Sewing,  Vintage

1940s Pyjama Playsuit

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When I started this blog I wanted to inspire and motivate myself to make my own clothes and it looks like it has worked! I have been sewing for 10 years and finally, I have made something exclusively for me to wear; a 1940s playsuit.

I can’t believe it!

For a really long time I have wanted a vintage style 2 piece 1940s playsuit. These were most popular in the 1930s and 40s as bathing suits and beach wear. They are incredibly rare to find, and even rarer in good condition. And so I decided I was going to make myself one. That way I would have the vintage look I have longed for but a garment I wouldn’t mind spilling ice cream down. Plus I can chuck it in the washing machine.

The Pattern

Now I thought about drafting myself a pattern, but as I was temporarily separated from all my pattern cutting supplies I treated myself to a vintage pattern off eBay instead.

The pattern I used to create my 1940s playsuit.

The pattern was a Simplicity Pattern from the 1950s, numbered 4312. The envelope was in quite a bad way but the pattern was complete and even had some uncut pieces. Of the 3 pyjama styles I went for look 3 for my 1940s playsuit, inspired by the lady 2nd from the left in this photograph here:

1940s playsuit inspiration

The Fabric

As to fabric, I really struggle to justify spending lots of money on fabric. I know, I know, fabric is an investment, good fabric makes a garment and all that but I am a naturally frugal person. My fabric stash is TINY, and almost all the fabric in it is second hand. In fact come to think of it I have only ever bought secondhand fabric for my own use. All the new stuff I have is left over from work commissions. Anyway, I am hoping to get better at buying fabric as I make more clothes for myself. But seeing as this was my first me made wardrobe item I started off with something completely unextravagant.

I had picked up these two rolls of fabric in my local charity shop. It was £10 for the pair of them and there is a good 5-10ms on the right hand roll. I have plans for this one just you wait. But the right hand roll, the printed check, had about 2ms of fabric left on it. Just enough to make my 1940s playsuit from.

Recycled fabric used for my 1940s playsuit

Now it is very stiff and synthetic and if I were to splurge I would have loved to make it from a beautiful cotton chambray. Perhaps next time. But anyway, the print was what had drawn me in. The colours and scale of the check really helped to created that vintage feel. I’m not a huge print lover and I tend to prefer small scale florals and stripes to anything too graphic or novelty. So this double check was well within my comfort zone.

The Method

It was a very easy, relatively quick make. So quick in fact that I didn’t stop to take any photos. But I was really surprised by the construction of the top. If I had been drafting this pattern for myself, I would have made the front and back pieces separately and had a shoulder seam. But the top was constructed with no shoulder seam, the fronts and back were one continuous piece. I really like the look this gives to the shoulders so I’ll be remembering this one for my when I make my own patterns.

The Finished 1940s Playsuit

All in all I’m really pleased with how it all turned out. I have a little bit of fabric left over, so I might make myself a different style top as well so that I can mix and match. Perhaps one like the lady on the far right in the photograph?

I can’t stop wearing it! Partly because it’s so comfortable but also because as you can see in these photos, my stomach is in desperate need of some sun rays!

What do you guys think? Shall I make myself another one in a better fabric? Leave me a comment with any suggestions.

Claude xx