May 1937 German fashions

By on February 4, 2013

Hi everyone

I’m writing about 1930s German fashion magazines for my homework. And all I can think about is, what will my next sewing project be? Please help me to procrastinate. I’m looking over my May 1937 issue of Heim und Kleid (Home and Dress). I want to do a project using a design in it. I will probably have to make some modifications for it to be wearable in the twenty-first century. What do you think, would you choose any of these?

Here are a few pages from it:

The waistcoat and skirt is stylish.  I’m not sure about the diagonal toggles on the blouse though.


The giant bow (second from right), though striking, really isn’t for me. But how about the pleated puffy sleeve caps?


The pattern is provided for the coat on the left. Looks as though it wouldn’t take too many changes to change it into the dress next to it.

These all look very practical. The pattern is provided for the overall, and the lower half is actually wide legged trousers, not a skirt.


All the patterns are provided for the skirt, tunic, slip and nightie, along with full-size diagrams of the embroidery.  I think the neck frill might be a bit much for a nightie. I imagine it would be quite annoying to sleep in.

Any thoughts? Am I crazy to pick a project or three from this magazine?


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Vintage Sewing

A 1930s Bra – McCall 8092 – plain and simple

By on January 10, 2013

Happy New Year everyone!

I picked up this pattern after the usual disappointing trip to the lingerie shop where I could find absolutely nothing that was even remotely friendly to hypersensitive skin.

Unlike the gorgeous lingerie that everyone here posts, I made a very plain and simple bra. But it is very skin friendly. Here is the pattern:

Love the bloomers! They look so … substantial.

Here is the back of the pattern:

Anyway back to the bra. On first examination, these were my thoughts:


  • one seam only
  • instead of finishing the edges with binding as suggested  it will be easy to line by making a duplicate and sewing the two together


  • like many vintage bras, exposed elastic at the back – fortunately I have some nice soft woven elastic that should be OK
  • eight darts (16 if you count the lining) because you need darts if there aren’t any shaping seams
  • some nervousness about fitting. The only information given with the pattern is the 32” bust measurement – presumably this is the high bust measurement. The sketches on the front are unusually realistic and suggest a build similar to mine.

I made up a toile from an ancient poly-cotton sheet using my 1936 Singer (it is, after all, a 1930s pattern). To my astonishment, the fit was great. I have a slight gap just under my underarm where a shaping seam would be in many patterns, but I am willing to call this breathing space.

The only alteration I made was to ignore the pattern piece for the elastic length and opt instead for what felt right (a little longer).

The toile was so comfortable and soft, I decided to use it as a lining. By now I should be moving toward a discussion of the delightful floral or polka-dotted luxury remnant that would be perfect with the addition of some feminine touches of lace and ribbon. Unfortunately, I have a penchant for thin white blouses and tops in summer. The outside of the bra is a flesh-coloured silk with some body. It also turned out to have an annoying amount of cross-wise stretch so I used a very light non-woven interlining to stabilise it.

My elastic was white, so I stained it with some very strong Assam tea and salt, producing a flesh colour that, as yet, shows no signs of washing out. With some trepidation I sewed a little piece of lace to it. I really hoped it wouldn’t cause problems. I used a trouser bar and hook for the fastener because I have a lot of those in my haberdashery drawer.

I have worn it on several stinking hot humid days without any adverse effects. The lace on the elastic seems to sit far enough away from my skin so it isn’t scratchy.

You will have to take my word for the fit as Brian, my dress-model, is the exhibitionist in the house and he’s a bit lacking in the chest area:


The back view:


In retrospect, I shouldn’t have used wavy lace. I should also have dressed Brian with more care, as in real life it honestly does look a bit better than that. I will be making several more.

For anyone considering a pattern like this, I can say with confidence that the McCall 8092 in size 32” bust (size 14 in the 1930s) with some adjustment to the elastic comfortably fits a body with these measurements:

  • upper bust 32”
  • full bust 34”
  • under bust 30”

It probably would not be suitable under clingy or tight-fitting  garments.

Another version of this post where I snarl a bit about bras and bra manufacturers is here:




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