Tuesday, 8 May 2012

1940s Dressmaking

So I was looking for my stack of resources books and found "The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Dressmaking" circa 1940s.  I just love this book from the pretty cover to the useful tips, to the handwritten print on the diagrams.


The book contains some of the most beautiful diagrams and photographs of dresses I would love to own and wear- not mention the hair (which I could never hope to achieve!)  It also appeals to my sense of history having been published during the war years, you can see the "make do and mend" attitude in every chapter- there is a whole chapter devoted to renovations- including amalgamating a coat and a skirt into a dress, or changing necklines to give an old dress a new look.  You can really see how fashion was dictated by necessity in this era.

It also contains some gems regarding trouser wearing in women- "colours should be bright" presumably to avoid being too masculine! There is also a millinery section, which I plan on studying to try and create something for Ascot (a little ambitious given my sewing limitations but I may call on Susannah for help!!)

It is unlikely that we will ever part with this book to the shop, but knowing we have is great to help date some pieces (especially the earlier handmade garments), and may help when it comes to Upcycled.  If there is anything in particular you want to know about this book please feel free to comment or e-mail us.


  1. Some of the '40s sewing books are really great on making-virtue-out-of-necessity approaches to repairs! I have several that have moved from potential stock to permanent places on my shelf...

  2. I have an original copy of this that I've had for years, it belonged to my grandmother who passed it along to my mother. It is a true gem and really kick started my sewing and pattern drafting as a child. Thanks for sharing it.


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