It feels strange writing this post on one of the hottest days we’ve ever experienced in September but last week felt very autumnal and I was getting in the mood for my winter wardrobe. The weather’s predicted to change by the end of the week and go back to normal, so I’m going to plough on!
I seem to have a severe lack of long sleeve garments in my wardrobe and, as many vintage gals do, I tend to suffer the ‘oh my god, I have no vintage to wear in the winter’ syndrome. I’ve got better each year but I do end up wearing the same thing over and over again.
This year it has to change. I’ve already vowed to crochet at least one 1930s long sleeve jumper and I’m about to start on making my first 1930s long sleeve blouse, however, I do really need a couple of 1930s long sleeve dresses for daywear. I’ve been trawling my usual research places for inspiration and I’ve already found a few that could be contenders for my winter wardrobe.
First up is a group of plain sleeve dresses from autumn/winter 1930-1931. I love this early 1930s look where it still draws the eye down the front of the silhouette. This was a technique used often in the 1920s to make the shapeless dress look more flattering. Although the width of the dress has reduced by the turn of the decade the silhouette was still very much of a straight up and down, no curves.
I already have this sewing pattern from 1930 that I bought from Vtg Fashion Library on Etsy over the Christmas period but am still yet to use it. I think the main reason is I just can’t visualise what colours or fabrics to do it in. I do like the idea of the flounce sections being in a stripe fabric like the second from the right above, however, any suggestions will be gladly received!
I particularly like these ‘Such Neat Dresses’ from 1934. Again they have the straight up and down silhouette and plain sleeves but the detailing has become less fussy. I think they’d be ideal for everyday workwear, especially in a check or tweed. They’re very much my style and I have a few original 1930s patterns I could adapt as the basic shape is the same.
I spotted this gorgeous batwing dress from 1935 on Pinterest yesterday and it instantly reminded me of one of the patterns I picked up at the Summer of Vintage Festival. It has a similar two colour drape on the shoulder but I also love the idea of adding contrasting buttons as well.
This is the pattern, it’s by a company I’d never heard of before called Maudella. The only info I’ve managed to find out about them is that they were started by a lady called Maude Dunsford in her attic in West Yorkshire in 1937. This would definitely be one of the first to be produced as dress styles started moving towards the classic 1940s look in 1938.
The two swatches next to it are triple crepes from Clothspot. I’m not 100% convinced on them yet as the purple isn’t that vibrant and the grey is possibly a little too light. However, this is definitely the sort of thing I want to make it in, with purple as the main colour and the grey as the underside of the drape and the belt.
And look, there’s a purple dress with grey accents! I love the cuffs on the two on the left, perhaps they could be a little addition to the Maudella dress. Don’t you just love the dress with the buttons all the way up the back? I would hope there was a side zip on that one, rather than having to undo all of the buttons!
And talking of cuffs, aren’t these two gorgeous? The details on these are exactly what attracts me to the 1930s. You’d never see those cuffs and collars in any other period than the 30s and you certainly wouldn’t see them today. I particularly like the ones on the left dress, there’s all sorts going on there, ruffles, overlapping, curved edges. Just stunning!
I’m also intrigued by the length of ruffles on the cuffs on this navy and white dress. Again, I’ve never seen this before but it compliments the cute ruffles on the neckline. My only worry with this is that the ruffles would get in the way. They’d have to made of something quite soft so they didn’t start annoying me and getting caught on evrything.
These sleeves really are quite spectacular! Okay, so they’re not long sleeves but the idea could be translated to longer ones. Vivien Leigh wore something fairly similar in this photo from 1935.
The teeny tiny pleats create a fabulous volume of fabric on the cuffs and collar. I could imagine them in a contrasting colour, with the tie section in a third colour. My favourite of red, white and blue would work perfectly!
These sleeves are an absolute wonder! I cannot even begin to imagine what the pattern pieces were like. The wide shoulder/top arm area is great for creating an illusion of slimmer hips, the ultimate 1930s goal. However, I’d be worried I’d end up looking more like an American football player!
The long sleeves on the left are probably a little bit easier to wear as they don’t look as structured. However, they’d still create the illusion of slimmer hips. The style on the right is rapidly becoming my most favourite sleeve style of the 1930s. There was many adaptations of the classic bishop sleeve throughout the decade but these ones are particularly big.
I already have the pattern on the above right which I purchased from Kallie Designs on Etsy way back in October last year. The fabric on the left is a vintage rayon in deep pink which I have always planned to use for it, so maybe this year I will finally get it done. I’m probably going to add white piping around the yoke, cuffs and belt to define them, but we’ll see how that pans out!
(On a side note for anyone who might be interested, Kallie Designs has a wide range of quite simple crochet cloche patterns that she’s designed herself. I’ve got a couple of them on my wishlist which I may have a go at over the winter.)
This is my absolute favourite bishop sleeve dress. It’s by the incredibly talented Lily from the Mode de Lis blog. She has an amazing eye for detail and creates some truly spectacular pieces from the 16th Century all the way up to the 1950s.
This particular dress was created using an original 1930s blouse pattern from Mrs Depew (which I’ve had my eye on for ages!) for the top part and McCalls 6993 1930s skirt from their Archive Collection. It’s ended up as such an incredible dress. I’m so inspired!
Lastly for the bishop sleeve dresses is this simple, yet oh-so stunning one from 1937. Okay, so again it’s not long sleeves, but what fascinates me about these is the cuff part doesn’t actually look like a separate piece to the main sleeve. I would love to see what the pattern piece looked like for those as I cannot even fathom how that would work!
And last, but certainly not least, I found this long sleeve crochet dress pattern! Oh my word, I sooooo want to make this. It’s made in two separate parts, the jumper part and the skirt part and then joined together with the contrasting waistband. This is great because I could make them as separate garments if I wasn’t quite ready to tackle an entire dress in one go. Could you imagine it in a deep mustard yellow with contrasting deep magenta? Oh my days!!
I’ve managed to end up with loads of inspiration for 1930s long sleeve dresses, now I’ve just got to get on and make them. So, what about you, have you started to think about your autumn/winter wardrobe? What are your plans?