It all started back in November of 2012, when my sweet friend Melodye Kamplain gave me a box while we were picking out costumes for the cast of "Our Town". I was giddy with delight as I delved into the carefully wrapped goodies in the box. I exclaimed over and over again as I pulled out gorgeous antique after gorgeous antique. A pair of groom's wedding braces, a bride's waxed orange blossom headpiece (I think I screamed aloud at that....), green wool spats, a pair of French drawers, a 1920s wool bathing suit, a hand painted peach silk negligee from the 1920s . I could not believe all the things that she had released to my care! One of the things that I could not believe Melodye had passed along to me was a pair of canvas swimming boots. I absolutely could not believe my eyes!! They are exactly like this pair from the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). I am still shocked and totally in awe that these boots live at my house!
I knew that one day I wanted to make a pair for my big feet, using the extant boots as a starting point. Sadly, I just didn't have any reason to. I have had a bathing suit on my "to do" list for quite some time, but other things keep pushing their way to the top and the bathing suit kindly takes its place a the back of the line. Well, my friend Josie was telling me that she had an event coming up and she was going to be making a vintage bathing suit. I volunteered myself to make a bathing boot pattern for her by saying, "I have a pair of antique bathing boots and I can totally make up a pattern for you when I get back from my trip to Utah and before Cody graduates!" Sometimes I think that the creative side of my brain tries to trump all other parts of my brain. Like the side that says, "No, we have people to feed and laundry to wash and a house to clean and all the other uber important things to do!!!!" Anyway....I did come home from Utah and just because I had that bee in my bonnet, I started and completed the boots in two days. There is something to be said about a sewing binge.
Thank you Josie for lighting that fire under my creative rear and helping me to get something accomplished that may have gone un-accomplished for a very looooong time!!!
Here they are!
The new bathing boots and the fabulous antique boots!!!
I decided to make mine red as I actually had a canvas material in my stash and I had this pair on Pinterest and fell in love with them!
The antique ones need to be cleaned, but I don't know how to do it and I don't want to ruin them!!!!
As you can see, mine are quite a bit larger than the original ones. The originals are so adorably sweet and petite!
The ridge on the sole at first looked like a corded piece, but it is just a bias strip over the cork sole.
I looked in vain for narrow lacing, but just couldn't find any. I decided to add a tongue to my boots. I just really liked the looks of it!
New and old, side by side!
Yes, these sweet things did see some action!
The bottoms of mine are so not even close to being nice and tidy, but I wanted to show the difference in the two.
The originals were one layer of canvas....
I decided to make mine two layers, canvas and a linen weave cotton. I really want them to stand up and not slouch.
It always makes me so happy to see that things made long ago were not all neat and tidy on the insides!
After seeing a tongue on another pair of bathing boots with an overlock stitch (these right here), I decided I would go ahead and do that to mine as well!
Well, there they are! Now I need to make a bathing suit for myself. It will be a while though before I can get to it. Sorry suit, you still have to hold a place at the end of the line.
I am thinking about perhaps doing this one...
I guess it will depend if I can find some stripe green fabric!
I did take lots of construction pictures so that I can write a tutorial on the boots for a future date. Probably after the graduation and things have calmed down. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful week!