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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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!