Style Inspiration: 1930s Beach Pyjamas

1930s beach pyjamas

With this wonderful sunny weather we’re currently having, my mind is entirely focused on the small collection of garments I want to make for my holiday later this year. The one item that’s really taking prominence now is a pair of 1930s beach pyjamas and I previously showed you the pattern I’m going to use to make mine in my Sewing & Crocheting Plans post I did back in February. As these are now in the planning and mock up stages I thought I’d share some of my inspiration with you. I warn you, this is a very picture heavy post, but who doesn’t love a round up of 1930s beach pyajams!

Nautical Beach Pyjamas

Nautical 1930s beach pyjamas from Fab Gabs

Nautical 1930s beach pyjamas from Fab Gabs

The nautical look was huge in the 1930s and you really couldn’t get any more nautical than these amazing original 1930s beach pyjamas that were sold by Fab Gabs. Just the colours alone scream nautical, but then you add the sailor collar, anchor embroidery and the white striped pocket, team it with red and white accessorises and WHAM! you’ve got yourself the most nautical look ever! All you need is a jaunty sailor hat!

1930s nautical beach pyjamas

At first glance these original 1930s beach pyjamas don’t look all that nautical, apart from maybe the colours, however, the print is very much based on international maritime signal flags. I absolutely love how colourful and lively they are. You couldn’t help but feel happy wearing these!

1930s nautical beach pyjamas

These are a little more subtle with their nautical theme, with just the giant anchor embellishments being its only hint. And I say embellishments, plural, because you may not have noticed the one on the inside of the right arm sleeve. Yes, just look at those incredible sleeves!

I also really love the deep blue playsuit in the background thats covered in huge sail boats. It reminds me so much of the fabric Sew La Di Da used on their Margo playsuit pattern.

Check/Plaid Beach Pyjamas

1930s beach pyjamas

I haven’t come across many checked or plaid beach pyjamas, but I did particularly like the yellow gingham ones above. The illustration suggests that the gingham has been cut on the bias, which would give them such a wonderful drape. I also really like the top plain section that goes around the neck and under the arms. This is something I’m definitely keeping in mind for mine.

1930s beach pyjamas from Guermantes Vintage

And here are original 1930s beach pyjamas that are actually cut on the bias. It looks like a beautifully cooling rayon and I bet they were a dream to wear. The combination of the green and orange is just so 1930s, which leads me on to the next section…

Green and Orange Beach Pyjamas

1930s beach pyjamas from Guermantes Vintage

When I first starting thinking about what I wanted mine to look like, I had it in my head that I wanted to make them in mint green and orange (or a deep peach). I even found some amazing plain mint green and plain orange linen fabrics from Ditto Fabrics, but they were just too thin and too see-through to use. I could’ve lined it, obviously, but I want to keep them as lightweight and cool as possible, so it was back to the drawing board.

1930s sports inspired beach pyjamas

These mint green and orange original 1930s beach pyjamas have a fabulous American sport print on them. Anyone who knows more about American sports than I do might be able to tell you if it’s a particular sport or not, but to my eyes it just looks like a general nod to them all.

1930s beach pyjamas from Adeline's Attic

These original 1930s green and orange beach pyjamas are being worn by the lovely Jill from Adeline’s Attic and I love how she’s teamed them with matching green shoes and green tinted sunglasses. The print on these is outstanding, so 1930s.

Deep ‘V’ Beach Pyjamas

1930s beach pyjamas

McCall 6515 - 1930s beach pyjamas

A deep ‘V’ front was a common feature on 1930s beach pyjamas and the blue and white ones above show this perfectly. They were often made with the bodice section in a plain or pattern and then the trouser legs in the reverse. The plain section, of course, was chosen to highlight one of the colours in the print. Emileigh from Flashback Summer made quite an exceptional pair that follow this theme.

McCall 6432 - 1930s beach pyjamas

Although these three beach pyjamas have the deep ‘V’ styling, they don’t have a separate coloured bodice. The one on the right is the only one with plain and pattern sections. However, I wanted to included these pyjamas because of the two prints. They really are incredible, especially the huge circle one!

Striped Beach Pyjamas

1930s stripe beach pyjamas

Now, I absolutely love beach pyjamas made in stripe fabric and these orange, grey and white ones are absolutely amazing. Just look at how wide those trouser legs are! I adore her matching hat and how she’s highlighting the pattern with charcoal grey sandals and belt.

1930s stripe beach pyjamas from Fab Gabs

1930s stripe beach pyjamas from Fab Gabs

These beautiful brightly striped seersucker beach pyjamas were again sold by Fab Gabs. They remind me of Margo’s striped playsuit from The Durrells, especially with the different directional stripe sections. I love the way the fabric has been cut to create points across the bust and down the sleeves.

1930s stripe beach pyjamas

1930s stripe beach pyjamas

The two above again follow the classic 1930s trick of changing the direction of the stripes. These two, in particular, have been a big influence on the design of my own 1930s beach pyjamas.

Reproduction Beach Pyjamas

And lastly (thank you for sticking with me for this long!), I wanted to champion some of the wonderful reproduction 1930s beach pyjamas made by some of the talented seamstresses out there.

Marianne from

Firstly, these amazing ones from Marianne at are my absolute favourites of all of the ones I’ve featured here. She self-drafted and made them a few years ago and when she posted about them, that was it, I was completely smitten. They’re actually inspired by a photo in a Finnish magazine called Kotiliesi from 1934. Have a look at her post to see just how close she came to replicating them.

Fresh Frippery beach pyjamas

These equally nautical looking beach pyjamas made by Vivien at Fresh Frippery were made using Decades of Style’s Last Resort Beach PJs pattern. I was actually tempted by this pattern but I was determined to use the one from the Record Fashions magazine pattern sheet. I love how Vivien has kept it simple with just using red highlights on a plain deep blue.

Annotations of Jenny

The last beach pyajamas were made by my lovely friend Jenny from Annotations of Jenny. These were made using Wearing History’s pattern Lounging at the Lido and I particularly love how wide the trouser legs are on these. They really are quite amazing. I also really like the fact that they’re floral because I don’t think I’ve actually come across any others with such a dominant floral pattern. It’s really unusual.

So, that’s all of the wonderful inspiration, so what are my 1930s beach pyjamas going to look like? Well, you’ll have to wait until my next couple of posts to find out!


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. What a lovely post! One to bookmark for future inspiration! I would love to make a striped pair. X

    • There’s just something about striped beach pyjamas, isn’t there? They’d look amazing on you with your height! xx

  2. I seriously love this post! Very different clothing from what we’re used to seeing from the 1930s. There’s so much inspiration in here- I really need to get a jump start on my beach-wear.

    • Thanks Jess! Beach wear, or rather holiday wear, is firmly on my agenda for the next few months. xx

  3. Love these! I so want to make myself a pair one day! Thank you for all of the amazing inspiration, Cate!

    • You’re welcome! It’s funny how many people want to make some too. xx

  4. I’d love to have a pair of 1930s inspired beach pyjamas, even if it was just for lounging around the house and garden! I’m especially enamoured by the first two nautical ones, the green and orange original 1930s one, and the brightly striped seersucker one. Can’t wait to see yours when it’s finished! Will you actually be wearing it to the beach? xxx

    • The nautical ones are amazing, aren’ they? And they look so comfy! No, we actually won’t be anywhere near a beach but it’s the south of Spain, so will still be very hot. Perfect for beach pyjamas! xx

  5. Ooh, looking forward to seeing these! I’ve got a Butterick pattern for beach pyjamas with huge puffed sleeves, but as I could never imagine being brave enough to wear the end result, I doubt if it will ever get made up! xx

    • Oh wow, that sounds amazing! Is it from the 30s? I’ve love to see it, even if you never make them. xx

  6. I usually think of beach pyjamas as something that I would never have anywhere to wear (same with evening gowns). I might have to rethink them though. The striped seersucker ones with sleeves especially seem like a style you could get away with even if not at the beach. They do look very cozy! I’m excited to see how yours turn out and hear what kind of fabric you decided to use.

    • Yes, I’ve been a bit like that about beach pyjamas, but now I have an excuse to wear them, so I’m going to take full advantage! The seersucker ones are really classy, aren’t they? You could easily wear these wherever. I think they’d be especially lovely for a relaxing evening with friends. xx

    • They’re great, aren’t they? You just can’t beat the nautical look for beach pyjamas.xx

  7. I too have some fabric lined up its a tropical print so hoping I can get away with a non nautical theme? Am going to cobble together a mixture of patterns but definitely going for long ones with a mahoosive hat. Can’t wait to see what your making.

    • Oh, I think beach pyjamas would look fabulous in a tropical print. It certainly goes with the theme of wearing them when it’s hot. I’d love to have a hat to go with mine, it’s just getting it to Spain without being crushed that will be the hard part! Do let me see your pyjamas once you’ve done them. xx

  8. These are amazing! I would love to get a pair, although I think I’d probably want to have them made to get a good fit. I don’t sew, but I would love to find someone to make me a set. I’ll have to save this for the future!

    • They’re great, aren’t they? The fit really depends on the style. Some are designed to be baggy, so you can get away with them not fitting perfectly. My problem though would be the length of the body section. I have quite a long body, so always have to be careful of this in any one piece garment, especially swim suits! xx

  9. Hello my lovely!
    Thank you so much for including me in your fabulous inspiration post – so many amazing beach pyjamas! You have definitely got me thinking I need to make another pair 🙂 xx

    • Oh, you’re so welcome! I do love your beach pyjamas, they look so comfy. You can never have too many pairs! xx

  10. Beach Pyjamas have and always be on the top of my WANT list. They are so divine and they look so comfortable, that you can’t help but love them. This is a super collection of options and now I want someone to make one for me, asap!

    Great job!

    • It’s funny, everyone just loves beach pyjamas! I can’t wait to wear mine, they’ve been on my WANT list forever too xx

  11. Those orange/green bias cut ones are fantastic.

    Be prepared to get a few looks when you’re in Spain. The civil war still hurts for them today – debates about what to do with civil war sites, mass graves and memorials still rages – and some people may wonder if the 1930s clothes are a political statement of some sort or another. That said, you’re off to a big city, and I’ve seen more of an interest in vintage stuff in recent years, so hopefully it will be minimal.

    • To be honest, I probably won’t look massively 1930s anyway. I don’t bother curling my hair or wearing red lipstick when I’m on holiday, so it’s a toned down version of what you see on the blog. It will probably look more like a fashion statement than a political one! xx

      • Cool! I remember Nora commenting on being stared at in Madrid – I suspect it’s because she’s utterly gorgeous, but did wonder if people were wondering about a political aspect to things.

        On the plus side, you always look *smart*, and the Spanish definitely don’t do scruffy. You can always spot the tourists by the shorts…

  12. These are all so fantastic. I love the variety, especially when it is just the direction of the fabric which is changed. Looking forward to seeing yours.

    • Thanks Kate-Em! Mine is currently being worked on but I’m struggling with the pattern fit of the top part. The trouser part is amazing, the legs are soooo wide! xx

  13. Hi Cate, great post and very inspirational. May I ask, which magazine does the yellow gingham beach PJ come from?
    I also saw the pair you’re making on your other post and they are fabulous!

    • Hi becky, I don’t know I’m afraid. It was an image I found on Pinterest and it had no source details. xx

      • Hi Cate, I asked because the picture was so ‘familiar’ to me and I couldn’t place it when I asked you…then later, I found that I actually have the pattern in the German Modenschau Nr.270 1935! I had been looking for beach Pjs too and had that yellow one somewhere in back of my mind before I saw it again on your post- oooh I love a coincidence solved, so thank you for prompting my brain!!! And it’s just the perfect beachy weather for your new costume too! 🙂

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