It’s all in the details

I have received my 1951/1952 sewing magazines, and I am completely overwhelmed by the possibilities… I am feeling like that donkey standing between two heaps of hay: he starved because he could not decide where to start eating. Poor donkey!

So I am in danger of not making any use of these patterns because I can’t decide where to start! 😮


I therefore decided to start small: with details and accessories. They are everywhere – bras, knickers, slips, aprons, cuffs, collars, embroidery, tucks, waffles, ruffles, pleats, volants, corsages, hats, gloves, umbrellas, cars, kids and men… 😉 There is an article about them (cuffs and collars, not men), and there are some lovely patterns. And that’s where I begin.


It is actually a brilliant idea to have a separate delicate collar that could be removed, washed and reattached without washing the whole dress. We used to have such cuffs and collars back in school – I still remember sewing on a fresh set every weekend (I was not fussy enough to do it more often).

So, here are some of the collars from 1951.


The sleeves are wide or gathered, on the shoulder, lowered or capped, but mostly there are a lot of batwings and raglan.


The dresses are detailed, yet elegant and flattering. These collars and pleats have a slimming effect:


These are suggested “not just for the slim” and offered in large sizes:


That’s more pleats and fantastic collars!

And look what they suggest “for the expanding waistline”:


Does the “expanding waistline” mean pregnant? Those soft gathers and belts would certainly work and hide the belly too! Also useful for those of us who are not pregnant but still would like to hide a belly. 🙂

See that dress in the top right corner above? It has floating sides coming off the shoulder panels, like a waterfall cardi built-in. Very cool!

And here they suggest to use knitted panels to renew old dresses (but the patterns have the pieces for the whole dress, not just the panels):


And of course there are also lovely fitted knitting patterns!


And finally some advice on how to get your garments to fit:

“What’s the use to have the best dressmaker for this figure? Try Boxbergers Kissinger slimming tablets. Available from every pharmacy.”


8 thoughts on “It’s all in the details

    1. Actually, I already picked the fabric and the trims for it from my stash – it’s patterned Ponte Roma in teal, cream and light lemon, so it’ll be a soft flared dress rather than one with pleats. And it will have a contrasting collar in solid lemon colour. I’ve got several dresses with such design here! I’m itching to start! But I’ve got a slow project in work, and I promised myself to finish that first lest it turns from WIP into a UFO! It’s a silk summer coat with lots of detailing and embroidery, so also a fun thing to make. 🙂 The dress will have to wait until the coat is finished.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! I’ll post about it when it’s finished, I’ve been taking pictures. 🙂 I find that people were generally a lot more skilled at sewing in the past than they are today. I don’t mean the professionals of course, and not even the amateur dressmakers who really try to do their best, but I mean an average person. I hear sewing on buttons is equalled to rocket science among some… Did you know that in the whole of the UK there is only one college where they teach bespoke pattern cutting and tailoring? And there are only a few colleges where they teach any kind of sewing or textile work, and one of them is on restoration of medieval textiles! I wonder where the likes of Valentino or Chanel get their tailors? Not from the UK, I guess! (Really big designers still sell clothes too, the patterns are cut by hand and sewing techniques involve hand sewing for complex details. Not factory-produced.)


  1. It’s All In the Details: What a find! I hope you will share more sometime. That first collar is luscious.The ad at the end is forever true, Drat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I’ll be posting more as I digest them! It’s a lot to take in. I think I’ll be making that collar – it can go on so many things, both dresses and jackets, and it is actually quite simple. The butterfly is made of a shaped ribbon so it would tie that way. Very clever! I’m thinking of making a separate butterfly corsage so I could use it with different things.


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