Just before the summer one of my friends (who runs a vintage clothes business, Frillseekers Vintage) asked me if I fancied crocheting some swimwear! It turned out that a fellow vintage clothes seller had been collecting vintage swimwear patterns and needed someone to make them up with a view to adding them to her collection. I was intrigued. Always up for something interesting in knitting/crochet I said “why not”.
I can crochet, I learned when I was at school, but I’m no expert. My grandmother was an amazing crocheter. She crocheted very intricate patterns in cotton, classic doilies, antimacassar (what a great word for a piece of cloth that protects the back/arm of a chair!) which were sold in craft shops in her native Wexford. I remember watching her crochet, she was fast and never needed to look at what she was doing or indeed at a pattern. One of the most amazing things she crocheted was my communion dress (along with gloves and a tam o’ shanter!). My mother still has it and she takes it out every so often to show it to my nieces etc and I marvel at the fact that I was very that small! It is beautiful and I loved wearing it on the day. I guess crocheting is in the blood.
A couple of weeks later Dani emailed me some of the patterns that she had been collecting and they were a treat! We decided on a fairly easy crocheted bikini from the 70s and then a one piece, also from the 70s. The bikini was fairly straightforward, the top was quick and easy to do, the bottoms were a bit more tricky but all-in-all I was happy.
I then moved on to the one piece, a very different kettle of fish! It is a black and white stripped one piece with some lace detail on the sides of the bottom. I managed to make up all the pieces and then it was time to join the front bottom to the back bottom (if you get me meaning!). It was here that the fact that these were 70s patterns as well as being American came to be a problem. I must have read the pattern a hundred times but couldn’t work it out. I would take it up determined to finish it only to put it away again in frustration. But I couldn’t let it defeat me. So I had the idea of looking at the picture of the finished article close up to see if that would help and it did! Turns out that the sides were joined together with a lace pattern. Have to say I felt a bit smug once I worked it out.
This is the finished article from the front, you can see that it wasn’t a straightforward pattern!
And finally, the side that gave me all the trouble!
I made one other bikini before I met Dani so she could see what I had managed to do. I was surprised to see how great they looked when they were on a real person! And so I am making some more bikinis and swimsuits and will keep you updated, abreast if you will, with the latest in crocheted swimwear,