Happy Camper

Did she go into the water with this suit?  It looks to be wool and mighty stretchy. In fact, maybe she knit it herself.  Note that the straps on left and right appear to be two different widths. The texture is pilled, perhaps indicating that the wool was not the highest quality.

I’m dating this photo to the early 1930s, given the style of the swim suit. Of course if she made it herself, all bets are off. Other elements in the picture—the granny glasses, the sensible shoes, the wall tent–have a very long life span.

Since swim suits at the time were largely made of wool, many crafty women knit them up for themselves and their families.  Looking on line, I was amazed to discover the wide range of patterns for women, men, and children. I am not a skilled knitter and the thought of making such a skimpy garment, especially one designed to get wet, seems like a risky proposition.

Let’s take a minute to admire just comfortable this woman is in her own skin.  Truly a happy camper.

This entry was posted in 1930s and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Happy Camper

  1. Juliana @ Urban Simplicity says:

    Actually, I think the straps are the same width, but there is a glare on the photo over her shoulder that might make it appear narrower. Still, a really interesting photo! Would be curious to know the fiber content of that suit, since, as you say, it looks wooly and nubby (and possibly scratchy!) What a great find.

  2. Kai Jones says:

    There are a couple of photos I think you might be interested in, in this collection of photos of people knitting:


  3. ceci says:

    Maybe the straps are 2 different colors, one very light? Interesting picture indeed! I bet she did go in the water in her swim suit – she doesn’t look like a sunbather and the thing wouldn’t have been particularly comfortable with no breast support and itchy fibers.


  4. Lizzie says:

    My guess is that,yes, she did go into the water with that suit. She looks like having a great time is more important than how her bathing suit looks!

  5. Susan says:

    Her legs look very tan, except for a few inches near the legs of the bathing suit. I wonder if she was an out-door sports lover who often wore shorts or playsuits, too. My chief memory of wool knit bathing suits (my last was in the early 1970s) was how much water they absorbed, which would often pour out of them (especially out of the “butt” area) when I got out of the pool! The wetter, the heavier, and the more they stretched…. My store-bought 1960s & 70s wool swimsuits had high elastic content, so they fit quite well (when dry.) (Textile note: My last wool suit died when I tried to do a bit of last-minute grooming with a depilatory cream: I forgot that wool is hair. It dissolved!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.