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How to make vintage 60s style bathing suit

Updated: Apr 13, 2019

Inspiration: Ann-Margret

I decided to make this swimsuit because I love its minimalistic design. I love the accentuated waist. The waist details cut of this swimwear is really slimming.

I didn't use separate bra cups, so it make the sewing process a bit quicker. I think it is one of the simplest designs which I choose to sew for this blog.

I am really happy with the finished result! This one piece swimsuit came out really comfortable and I will definitely add it to my wardrobe.


The original decor looks like two snowflakes. I think it's not suitable to decorate swimwear with snowflakes so I change it in the similar design daisies. I think it was not worn originally as a swimsuit. I think is more like a leotard or show costume.

I made this decor from the mold which I bought online. I make the decor from epoxy resign. It is necessary to wait for details to dry out for about one day. After it's completely dried, I correct the form and smoothened the petals with graver machine. It is necessary to make sure that the petals won't be sharp.

I dyed my white daisies with the dust of golden glitter. I fixed the glitter with transparent lacquer. It also gives the glow and smoothness. I applied a few separate layers of lacquer. It's important to let lacquer to dry out properly between the layers. I give about one day for one layer to dry out.

You can see in the picture, I tried another option with the silver glitter, but I think the gold one looks better. I glue on this daisies with rhinestones glue. When it dried out, I also sew it on, with for strings which are infused in each detail. It's just to be safe that it won't come out. I sewed these details on the fabric, before the finishing bottom. I wanted that the linen would cower up these stitches.


There are all cut front and back details.

And here's the same size linen details

First of all, I sewed together the top part. I sewed the chest part and inserted thin porolon for more coverage. I was worried that it makes this part not fitted to the body, but it came out great. At this time, the seam under the armpit is not sewed.

I joined front the waist and panties parts together. same process with the back details and linen.

Now, I joined the front and back details on the seam under the armpit. They still aren't connected in the middle.

I joined chest and back on the shoulders line. I stitch it with the regular machine because overlock seam would be too big and difficult to turn it inside out later.

I pin the top part with the bottom. I aligned the top by the side seams. In this way, I didn't have to measure the front and back centers, and still, everything went to the right places. Then I pinned the bottom linen part and stitch everything by one seam below the chest. I sewed on the daisies decor. I joined the crotch parts.

I sew leg parts - black fabric and linen together with overlock. I folded the seam then ironed it and end it by hand with an invisible stitch. It's not the only way to finish these parts, but with that much of the boning, it was just more comfortable then to sew these stitches from inside. It looks seamless.

In conclusion

I love that this swimsuit was easy to make. It didn't need to look for some special fabric, So it was easy to recreate. Now, when I look at the photos of my finished product, It looks like I could put just a bit bigger daisies for the decor. When I wear it, I like that it was smaller and a bit more subtle. I think this also would look nice without the daisies. I love the cut of the waist and wide straps. This one is definitely will be worn in summer!

About Ann-Margret

Her red hair has been teased to perfection. "I mostly wear hats or put scarfs over my head because I like to have a low profile when I go out," she says, petting her cat, Birdie. It would be indelicate to point out that anyone wearing a scarf in Beverly Hills is undoubtedly a starlet in disguise.

Actress and singer Ann-Margret is one of the most famous sex symbols and actresses of the 1960s and beyond. She continued her career through the following decades and into the 21st century. In the early 1960s, Ann-Margret's burgeoning career was chronicled in Life magazine, who classified her as Hollywood's next young starlet. She made her film debut as Bette Davis' daughter in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles (1961), and released her first album And Here She Is , Ann-Margret. In 1963, she co-starred in the film adaptation of the Broadway play Bye Bye Birdie, alongside Dick Van Dyke. By the end of year, she had also established herself as a recording star with two albums, and five additional hit singles that appeared on the Bye Bye Birdie soundtrack. In addition, she was invited to serenade President John F. Kennedy at his 46th birthday party.

When the questions turn to Elvis, he drifts back into the room, standing off by the patio door with his back to her. It is just like her description of him in her book, where she says he tinkered with a thermostat as she and Elvis made eyes at each other at a party -- even though she was married to Roger by then.

Asked why she decided to tell her story about Elvis now, she says, "There's been so much, for some reason, negative situations surrounding his name that I wanted to show the man that I knew -- generous, loving, funny, talented, gifted -- and only show complete respect."

Ann-Margret writes that her love affair with Elvis was doomed from the start because of his "commitments," presumably meaning his engagement to Priscilla. Still, she writes that they discussed marriage, that "his wish was that we could stay together." She describes how they talked all night, zoomed around town on a motorcycle that ran out of gas, mourned President John F. Kennedy's death together. But there is no mention of whether or when their relationship was consummated. She never even mentions a kiss.

It all came crashing to a halt in 1964. She denies ever saying anything to the press other than that she and Elvis were "seeing each other." But Elvis apparently thought she had talked when the British tabloids reported that they planned to marry, and he called it quits.

Even now, she refuses to talk about the end of their affair. "It was extremely difficult for me to write," she says, "and it's even harder for me to talk about. I just wanted to do this out of respect for his life."

The gossips is that this well known song Jolene is about her.

There some nice lines about femininity from an interview with Ann-Margaret.

Ann-Margret words about femininity:

How lovely to be a woman

The wait was well worthwhile

How lovely to wear mascara and smile a woman's smile

How lovely to have a figure that's round instead of flat

Whenever you hear boys whistling, you're what they're whistling at

How wonderful to feel

The way a woman feels

It gives you such a glow

Just to know

You're wearing lipstick and heels.

It's rare that I wear mascara or high heels. I also love to make these feminine clothes, but it's just simply always too cold for me to wear it :)

maybe that's why I can't relate and it sounds for me more like a beautiful vision than a reality. But I think these thoughts reflect 1950's fashion feel quite accurate.

Getty Images - Ann Margaret

More about Ann-Margaret:

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