing those shirred suits when I was a wee little girl. I wish I had the guts to make one and wear it myself. I do want to say that the fabric and cut suits you perfectly. Really cute.

  6. I would LUUUUV to have a cotton batik swimsuit like this! I wish I could see the details more closely….but my old eyes can’t figure it out. Gorgeous.

  7. Great minds think alike, just not at the same time : ) I LOVE your suit, Kazzalicious as usual!

  8. Thanks Vicki, I was afraid of this so I thought writing about the panels and pieces was my best option, I guess because the fabric is so busy it’s hard to see the lines. Glad you like it.

  9. Hi Kazz, I’m diggin the whole outfit. I can see that coming down the runway. Beautiful job.

  10. I love the combination of fabric in the cover-up with the beautiful batik of the bathing suit! Both are so pretty! Great job making the suit work for you.

  11. Cute!! This is both sexy and classic. Classicly sexy! I really like the way the kimono came out too. The prints go really well together-

  12. Wait– you made a swimsuit out of regular old cotton without any stretch? I am amazed (as per usual with your stuff every week!). The suit and the wrap look fantastic, well worth the tricky bits along the way.

  13. Ooh la la! I’m finding myself looking at patterns and prints and thinking what would Kazz do with this? I like your style and imagination. I can’t imagine tackling some of the projects that you seem to work through so easily. This bathing suit is unbelievable!

  14. That fabric is beyond pretty, I love it so much….the colours just make me happy. That cossie is such a gorgeous shape and I love the well-worth-the-effort kimono cover-up too. Fab mixing prints as per usual!