Easy Ways to Pretty Frocks


I thought I’d share some more images from this sewing pamphlet from 1928 called Easy Ways to Pretty Frocks, which I gave you a taste of earlier. It was published by thread manufacturers J&P Coats. The pamphlet guides you through drafting a “plain dress,” which is in the style of the day, a sack dress. It then presents multitudes of ideas for trimming and altering this dress. This is what I love about deco fashion, all the beautiful variations on a single theme.

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. Her roles include communication, strategy, and creative direction. She also edits Seamwork magazine. She often thinks and writes about the way sewing impacts our lives – through body image, identity, and social awareness.

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Comments 16


This is amazing! Thank you for sharing.


OMG! This booklet is incredibly informative. I love the pleated dresses, oh so simple with cutting the pattern after the fabric has been taken care of. I must try this! Thanks so much for the complete page scans!


I just realized that I could use my Burdastyle Anda pattern as the basic dress to make sketch 48 on page 23! It already has the cut-on dropped sleeves and boatneck.

Anna | Mormor hade stil

That is so cute! Love those old books, thank you for sharing.

chirley Maria

Adorei este post!


Wow. Thank you for scanning this in. It’s precious.


The illustrations are wonderful and inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing!


I love looking back in time with old publications! Thank you for posting. Very charming illustrations– inspiring stuff!

In addition to making 2 Colette patterns curently (CEYLON on the machine right now) I just finished a dress made from a 1930’s sewing pattern, using some silk from the 1930’s. My husband said it was a “time-machine dress” and when I wear it for the first time I’d better be careful in case I GO BACK TO THE 1930’s!


Ohh how beautiful. I love old pattern books


Such a lovely booklet, thank you so much! I especially love the trimming and flower pages (they are now in My Pictures folder) and I want to try that wired and sheer fabric covered petals one right now!

ashley akers

I have been wishing that there was a current book with ideas just like these. Anybody know of one?


Not long ago I bought a reprint of this book, you can find it here:

I love it when old pattern books like this talk about the frugality of embellishing the clothes you have rather than buying new. You get the feeling that the things people owned then were much more precious, as opposed to the disposable clothing we have today.


Of course I found that you could still buy a copy of this after I put a lot of Photoshop cleaning work into it. But here it is, with credit to Sarai for scanning in the images from her copy. I’ll add the rest to the set after I receive my copy. Thanks again Sarai!


Wow, thanks for doing that! So helpful!

the fabled needle

thank you so much for sharing, sarai! i recently purchased a 1920s dress w/o thinking it would look good on me (it was just too cute to pass up). as it turns out, since it’s such a slim fit, i really like it! now i’m on a ’20s-kick. ;) i hope to put this little booklet to good use – thanks again! have a lovely weekend.


Vicky Loebel

What a fantastic find! Some of the pics are broken now (I see I’ve found the blot a bit late…) but I loved reading this period pamphlet.

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