I have a real fascination with 1930s fashion and needlework magazines and have built up quite a collection of them now. Throughout my entire collection, I definitely think that this Butterick Sewing Pattern Book from the summer of 1938 is my favourite. Not only is everything featured in it exactly the sort of 1930s fashions I absolutely love, but it’s also jam-packed with full-colour illustrations, something that’s quite rare during this period.
Unlike my the Vogue Sewing Pattern Book from 1935, I previously showed you (here and here), the fashions in this Butterick one are much more every day, wearable pieces and you can just imagine the average woman walking around in them. This book sadly has half the pages that the Vogue one does, but 50 pages of stunning 1930s fashion inspiration is enough for me when it’s presented so beautifully.
In this post I’ve chosen my favourite pages from the first half of the book and will post a ‘Part 2’ soon. I hope you enjoy them as much as me! Oh, and you can click on each image to view a larger image. Have a read of some of the text, it’s fabulous!
I love the above two-page spread, it reminds me so much of the more modern ‘street-style’ features you see in fashion magazines and websites today. It’s fantastic how they’ve taken photographs of every day women, in real situations and then shown Butterick sewing patterns you can use to create the same sort of look. I wonder if the ladies in the photographs were photographed specifically for the magazine or if they were snapped without their knowledge.
These last two pages are my absolute favourites throughout the book as they really are a vintage seamstresses dream. Look at those amazing colour fabric swatches! Oh, to be able to buy those now.
The last page describes the fabrics, explaining the look they create and the type of fabric they are. I absolutely love reading pages like this as it gives me so much inspiration for creating more authentic pieces. However, often the types of fabric have long gone out of fashion and they’re really hard to get hold of, especially in the UK.
I’ve tried countless times to look for sharkskin (a lightweight, wrinkle-free smooth worsted fabric that has a two-tone look), pique (a woven fabric characterised by raised parallel cords or fine ribbing to create a waffle-like texture) and percale (a closely woven plain-weave fabric with a high thread count – now found mostly in bed linen) and had no luck. All three were quite common in the 30s dressmaking and it’s so irritating that you can’t get it now. 🙁
Anyway, which outfit is your favourite? For me, it’s got to be that yellow playsuit with the navy trim. Or perhaps it’s the white cotton dress with the brightly coloured embroidered bolero. Nope, it’s definitely the three-piece set on the cover. Oh, there’s too many to choose from!