1940s Swimsuit Cover-up

I bought this cover-up from the late 1940s while in Georgia several weeks ago, planning to pair it with a Tina Leser swimsuit of the same time frame.  My sorry photo doesn’t quite capture the cuteness of it  Both the colors and the shape are better than what I’m showing here.

There are no labels, as this was made by a home sewer.  And even though it is not a professional job, this was a sewer who knew what she was doing.  Look at the center front closure, where one side laps over the other, and note that the two sides are perfectly matched.  Then look closely, and you will see that there are two pockets.  Again, the print is matched perfectly.

The interior of the cover-up is fully lined in cotton percale, with the lining lying flat and neat against the exterior fabric.  The garment has all the traits of having been made by an expert.  Except one:

For a garment that is beautifully sewn in every other way, I find it a bit odd that the top-stitching is just sloppy.  Maybe the sewer was in a big hurry to finish (beach date, perhaps?) but it is puzzling that a person who took the time and had the expertise to ensure that all the seams matched didn’t bother to sew straight seams that would be showing.

Any thoughts?


Filed under Curiosities, Vintage Clothing

9 responses to “1940s Swimsuit Cover-up

  1. Terri

    Love the pineapple motif and the workmanship of matching pattern is great


  2. Maria

    Maybe it was sewn by two people. I can remember starting on a dress and my Mother finishing it.


  3. Hmmm. That is interesting…although I did notice the perfectly matched prints and did not notice the topstitching until you mentioned it. I’m with you…got in a hurry at the last. Would have been better to omit the topstitching. Lovely garment though.


  4. Admirable pattern-matching indeed.

    I’m with Maria. I think two different hands may have been at work on the same garment, for whatever reason. You really need Erin McKean (she of the Secret Lives of Dresses/A Dress A Day blog) to give you a creative take on how that might have happened.


  5. I think a young sewer had her mom help her with the pattern layout–it was summer and this was her first sewing project of the vacation, and her first tutorial: How to Match and Cut fabric prints.


  6. The sewing machine was giving her fits… first a bent needle and then running out of thread. Oops.. didn’t get that to straight but what the heck.. no one will notice at the beach 😀

    Love Tina Leser and the color combo on this cover-up. Hope to see them in a pic together!


  7. I agree with many of the commenters before me – probably a teaching situation. I know when I’ve helped friends and family with sewing projects, I do most of the pattern layout and then I might pin and hand it off to the person at the machine. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to watch the imperfect stitching happening, but everyone has to learn to control the machine on their own at some point! =)

    Great vintage find! I really love the colors and the print!


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