Vintage patterns

Three magazines from 1930s

I got my hands on some 1930s patterns, finally! Some sewing, some knitting and lots and lots of embroidery, plus the obligatory slimming and getting-rid-of-the-beard ads, plus a very special way of rejuvenating your hair!

The three magazines in question are: February 1936 “The Needlewoman”, UK; and November 1937 and March 1938 “Mode und Wäsche”, Germany.

Let’s look at them in chronological order.

February 1936 “The Needlewoman”

“The Needlewoman” has lots and lots of embroidery – hence the name. That Chinese dragon on the cover is included on a transfer, but for the other pieces there are designs and instructions, but you’d need to photocopy, enlarge and then somehow transfer that onto you material first.

I love this sampler, for example – “typically 1936”. 😊

Since Xerox machines had not been invented yet in 1936, you’d just pop in to your local Needlewoman shop to buy a transfer or a kit. Too bad I can’t do it today. 😒

But cheer up – there are also some knitting patterns! 😃

A jumper for “spectator-sporting” (learned a new word there!) and three frocks without patterns – pop in to your local Needlewoman shop… ah.

A crochet collar with instructions and a lovely runner to embroider. Click on the images to enlarge and you should be able to read the instructions!

And this sweater is why I bought this issue:

Remember Miss Lemon’s sweater appearing in the Vintage Dream Blog last October? Well, this one will be my version. Yes, I’m going to knit it! How could I not? It’s full of fashion points!

I skipped a few pages here so as to photograph the whole description – and now you can knit it too! 😁

And finally: rejuvenate you hair!

Vivatone – a radio-active hair restorer without any risks. Right.

November 1937 “Mode und Wäsche”

Mode und Wäsche (Fashion and lingerie) is a sewing magazine. It has patterns for women and children (and sometimes also for men), with a bit of embroidery and knitting, cooking and love stories. 🙂

Just look at those frocks! Go on, click it – enlarge and check out the details!

The middle dress on the left page is described as “suitable for older women” (huh?), the one to the right of her is marked as a “simple dress for office or home” (do you wear the same thing at home and at work?). Then on the right page the one in the middle – the striped dress – is not made of a striped material but instead of a crêpe-backed satin with alternating sides. That is, the stripes are all individual pattern pieces and you cut them alternating glossy satin side of the fabric with the matt crêpe side. It so happens that I have such material in my stash… three pieces of heavy silk – in chocolate brown, in burgundy and in papal purple… 3+m each… don’t ask. 😏 I feel a dress coming on… 😁

The dress to the left of the striped one is another candidate for making. It’s asymmetric – have a look at the seams in the skirt. I feel piping accents are in order.

Ah yes, health and safety anno 1937: “Knife, fork, scissors, light…” – Hansaplast! For those who are now confused, Hansaplast is a brand of plaster, or band-aid. “But in case of larger wounds do see a doctor.” Very wise.

Here is a general advertising page – you may see a few familiar brands, in particular if you are from Europe. But let me draw your attention to a small ad at the top: “Damenbart” – “Ladies’ Beard”. What?! Yes, well, this ad comes back in every issue – how to get rid of your annoying beard. Must have been a real problem! 😯

And then when I thought this was pretty much everything I could find in this magazine (plus the dresses on the cover, of course), I looked through the pattern sheets – more to make sure that I got the right ones than anything else. And there I found this:

Twenty five different sleeves to be used with any of the patterns!!!! 😆 They are all in a medium size, so they can all be quite easily graded to any other size. Wow! I am overwhelmed!

March 1938 “Mode und Wäsche”

This is a Spring issue, so we get more short-sleeved dresses than before. But that’s ok – I’ve got 25 sleeve options to choose from!

Here we learn the correct skirt length for the season:

Not too long and not too short, please – and also not like on the right page, that’s all wrong! Those skirts are too narrow, it seems. So now you know. 😉

Is it 1970s already? Just look at those lapels! And on the right page we are beamed right into 1990s – lapels without collars!

I made a few of those in my day…

And of course no elegant dress can avoid embroidery – so here are some hardanger stitches for you. It’s March, so let’s hope you’ll get it done by the Summer.

But so far there was nothing about slimming. So here it is!

“Only not to get too fat!” It’s a nightmare, I’m telling you! 😃

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8 thoughts on “Three magazines from 1930s

  1. Thanks for giving the translation of the magazine title. My decades old school-level German got me “Fashion”, and possibly something water-related from “Wasche” (without the umlaut) which then made no sense at all. I assume the addition of the umlaut changed the meaning but I couldn’t find any online help. A very enjoyable read, even though I couldn’t enlarge the images for some unknown reason.


    1. “Wäsche” literally means “laundry”, but also it means “underwear” – the clothes that are washed all the time. I thought that “lingerie” would sound better in a magazine title though. 😉 By the way, this word comes from French and means… laundry. 😀


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