1930s | 1940s | Vintage Sewing

1930s Vintage Costumes for Theatrical Play & the Dance Floor

August 20, 2014
pattern for Turn on the heat

~ 1930s Vintage Costumes for Theatrical Play & the Dance Floor ~

By Tam Francis

I recently posted a new bog post about my adventures in sewing vintage. I usually blog about EVERYTHING vintage from swing dancing to classic movies, to sewing. I had the pleasure of making two costume for a play I was cast in and hoped at least one of them would transfer to the dance floor.

The first one I tackled was supposed to be a 1930s vaudeville outfit from a song called: Turn on the Heat! (I’ve got a video of the original 1929 clip on my website)

Here’s the pattern I used (with modifications), to attain the 1930s look. It doesn’t match the video exactly, but has the art deco feel I think?

pattern for Turn on the heat

I lost the collar and shortened it quite a bit. In fact, I kept going between the video and my garment, inching it up my leg until it looked sassy and theatrical. I couldn’t find fur so I had to use several feather fur boas. I didn’t want to do a hood, (like in the video) because of a quick change right after and no time to fix the hair-do. It turned out pretty cool I think and the director was thrilled! What do you think? Does it have a 30s theatrical feel? Does it evoke a touch of humor? Did you watch the video to compare? Have any advice on what I could have done differently?

turn on the heat costume

This is the success story, at least I feel like it is. The other dress: The Blue Dress, for my final scene, was an EPIC fail. If you’d like to see how that went wrong and what I learned in the process. Pop on over to my blog  about this crazy adventure in sewing!


Have you ever felt something you made has crashed and burned? Feel like you rip out more seams than you sew? I’d love to hear about here, or on my blog 🙂



  1. Welcome, Tam! Glad to have you onboard!

    You might be the first person I’ve seen to fill out their full profile since the site redesign – looks pretty cool with all your facebook/twitter/G+/website links up there 😀

    If anyone reading is wondering how to do that, look up at the very top right corner of the site where it says “Howdy, [whoever]” and follow the links to “Edit my profile”. If you don’t see any of that, you’re not logged in – log in first: http://wesewretro.com/wp-login.php

    1. Thanks! I’ve been blogging for a year and have taken in as much info as I can get on how to maximize traffic. No block-buster blog posts yet, but a nice little stream! Thanks for having me on board. It’s exciting to see my stuff on another site. I’ve been wanted to contribute for months, but none of my other sewing blogs seemed the right fit!

  2. Looking for a 1930s farm dress pattern for costumes that are needed in a play im directing. Prefer replica as one of my actors is a size 18. Seems vintage patterns are for tiny women. Any advise would be appreciated. I need a total of 12 dresses made and buying them is just not in the budget.

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