Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Vintage Sutro Baths Swimsuit recreation

As a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up with stories of the long-gone Sutro Baths.  The Sutro Baths were a huge swimming complex located along the ocean near to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Pictures from that time make it look like a truly amazing and fun place to visit.

Some Sutro Baths swimsuits have survived and are in private collections.  Once I saw a suit go up for auction on eBay and it sold for an impressive sum.  Eitherway, it was unlikely I would ever come into ownership of a real Sutro Baths swimsuit.

I decided to recreate the Sutro Baths swimsuit using a vintage swimsuit and recreating the Sutro Baths logo from historical photos.

Here’s the process I went through:

Researching old Sutro Baths imagery to find a clear examples of the logo and placement.

Finding imagery of of the logo that was as straight-on as possible (This was the one that sold on eBay).

Rejigger the logo using Photoshop

Printing out the logo and hand tracing it to make a cleaner version.

Printing out the correctly scaled logo and spray-glueing it to some card stock to make the stencil.  Cut out with an Xacto knife.

Darning holes in the swimsuit.  There were quite a bit of these to take care of before applying the logo.

Pinning the stencil to the swimsuit and the cardboard frame I put inside the suit to keep everything stretched flat.

I applied basic acrylic paint with a brush and make-up sponge .  Focus on multiple coats instead of just one thick one.

Let the suit fully dry and cut off any whiskers around the logo.  I had a few that made the logo look a bit fuzzy and needed to be trimmed off.

Note the pins holding the suit to the cardboard while it dries.

Wear it and have fun with your friends!