Style Inspiration: 1930s Necklines and Collars

1930s necklines and collars

One of my favourite fabric websites did something a couple of weeks that is extremely dangerous for me. It sent me a voucher for five free samples of any of its fabrics. Now I know why they did this, it’s a great marketing ploy to try and get you to buy more fabrics, particularly when you weren’t planning to. And guess what, it worked.

Ring of Flowers Cotton Fabric

Having had a good look through their website I chose a few I’d had my eye on and a couple just because I liked the look of them. This was a bad move. When they came I absolutely fell in love with the one called Ring of Flowers, as shown above. It’s got a real summery Art Deco feel about it  and I love the contrast of the pale blue against the white. The only problem is it costs £17.95, rather more than I would normally spend on cotton fabric and I had visions of having to buy at least 2 metres to make anything decent.

1950s Top Sewing Pattern

However, having had a massive and long overdue sort out and organisation of all my vintage sewing patterns I came across this rather lovely, but very simple, 1950s pattern for four different tops. I particularly love design D with the bow at the neckline. It’s such a sweet little top that could be made over and over again using lots of different fabrics and trimmings. It would also make a great base pattern for making for a beautiful 1930s summer top. Light bulb moment!

This fab little pattern only needs up to one metre of fabric, which I could just about justify spending £17.95 on. And seriously, how cute would that fabric be made up using this pattern? This got me thinking, how could I 1930s-fy it? Having a good look at the pattern I realised that the square, slash-neck style neckline was what made it look very 1950s, so it needed to be changed. And then it dawned on me, one thing that really makes 1930s styles stand out are the amazingly designed necklines and collars. Cue lots of furious searching on Pinterest and Google.

Simplicity 3100 1930s sewing pattern

Initially, I set about looking for square necklines which would be the easiest to change on the pattern and I did actually find some 1930s ones. I love the idea of creating a separate section the same shape as the neckline and inserting some sort of trim. The neckline section could even be done in a contrasting colour or pattern.

Butterick pattern 1930s

The sportswear look of the 1930s is one of my favourites from this era. It’s a great way to create a more casual look without resorting to trousers. I have an idea for another top using the design of the neckline on the left outfit. I have some lovely ivory crepe and a few scrapes of matching crepe with a gorgeous red poppy print on it that would work well in this design.

Simplicity 1781 1930s sewing pattern

I adore the use of contrasting buttons on clothes and plan to utilise this much more in my sewing projects going forward. It’s something that isn’t used that often in modern clothing, so can make a garment look even more vintage.

Simplicity 1364 1930s sewing pattern

Next I started looking at V-shaped necklines, a style that suits me more than any other neckline. This dress again has the idea of a section around the neckline that follows the same shape. I like this a lot on the V-shape as it draws the eye outwards towards the shoulders, making the waist look smaller. I also love the buttons going down the centre back as the closure. This is something I think will work well with my proposed top.

Casey Maura 1930s scalloped collar

A white collar on a different coloured or patterned garment was very common during the 1930s, as well as a contrasting white V-shape insert into a round shape neckline. This beautiful scalloped collar with white insert, available as a tutorial on the Casey Maura blog, is just so feminine.

Marianne from Fintage blog

Everything about this handmade dress by Finnish blogger Marianne screams 1930s. I’m a huge fan of hers and absolutely love her style. The V-shape neckline, finished off with a bow at the bottom, is just gorgeous. I like the way the main part of the bow is in the same fabric as the dress but is trimmed on the edge by a section of contrasting white to make it stand out.

1930s Bow Necklines

And this leads me on to bows! This is one of my most favourite details of 1930s style and the bigger the better, although I’d probably get a few looks walking into Sainsbury’s wearing one like these.

1930s Colourised Photo

The bow in this beautiful colourised photo is really intriguing. The neckline of the plain fabric is square and then the bow is created using two long strips of patterned fabric that sits behind the neckline edge. You could create detachable bows this way and slot them behind any neckline. Hmm, now there’s an idea!

New York Pattern 202 1930s

This contrasting fabric side bow is a fantastic look too. There are endless possibilities as to wear to place it or you could even have two smaller ones, one on each shoulder.

Mccall 8206 1930s Sewing Pattern

And then there’s the necktie which is a great way to add interest to any garment and really simple to do. I also really love the sailor collar which is perfect for 1930s style resort wear. I’m a huge fan of nautical fashions and probably wear red, white and blue at least three times a week! One of my most favourite outfits is the 1930s style sailor blouse (which you can see in my 1930s outfit post) and blue sailor trousers I bought from 20th Century Foxy with a red handbag and headscarf.

DuBarry 1930s necklines and collars

Detachable collars were also very popular during the 1930s with sewing patterns released just with collars in them. During an era of hardship this was a great way to create different looks with just one dress or blouse.

1930s collars

There were so many styles to choose from and most of them only used up a tiny amount of fabric. Any scrap could be turned into something really stylish and a plain pillowcase could be used to make several collars in one go.

There really are so many styles of 1930s necklines and collars it’s just so hard to choose. However, I’ve had a good think about all my favourite elements and have put a little sketch together of what I plan to do, although I’ll probably change my mind before I start!

My 1930s blouse design

Ignore the line around the waist, I was thinking about putting a waist band around it but then decided it wouldn’t look right.

The neckline is obviously a V-shape which I will do as a separate section of the same fabric. I’m going to join it to the top with a narrow overlapping band of plain white and possibly do the same on the sleeves. The bow will be a medium sized one in the white but with the centre section possibly in the patterned fabric. For the closure I’m going to do buttons all the way down the back. So what do you think?


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. Oh the possibilities!!! This is all great inspirational stuff. I can’t wait to see what you come up with, xx

  2. Your design looks spot on! So very 30s especially using that great deco print fabric. I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

    • Thank you! I just hope it turns out how I visualise it in my head.

  3. Oooh, that’s going to look fab! I’m really impressed with the way you know how to adapt things.

    The bows and collars of 1930s styles is what made me realise I love some 30s, but it’s not my decade. I love the way different vintage appeals to, and suits, different people.

    • Yes, me too, although sometimes I really wish I could wear 1920s sack dresses. They just look like a tent on me!

  4. I can’t wait to see this, it will look lovely! I wish I had your sewing skills as I want every single outfit you have shown an image of! I have found a few knitting patterns for detachable collars from the ’40’s and ’50’s. Such a clever way to change up your outfits.

    • Hey, I wish I had your knitting skills, so I guess we’re even! I love knitted and crocheted collars, they are just so classically vintage.

  5. Oh my gosh, so good! I can feel my creative juices flowing…

    I need more time in the day! Thanks so much for posting these, every single pattern is absolutely gorgeous. What a visual feast!

    • Oh tell me about it! I wish I didn’t have to work full time. All I want to do is be at home doing creative things!

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