Ceylon pattern for 1936?

June 27, 2012

Hi there!


I’m planning to go to a July 14th (French national day) dancing party, and the theme is “Summer 1936”. I don’t own patterns from this specific period (I’m more into the 1950s) and I probably don’t have time to buy some, so I was wondering if you think the “Ceylon” pattern from Colette would work for 1936?

From what I’ve seen, the shape seems similar to the 1930s dresses, but I’d rather ask confirmation from the true specialists : you girls ! 🙂

This is the pattern in cas you don’t know it:

I hope m

y post belongs here! I think so, but please tell me if I’m mistaken!


  1. It really says “1940’s” to me more than “1936”, but . . . I don’t know. I guess I think it sort of depends on the event. How big a deal is accuracy? If it’s not really the point, I think it would work, especially as a pinch-hitter.

  2. It’s not a “serious” event so I the accuracy is not mandatory or anything, it’s just that I’m a perfectionist… 🙂 Would you have recommandations to adapt this pattern for 1936? Maybe reduce the skirt width or replace it completely with a straight skirt?

  3. Skirts started gaining fullness by the mid-’30s – it’s more the dropped waist and the sweetheart neckline/shoulder yoke that are pushing it firmly out of the ’30s. I would either just call this ’40s look close enough, or start over with another pattern, because the changes needed to this one would be major surgery.

    Do you have a basic princess-seamed dress pattern? There were a bunch of ’90s patterns that could be adapted to a circa-’36 look. Along these lines:

    Or maybe you have a ’50s shirtwaist pattern with a set-in sleeve; use the bodice, and sub in a paneled straight skirt with a little flare at the bottom, like this:

    There are a number of two-piece looks that might be easier to fake from later patterns. It’s the notions (big bright buttons, geometric buckle, bow) that really key the look. Here’s a good example:
    That extended-shoulder-that-becomes-a-sleeve was big in the early ’80s, but also cropped up in the ’50s.

  4. If I were going to go to the trouble of adapting it, I’d start over with a different pattern. The curved shoulder yoke seams are really classic 1940’s more than 1930’s, as is the waist inset. If anything, waists in 1936 were either at natural height or slightly above, and skirts tended to be plain and pretty vertical.

    Three ladies dressed up. Note natural-to-just-above-natural waists.

    May 1936 catalog images. Again, notice plain, columnar skirts and slightly shortened bodices.

    The last Etsy link above could also be fudged from a 1948-1949 pattern; the cut-in-one cap sleeve was almost ubiquitous at the end of the 1940’s.

  5. It really is the bodice that takes it into the 40’s.
    The 30’s were more flowing, often cut on the bias in the skirt, & as others have shown a cape sleeve was very popular.

  6. I’ve just received this pattern (maybe for the skirt, if I lengthen it a bit and widene it at the bottom), this one (view A kind of looks like Jessamyn’s second link) and this one (with straight neckline) which maybe look more like the styles you mentionned. Do you think one of them would be a better basis ?

  7. Those links certainly looks inetresting, I didn’t know the shops! Howeevr I’d rather not order a paper pattern now, especially from abroad, since I can’t wait for my pattern to arrive by mail. I’m not sure I’m skilled enough to work on those german patterns…
    Since I obviously don’t know this period enough, I have ordered some fashion magazine from 1935 on eBay to get inspired, I guess I’ll sort something out with the pictures in them and your comments. Thanks girls! 🙂

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