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Women’s Wear of the 1930s


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womens wear of the 1930s

I want to introduce you to one of the most amazing sewing books I own, Women’s Wear of the 1930’s by Ruth S. Countryman and Elizabeth Weis Hopper.

The late 1930s and early 1940s is, by far, my favorite era of fashion. I love the soft femininity of the 30s and the simplicity and sleekness of the 40s. So this book of complete patterns taken from real garments from the 30s is just a treat. The authors not only supply complete patterns for a huge variety of vintage garments, but describe in detail the fabric and colors of each garment.

The downsides are that the patterns are at a 1/8 scale and must be enlarged and there are no sewing instructions to speak of, which makes it pretty impractical for most home sewers. It’s really a book geared toward costumers. But with a little experience and time, these beautiful garments can be brought to life.

I had a really hard time deciding which garment sketches to post, so here are many:


I have this fantasy about sewing an incredible wardrobe of beautiful silk loungewear. What could possibly be more luxurious than that? When I get around to fulfilling this fantasy, these silk pajamas are on the list.



I could really use a pair of beautiful overalls like one of these.

silk lounging suit

This lounging suit is described as being made in ecru silk. Wow!

dress with mandarin collar

two dresses

ruffle dress


And this suit is the reason I bought the book. As soon as I saw that jacket, I wanted it so much I really had no choice.

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 6


I NEED those overalls! And those dresses are fabulous.

Melissa A.

I just found your patterns and blog via another blog and your beautiful patterns books caught my eye. I did a little post about you on my blog today. I want to make your pretty little parfait dress. I love your work.


oh my goodness. all those dresses are stunning. i love the jumpers. and i’d love to see that jacket made up. do it!


Amanda, I know, the overalls are amazing.

Melissa, thanks so much, I truly appreciate it!

Tara, I reeeeally want to make that jacket, with some faux curly lamb trim. But I’m actually designing a little wrap jacket for the fall, so that will have to come first!


P 160 looks like Colette material…

Miss Jess

Wow, what an amazing book! Thank you SO much for posting this, I’m off to buy a copy right now. I had no idea this existed, I’m so excited that they include the patterns… pretty amazing.

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