Record Fashions Pattern Magazine – July 1938

Record Fashions magazine - July 1938

Click on images for a larger version

Although I have quite a large collection of genuine vintage fashion, sewing and crochet magazines I don’t tend to share them on the blog for some reason. I have no idea why but after purchasing my latest one I know this needs to change. I will be posting them more often so you can enjoy their amazing delights just as I do. To get started I am going to share the latest and quite possibly most beautiful magazine in my collection.

Record Fashions inside cover, July 1938

This stunning 28 page booklet from Record Fashions is from July 1938, just three months after Hitler had annexed Austria. I mention this because Record were an Austrian sewing pattern company. They produced monthly magazines to promote their sewing patterns in a number of European countries, including Austria, France, The Netherlands and the UK. Thinking about the timeline of WWII and what happened in Austria, it’s interesting to find out that this particular magazine was available in these countries at this exact time.

1938 day dresses

The versions I have seen for Austria and France, just called Record not Record Fashions, have a huge fold out pattern sheet included to be able make all of the styles within the magazine. This is amazing as there’s a whopping 150 dresses, separates, outerwear and lingerie featured throughout mine. I’ve actually seen the Austrian version of the exact same magazine that I have from July 1938 and the pattern sheet is such an incredible bonus.

1938 day dresses

Unfortunately the UK version didn’t include this though and instead offers the usual service to send away for your chosen pattern via the post. There is a large inked stamp on the back explaining the cost and where to send your request to, but this is the only mention of this service.

1938 summer dresses

The UK based distribution company for these patterns was Ladies’ Fashions Publishing Company, who were based at 124 New Bond Street, London, W1 (home to a business services company now). The only mention of them that I can find on the internet is within the contents list of a book on Google Books. It’s called Cutting for All: The Sartorial Arts, Related Crafts, and the Commercial Paper Pattern by Professor Kevin L. Seligman and, as the only copy I can find of it to purchase is on Amazon for £174, I don’t think I’ll be buying a copy to find out more!

1938 blouses collars

Another thing that seems to be different between the ones I’ve seen is that the UK version only shows illustrations for the sewing patterns, whereas the other two have photographs of models wearing some of them. They also include the usual women’s magazine adverts, such as yarn companies, toothpaste brands, hair products and handbag accessories. The UK version doesn’t have any advertising in it, perhaps that’s how the non-UK versions could afford to include the pattern sheet and the UK couldn’t. Or perhaps the pattern sheet is just missing from my one. Nooooo, I don’t even want to think about that!

1938 evening gowns

I asked about Record Fashions sewing patterns on one of my favourite Facebook groups, Vintage Sewing Pattern Nerds, if anyone had come across them but everyone drew a blank too. One person pointed out that she’d never actually seen a vintage pattern by a company called Record and, after I thought about it for a moment, I realised I hadn’t either. So, if anyone has one, has seen one or has any other information about them,  can you let me know as I’m really intrigued by this company now?

1938 wedding gowns

Nevertheless, this really is an exquisite magazine with an equal number of black and white and fully coloured pages. Each spread is just awash of stunning designs from pretty chemises to beachwear fashions and from day separates to wedding dresses. There’s not one single one that I don’t like, which gives me such a huge amount of inspiration for my own sewing projects. It’s perfect too as 1938 seems to be a year I’m getting very into in terms of the whole look. You can see the influences from both the earlier 1930s designs and from the classic 1940s looks that are beginning to creep in.

1938 beach wear

My favourite page has definitely got to be the centre spread though. Just look at all those beautiful beach wear pieces! (click on the image for a larger version) The thing that struck me with these garments is a lot of them were made in jersey. The casual V neck jumper in dark rose is one of these pieces but the ribbing is actually hand knitted. I totally love that idea!

The ensemble with the navy blue harem pants is again made in jersey, including the little sleeveless bolero and backless top. It has got me wondering exactly what weight this was because the thin jersey we get these days just wouldn’t create that kind of structured look. Would it have been more like a Ponte Roma jersey?

1938 Dirndl dresses

And I love that they’ve still included Dirndl dresses, even though they weren’t as popular in the UK as they were in Austria. Interestingly, they don’t refer to them as Dirndls but rather peasant costumes or frocks. ‘Costume’ in the 1930s didn’t quite mean what it means today but was rather referring to a total look, so these wouldn’t have been marketed as dressing up costumes for a party. I wonder how many women actually made or wore them in the UK.

Record Fashions back cover

The back cover includes embroidery detailing ideas and I wonder if the templates for these were included in the sewing patterns. I’ve never seen this sort of thing in a 1930s pattern but you never know.

You can also see the black stamp across the top which explains where to order the patterns from. The larger patterns, such as dress, coat or costume was 1 shilling, whereas the separates and children’s wear was 9 pence. Oh to pay those prices now!



Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. A lover of all things old, especially the 1930s, seamstress, crocheter, maker of hats and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.


  1. The artwork is stunning. I fall more and more in love with that era with each photo I see. Thank you for sharing. xo

    • It’s a wonderful era, but then I am biased 🙂 1938 was a particularly pretty year which is probably why I’m falling in love with the styles more and more. xx

  2. Thank you so much for this. I so enjoyed looking at these pictures. I bought something similar at the flea market in Amsterdam. 1950’s patterns. There was a pattern sheet included. However they had put so many patterns on the sheet it was just a blinding maze to try to trace out a pattern! So, maybe don’t feel sad about the absence of the pattern sheet! You have saved your eyesight! I bought myself a small dressmaker’s form (about 12″ tall) and plan to fiddle around and try to drape some similar vintage styles from a sloper that I know fits. You might find this helpful, too. Good luck with your sewing! I love your blog and keep those lovely photos coming!

    • I have seen those pattern sheets and they do look like quite a headache, but it would’ve been nice to have had it included. I love creating garment patterns whilst draping on a mannequin but it’s something I haven’t done in a while. You may find this Designing by Draping book from 1936 book rather interesting – xx

  3. Oh this is lovely! I think, like you, I just adore everything. At first I was particularly taken with the evening gowns, but then the leisurewear is just so cute too! Amazing magazine, I actually have never come across Record Fashions or Record before, and it’s amazing that you found this copy printed in English.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • There’s a lot of other pages that I haven’t featured, purely because the post would be so long, but trust me everything is as beautiful as these. xx

  4. Yes, that centre spread is my favourite too!! They’re all divine. So many hours of fun looking through these catalogues. Thank you for sharing x

    • It’s amazing, isn’t it? All those amazing designs and all those incredible colours! So many of my magazines are purely in black and white but to have this with so many colour pages is amazing. xx

  5. I’ve never seen a Record pattern or the booklet before today, but they certainly look wonderful. Shame the patterns are not included but you could probably come up with your own versions – probably easier than trying to work out all the crisscrossing lines.
    I’ve enjoyed looking at the photos. Thanks for sharing them.

    • It’s funny, everyone seems to be drawing a blank with this one. I wonder why they’re so unheard of, I’d love to know more. Did they die out during the war? Or perhaps they stopped distributing in other countries? Who knows? xx

  6. Although I cannot sew (I’ve vowed that one day, when I’m retired, I will learn) I am always drawn to vintage patterns. This booklet is just fabulous, a veritable feast for the eyes. xxx

    • I know quite a few vintage pattern collectors who spend hundreds, if not thousands, on their collections but don’t sew. I think they’re such a wonderful piece of history, like a little snapshot of time, that anyone who’s into history is rather drawn to them. xx

  7. I need to recreate that yellow bolero, blue palazzo pants ensemble, right now. Thank you so much for sharing, the more images I see from the thirties, the more I fall in love!

    Carla, Tiny Angry Crafts

    • Isn’t it amazing? I’d love to give it a go too but I have such an aversion to jersey. I need to spend some time just experimenting with it rather than expecting something amazing to come from it. Perhaps then I will manage to get over my fear of it! xx

  8. Dear Cate, what a lovely find and thank you so much for sharing! It was interesting to read your thoughts on the differences with the ‘versions’ published on the Continent. I write from Germany, and have seen vintage issues of “Record Wiener Modenblatt” around; however, they are still rare especially with the original Schnittmusterbogen (pattern sheet). I will admit to a shameful addiction (I consider shameless, of course) to collecting these 1930’s German and Austrian ‘mode’ magazines with those giant scary pattern sheets!!! They are not that hard to use, yes really. Have you ever seen a 1930s edition of ‘Modenschau’ (Modenschau Illustrierte Monatszeitschrift für Heim und Gesellschaft…to be exact)? They can be quite spectacular . During the 1930s many of the mode magazines where included in the ‘benefits’ of a family’s household insurance policy and they definitely covered a wide range of topics and not only fashion. They can be a real bargain for 1930s patterns, but they are getting more and more expensive as antique book dealers begin to cash in on their popularity among vintage dressmakers. I’ve started to scan my collection so that the originals are protected; sorry I don’t have a blog but I am willing to share some with you. P.S. I’ve been meaning to comment on the fantastic blue and white dress you featured a couple of months ago- the one you wore photographing in the freezing cold- it looked absolutely fabulous! All my best, Becky

    • Oh gosh, so much information, thank you so much! I can’t believe that fashion magazines were a part of a family’s household insurance, that’s amazing. Perhaps people would dress better if that was offered today 🙂 I’m going to keep my eye out for any copies of Modenschau, they sound right up my street! xx

      • 🙂 I’ve decided dress #41213 is this spring’s dream dress!!

        • It’s an amazing dress, although I’m not sure I’d want to sew all of those pintucks!

  9. Ooh this is fabulous, thank you so much for sharing! So many styles which I’d love to have a go at drafting. xx

    • Oh gosh, my too Elaine! The only problem is which one to start with? They’re all so amazing, I’m not sure I could choose xx

  10. That’s fascinating. Obviously there was an increase in the wearing of dirndl styles in Germany and Austria as nationalism rose – I wonder if it was women on the British right who wore them? The thing that strikes me about the other, more mainstream 30s garments, is the amount of ruching and gathering used. And they’re so, so elegant.

    (Every time I see dresses from a decade and think, “That decade had the perfect dresses!” I see ones from a different 20th-century decade and think, “No, that one did!”)

    (They’re *all* good dresses, Brent…)

    I’ll keep an eye out for Record; you never know what odd things can pop up when you’re browsing secondhand stores.

    • That’s a good point about the British far right women, you could imagine them wearing them for solidarity. I’m going to keep my eye out too, the weirdest things can pop up at times, you just never know. Shepton is very good for that when the seller has no idea what they’re selling. xx

  11. Such a feast for the eyes! I don’t even really wear these kind of styles (I mean, that’s painting it with a very broad brush but I’m sure you understand me), but they’re just so gorgeous to look at. I will always be curious to look at fashion illustrations like this – they teach you so much about the eras! Also, aren’t sleeves these days boring?!

    • Totally agree and I find most modern clothing boring compared to vintage. The detailing has all been stripped away in favour of cheap production costs. It’s exactly why I make my own clothes or wear vintage. xx

  12. I want to make all those dresses! All of them!

    Have you checked local libraries for the Cutting for All book? My university library has a copy listed in their online catalogue.

    • I haven’t but I be very surprised if my local one did have it. I live in a small town and the library is tiny! 🙂 xx

  13. Cate what a fabulous find – you completely hit my sweet spot with it – I’ve never seen it before and the illustrations are wonderful! I know the National Art Library has earlier titles such as Fashions For All (no pattern sheets in there either as I recall) but this one’s new to me. That Old Devil Called ‘Fashion Magazine Obsession’…. Thank you so much for sharing your find!

    • Oh yes, isn’t it a devil? I’m not only obsessed with sewing pattern magazines but also crochet ones too. And don’t even get me started on the crafting books! xx

  14. Fascinating as usual. The drawings of the women are proportionately so long and slender. Beautiful colours in the artwork; deconstructing the images in the light of 1938 could be a very interesting essay topic!

    • Generally all fashion illustration is elongated to make the model appear tall and slim. You should see some of my old illustrations, one of my trademarks was an elongated neck, which on a person would never happen! xx

  15. I do so enjoy looking through old magazines. I love the whimsical feel of the illustrations. And I always love a dirndle. Though it does feel a little costumey in London to rock up in a dirndle, maybe I should make one anyway.

    • I’m sure you could rock a Dirndl without looking like you’re off to Oktoberfest, you should go for it! xx

  16. What a marvelous find! I want all of them (especially the beach wear) and I love that there is a dirndl section. How historically fantastic! Thank you so very much for sharing your book, I am thrilled you did 🙂

    • I so wish I could just reach in and pick any dress to wear from this catalogue, everything really is so amazing! xx

  17. I can never get enough of 1930s fashion. I’m sighing over all the ingenious, dreamy designs…!! Thanks for sharing!

  18. What gorgeous, inspirational images! I think I might have had literal heart eyes when I saw that first image – I just want to rummage through my closet (or, really, go out and shop) until I can recreate all of those looks. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Hehehe, tell me about it! I’m already on the hunt for similar fabrics to several of them so I can start making some of them! xx

  19. This is a fabulous find! Such a great piece of fashion history and some really beautiful outfits. Lots of inspiration here for sure. I’m intrigued by the jersey top with the knitted ribbing. I’m very happy to knit the ribbing for you if you want to experiment!

    • Aw, bless you! I would need to get a little more confident with jersey first as it terrifies me but I will definitely keep it in mind xx

  20. I only have them with pattern sheets, never saw single patterns from this magazine.

    • It’s weird, isn’t it? I’ll be so amazed if I actually spot one but I’m thinking perhaps they might not be branded. Who knows? xx

  21. So beautiful! The clothes and illustrations are just so gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Aren’t they? I really must post some of my other magazines on the blog as I have so many lovely ones. xx

  22. Hi Cate, I’m new to your blog. I must say that it’s a new favorite of mine, so much wonderful inspiration! Thanks!
    I have found 1940’s and 1950’s vintage Record patterns for sale here in Sweden. I have even bidded on few on a site called “tradera”, a Swedish equivalent to e-bay. The cover art work is always really good.
    So don’t despair, there are Record patterns out there, but maybe they where more common on the continent than in the UK.
    The below link shows some examples.

    • Oh, thank you for your lovely comments. It’s always good to hear I’m actually inspiring other people. Thank you for the information o Record patterns too, that’s extremely interesting. They clearly were popular across Europe. I will definitely continue to keep an eye out for any here. xx

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