Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Making Smart Clothes... 25 cents

Yes, it's true, in 1934 you could by a sewing book for 25cents.  This one is titled Making Smart Clothes by Butterick Pattern Company. 

A book of this vintage has an excellent section on hand stitching and back then many seamstresses made their buttonholes by hand.  According to this book the three most important lines are the neckline, the waistline and the hemline.  And I was intrigued by the ideas of zig zag shirring (diagram 195), something that I'd like to try on a garment this year, perhaps at the hem of a summer skirt or down the front of a shirt.

Refashioning was called remodeling back then.  "Every smartly dressed woman should take stock of her wardrobe as regularly s the new season rolls around with an eye to salvaging favorite frocks for further active duty"  Suggestions include "Lower your old skirt on a bodice top, and combine it with a new tunic blouse in lame' or satin.  Reverse the process and make a knee length tunic of a too short frock"   What I found interesting was this; "So, often sleeves wear out before their time. Butterick has prepared special patterns to replace them, each offering a variety of remodeling suggestions"  Can you imagine that, buying a pattern of only sleeves.  And what are the odds that it would actually fit one of your patterns or ready to wear garments...NOT.

I hope you enjoyed this look back in time as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.

Happy New Year


  1. I love vintage sewing books. They make for such bedtime reading. Enjoy!

  2. Very cool Christiana! Too funny on the sleeves. I would just use the old sleeve as a pattern. I actually have had to replace sleeves on my husband's jacket when he gets his arm too close to the catalytic heater in the boat. Luckily no skin was burned it that catastrophe and I had enough fabric left to replace!