Hot! My “Ode to the Walnut Creek Aquanuts” swimsuit


The Facts

Fabric: Red with white polka dot spandex
Pattern: Mrs Depew Vintage 1001
Year: 1950′s inspired
Notions: None
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: July 2012
Wear again? Yes
Total Cost:
Fabric $32 and pattern $9 for a total of $41

Holy Moley! This challenge was FRAUGHT with little land mines: )

First – when the list of challenges first came out this one stumped me. It was finally decided, in a very round-about way with much discussion, that I needed a swimsuit so I can get myself into a pool and get in shape. When Meg posted her vacation suit I knew that was what I wanted! Cute, vintage inspired, I wouldn’t look like an “old lady” or trying to cover up so I bought the pattern from a seller in France and then went online to Spandex World for the polka dot fabric and that was nearly my downfall. Ordered it almost 2 weeks ahead of time, it arrived Friday of challenge week. I made it Friday night, took pictures Saturday. Phew….

I must say, everything Meg said about this pattern is accurate. Not for the very beginner seamstress, and there are only written instructions, but it went together fairly well. The pattern is designed to be used with non-stretchy fabrics as well as knits so let me just say this – I cut “my” size out of the spandex and then cut at least an inch out of each side seam as well as the center back after fittings! The bra sizing is good (for me) and just like Meg said, the crotch gusset is HUGE. I always make the pattern as is the first time and I kept in mind that if I do this out of some very cha-cha woven fabric like Kazz did last week then all that extra may be needed. In the spandex I cut out 1″ on EACH side and at least 2″ out of the length and I’m still not sure it’s the way I like!

First landmine skirted (not having to go into a store to try on swimsuits) I knew the next hardest thing would be getting into a pool. I have issues with pools that I will not go into here, but let’s just say you can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of times I’ve gone into a pool in the last three decades. I figured I’ve conquered my fears of being photographed, of being photographed in public wearing an outfit that might draw some attention : ) and that peculiar fear of just being honest and putting myself out there in a forum where others MAKE COMMENTS!

So ladies, in honor of my birthday this Thursday (the 2nd) I have put on a bathing suit, NOT worn any foundation undergarments and, honoring the 14 year old girl that started a national campaign asking magazines to stop photoshopping their models, I did NOT photoshop out any blips, blops or the owie from my kitty : ) This is it, about as “me” as you’ll ever get. Thank goodness my daughter was available for pics!!


I’m going to make 2 straps and X them across my back instead of the around-the-neck thing. I wanted to channel more of a Betty Grable pose but the back kept slipping and we kept adjusting and futsing and once I got in the water that extra support will be most appreciated.

In this week of Olympic spirit I am inspired by the Walnut Creek Aquanuts, award winning synchronized swimmers. A team of local girls, they are “12-time National Champions and winners of over 200 national and world titles. Home to 17 Olympians (8 of them gold medalists), we have come a long way since 1968 when we began with just two swimmers. Four of our 60 athletes were chosen for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swimming Team (two other Aquanuts also competed at the 2008 Olympics, representing Japan & the Czech Republic.)”

The real Aquanuts!

Right in my own back yard, Olympic athletes : )

I was not a swimmer when I was younger but I did swim. Just for giggles I tried doing a couple of their “moves”…

HAH! Those girls are young, in shape and practice. I am *not* but I’m working on it : ) Now I’ve got a pretty cute suit that I can wear proudly at any pool.

To get through this challenge I have to thank first my daughter, who made the very wise comment that “It’s time to evolve”. She’s right. I’d probably say “Just do it” but that’s a certain sportswear manufacturer’s tag line and I don’t like them (again, for reasons I won’t go into here) but that’s about it. It’s time to get on with it. If not for my friend Heidi and her gorgeous backyard and salt water pool I wouldn’t be in water : ) We did manage a “Palm Springs Glamour” shot –

So there we are. After this challenge I can do ANYTHING : )

In case you haven’t noticed, if you read the bio bit at the bottom of the post, I’ve now got my own blog up and running. It’s still very basic, but it’s there : ) I’ll be posting more details of the challenges, a few little how-to’s like the silk painting and some hat making tips and more stories of my adventures. Thank you for all your kind comments and brave postings. You all inspire me more than you might know.



Loran is a Bay Area designer, stitcher and suburban farm girl. Having done theater for years she's finally taking on her most demanding client (herself!) and fashioning a wardrobe from her huge stock of vintage patterns and fabrics, all while writing her daily tablesetting blog. Let's see if she can keep up with both : )


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  1. You Look fabulous in whatEVER you wear. You always have!

  2. You look great! Love that red/white polka dot fabric — I may have to check out that pattern myself. I hate hate hate going swimsuit shopping and you inspire me to be brave and try to make one!

  3. You are my hero today! You look amazing.

  4. Dahling, you look mah-velous! As a 47-year-old denial expert, my idea of hell is putting on a bathing suit. I’m not into pain, so I have successfully avoided them for 8-10 years. Your bravery in rocking a real woman’s body and non-bronzed skin is to be awesome! And you know what? You look great!

    • I’m pretty good in the denial department as well although my sister is the “Queen of DaNile”. Once I decided I would survive the weekly photoshoots I figured “in for a penny, in for a pound” and others here have rocked the suit. It just goes to show that we don’t have to look like some photoshopped mannuequin in a magazine. The world didn’t change its course this week, no one stopped speaking to me, life is good. Thank you for the lovely compliment : )

  5. Amazing bathing suit!!!! Gorgeous fabric! oh my!! I can see a brave new you all over! Congratulations for a “GOLD medal” challenge!!

  6. It’s Time To Evolve. That kicks “Just do it”‘s ass to the curb. Brittany is brilliant! You’re really channeling Esther Williams in your poses, you look glam and also like you won’t lose your suit when you go swimming. It’s perfect, and you’re gorgeous.

    I love this in about 5 different ways.

  7. Loran-you look beautiful! Thank you for sharing your sexy bod with us. You and some the gals are helping me to be braver too. I don’t think I could have come this far without you all and it’s so much fun doing it with you. You truly inspire me.

  8. Oh Yeah! Love it and the picture poses are great. I’ll be sure to check out your blog.

  9. Good for you being real! And I love the polka dots. I did synchronized swimming for years as a child. I loved every minute of it.

    • Thank you Erin : ) I wish I had know about synchronized swimming when I was younger, although it was just starting up when I was young. I “might” have liked the whole pool thing more had there been anythinng more than swimming laps. Ah well, something new to try now!

  10. Cute swimsuit is hot on my wish-to-do list. Thanks for posting your sweet polka dots and this pattern!

  11. We would all agree that there is something totally flattering about the vintage one piece swimsuit. Thanks for the tips on this pattern regarding the wovens and spandex. I think I’ll give it a whirl myself. You look amazeballs Loran, kicking butt poolside. LOVE IT! Keep up your awesomeness. You can do anything? you can do everything :)

    • Thank you Kazz : ) YOUR suit has now given me the inspiration to try a woven, I’m shopping fabrics for it as we speak. This pattern is great, I highly recommend it if you need one!

  12. This is absolutely the perfect bathing suit. You look gorgeous! And happy birthday to you :)

  13. I love it, great job Loran. It fits you very well and of course red, your favorite color.

  14. That suit seriously kicks ASS!! You look amazing in it! And you’ve styled the hell out of it, as usual. It’s swimsuit fever season in the online sewing world and this one fits right in with all the beauties I’ve seen recently.

  15. Yep, you’ve won the gold medal this week for bravery….fabulous. Love this pattern since Meg showed us it, love that you’re getting more confident in front of the camera and love that you, Gina, Meg, Najah, Kazz (hope I haven’t missed anyone) have braved showing the world that women of all different shapes and sizes can wear their bathing suits and the world doesn’t implode because they don’t meet the unrealistic, unachievable airbrushed-till-they-look-like-Barbie-dolls standard. I love the synchronised swimming and diving in the Olympics and you’d do Esther Williams proud too.

    • It was easier than I thought to do this. I had more trouble with the thoughts inside my little head than actually putting it on and getting into the water. Of course, with my daughter standing there saying “time to evolve” what else was I to do? Of COURSE she was right! Neither one of us are that Barbie-doll standard and I don’t want to be and yes, people like Gina, Meg, Kazz and Najah inspired me! If THEY could do it I could do it so I did : ) And the world didn’t implode.

  16. Goooorgeous!! I love your fabric choice. So sweet! I’m going to have to get a hold of this pattern. It just looks amazing on everyone who has made it up! Fantastic job!!

    • Yes, GET this pattern! It’s a good one. I’m going to try the woven version as well. Thanks for the lovely compliment : )

  17. Loran, you look fantastic! This swim suit is gorgeous, you are gorgeous! Amazing job. Wear this all the time, it looks great on you.

  18. I loved reading this post! I’ve been getting over my own bathing suit fears this summer and finally deciding it was silly to not enjoy the beach just because other poeple would be there – I love the beach! Your swimsuit looks amazing and you look proud to be wearing it.

    • I feel you, Lisette. I had a hard time deciding on this one but a friend told me to “get over myself, I wan’t obese and I wasn’t diabetic so I was ahead of the gmae.” These being ussues she’s dealing with I realized she was right, that I might not look like a ridiculous model but I was me and happy so I went for it. Enjoy the beach, don’t worry about what others will think or say : )

  19. I love your swimsuit!! You look fantastic! I just bought this pattern yesterday, so I was doubly excited when I saw your post here. Way to go!

    • You will LOVE this pattern, Jacqui! Don’t let the lack of drawings get in your way of making it. She’s very clear about what goes where and how, and of course I changed things up a bit but that’s just me. It’s a great pattern, I hope you have fun with and in it : )

  20. Loran, you are my hero. You look fantastic, and your pics are terrific!

  21. You’re one of my favorites on the sew weekly. Love your sewing and your posts so much! You look absolutely gorgeous in that red polka dot swimsuit. It looks extremely well made and fits you so perfectly! It’s very flattering. I love the palm springs glam shot. You’re a natural beauty.

    • Thank you very, very much Barbara! Coming from you that’s quite a compliment. I love the things you do as well, and am glad we’ve benn able to do this little journey together, us two older ladies that is : ) You inspire me too, keep it up!

  22. love the suit and the red really puts it out there. good for you. you have really good legs, so work it, baby!

  23. I remember years ago when we talked about swimming to get in shape you wanted to get in shape 1st before you got into a suit. I’m so glad to see you are living for today. Suits can be then enemy for sure but as we have learned with age we can never let our bodies stop us from living our lives. This is a GREAT piece, we could have gone with tennise or horse riding but like them you went for the gold. So proud to know you.

  24. What a cute bathing suit! I love the red and the polka dots and you look wonderful in it. I really want to buy this pattern, too.

  25. I read your pool story on your blog last night and was totally shocked. What a horrible experience! I don’t blame you for being scared of pools for so long. Before I read this story I didn’t appreciate enough what a big step it was for you to get into a pool again. Bravo.