1930’s Fashion Inspiration

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a good weekend, I mostly worked which isn’t unusual. Today I’ll be talking about the 1930’s and fashion inspiration because I haven’t gotten to sew much this past week. I’ve run into a couple of problems which I’ll talk about later, and I’ve been working on my Christmas cards! Once they are sent out I’ll post all of my pictures, they are turning out quite well. On to the fashion!

When it comes to the 1930’s, I adore the line details. Yokes seem to be fancily put together to create visual lines and I can’t get enough of this. It’s so subtle yet incredible.  This decade also brings to mind wide leg pants, billowing shirts, and really chic suits. Of course this is also a very sad era as the Great Depression and happenings in Germany (later resulting in WWII) were a central focus for millions of people. While doing some (really not so great) research I actually came across this page from PBS, the American Public Broadcasting Service, known for their educational programs. It’s about world events in the 30’s, including scientific discoveries, celebrity happenings, and of course, politics. This was the decade that saw the radio become popular apparently, so it had an incredible impact on the average family. If they had a radio they could tune in to the news at any time and considering how we are almost overly saturated with “news” today it’s quite mind boggling to think about how at some point most people didn’t hear about anything “important” until they turned on their radio. I put news and important in quotes because I’m sure many of you will agree that what is considered news now is not always really news or is important. It’s also so highly editorialized that you can’t take anything any network says for the full truth and that’s just plain sad.

ANYWAY. Getting off topic there, let’s get back to the fashion!

I do have an issue with the 30’s in that a lot of the fashion was made for someone that is a lot taller than me. At 5 feet 2 inches (1.58 ish meters, did I do that right?) I have issues with the wide leg pants as they tend to look almost clownish on me or I definitely look very 70’s rather than 30’s. So to get some of these great 30’s looks I’ll just have to play around with shape and fiddle with the width to get one that fits the era yet doesn’t make me feel like I’m drowning in fabric. I’m sure I’ll find some patterns to work with but here are some pictures I’m going to use for inspiration and of course always check out my Pinterest board for more.

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I really love the lines in the skirts, and the necklines are all really fantastic. I love the sleeves as well on all of these. From fashion-era.com.

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More fantastic sleeves and I love the pleat and button details on the skirts. Also from fashion-era.com.

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What I love about these outfits is that they wouldn’t look out of place in an office today. Again, great design lines on that skirt, McCall’s even has a similar pattern that I’ll put below for reference.

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This is McCalls’ M6993. They actually have a few 30’s inspired patterns and I want them all!

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I think this shirt, McCall’s M7053, is amazing as well. They even have it paired with the skirt to show you how well it works!

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This is a great day dress that has some fun design lines. Those diagonals! McCall’s M7153 isn’t the only dress but it is the most casual.

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Some lovely accessories! This image is from retrowaste.com, who I’ve mentioned before. I love how interesting these capeletts are and love that they are fur! Fake fur is really popular now so thankfully it’s easy to get in a fabric store now. Even Joann has a good selection, which is rare for them.

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Again with the amazing sleeves! I also love the hats, they are so simple yet so elegant. Also from retrowaste.com.

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The striped dress is amazing. The look is oddly modern, and I really adore the collar on it. The other outfits are nice but this striped number really stands out. Also from retrowaste.com.

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It’s a small image but you can still see the great details, especially the interesting bodices and necklines. From VintageDress.

What I really love about 30’s fashion is that you can really make it wearable now. The wide pants, billowy sleeves, and sleek skirts are all easily worn today and nothing stands out as overly vintage. The 1/4 circle skirt I feel is quintessential to the 30’s look. So I think that a 1/4 circle skirt in a few colors/patterns, with a few of those M7053 shirts, and some trousers, you can easily have a fashionable 30’s wardrobe. The key is making sure there are geometric lines and yokes on your trousers and skirts, and to keep things long and sleek. This was a very feminine era and so you can never be too girly when shopping for your fabrics. A nice chiffon would do well, as well as silky rayons. It’s not really common to wear tights anymore but that would certainly add authenticity! Perhaps you could wear patterned tights in fun colors to make things more modern looking.

One last fun fact before I wrap things up here…The zipper was made popular by Schiaparelli in 1933! I find that fascinating because now either everything is knit so we don’t worry about closures or it’s done up with a zip. Buttons are only common for shirts and those are mostly seen as work shirts anyway, at least where I come from. My hometown of Tucson is not very fashionable, to put it mildly. It’s too hot to care about fashion there! The 30’s definitely makes me want to use buttons more for skirts and trousers so I’ll have to start working on that. I already have a couple of the McCall’s patterns mentioned but I’ll be getting the others soon enough.

I already gave credit of my sources, but please be sure to look at the sites where I got my information as well!

thepeoplehistory.com has a ton of information about history in general

vintagedancer.com of course has great articles on the 30’s

history.com doesn’t have any fashion specific information but it’s always good to know about history in general

livinghistoryfarm.org has more farming related information but gives great insight into rural living and the average American experience, as well as world events

I’ve already mentioned PBS but they are a really great site and service


Sorry again about not being consistent with posting, I’m already writing my next post about my need for an ironing board.

What’s an era you really love that you think I should sew up? Let me know in the comments and thanks again for reading!


Until next time,

— Bethany Out


1920’s Inspiration & Possible Projects

When it comes to sewing, the 1950’s tend to steal the spotlight in terms of vintage inspired fashions. Fit and flare dresses are incredibly popular and for good reason! They are flattering for all figures and depending on the bodice are pretty easy sews. A couple of darts, a nice full circle skirt and BAM you’ve got a nice dress. Some fancy pleating on the bodice might trip you up a bit but otherwise they tend to be straight forward. Speaking of straight forward, 60’s and 70’s trends are also popular right now. Boxy tops and coats, a-line skirts and dresses, those are all very much in style right now as well. It’s a great time to be a home sewer because there are some really great patterns out there for vintage and modern looks alike.


A previous skirt I’ve made, very typical look for me. Circle skirt, fitted shirt, it’s such an easy and classic look.

What I’m really obsessing over right now though are the 20’s and 30’s (the 30’s will have their own inspo post)! These tend to be underrepresented but I’m not really surprised. Drop waists are very unusual to see these days and while they may be coming back they are definitely being paired with more modern styles, like fitted waists and hips. This is probably because the willowy figure of the 20’s is hard to achieve. If you have curves of any kind or are petite you’ll probably feel just a tad awkward wearing these styles. And yes, I remember the craze for 20’s fashion when The Great Gatsby came out, but that seemed to die down pretty quickly. Downton Abbey created another slight craze but again it didn’t really stick. The Flapper look has been relegated back to costume parties or those of us that don’t mind looking less than modern.

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Robe de Style is an easier look to pull off I think, it’s the Garconne Silhouette that is more difficult and iconic. Photo from Glamourdaze.

There are a few patterns out there that are inspired by these decades, but they are few and far between or have been heavily modernized (NOT including Decades of Style, which is a fantastic site but again a bit limited) I’m working on one now, which is why I’m writing this post. Simplicity S1103 has a dropped waist but also has a very fitted bodice through the hips, with a cutout detail on view B, which is the one I’m working on. It’s a very cute pattern and I’m glad this is my first time working with a drop waist. I’m a bit curvier with my measurements being 34″, 24″, 36″ approximately (give or take a half inch) at only 5’2.5″. So not only are my hips much larger than my waist I’m also petite! Needless to say fitting patterns is a pain on a good day, let alone for very fitted patterns. It’s why I usually stick with the fit and flare styles, it’s just easier for me all around and looks good.


My current project. I joke with my boyfriend that he loves this dress I’m making because he’s a fan of tennis and it seems like something a tennis player would wear.

I’m not quite finished with this dress (ok, I’m like no where close, I still have to sew the pleats/gathers into the skirt, sew the bodice to the skirt, attach interfacing to the yoke, sew the yoke on, sew the lining on, the zipper, the hem, like everything guys) but I’m obsessing over the potential. I’m hoping that it’s flattering enough and it should be with the fitted bodice but I’d like to sew up some truly 20’s and 30’s fashion so I’ve been looking at what’s available in RTW, patterns, and in historical fashion plates for inspiration for future projects. Here’s what I’ve found, let me know if you have anything that should be added or if you know of a good pattern or few! Please keep in mind I am not a historian, not an expert, and these are just images I find inspiring and just all around beautiful.


What do I look for for 20’s inspiration? Mostly the dropped waist and loosely fitted bodices. I do like sleeveless and looking for coat inspo was fun too! I’m also a fan of anything art deco or nouveau, so styles inspired in that regard were looked for too. I noticed a lot of hip embellishments, like pleating or bows, as well as wrap fronts with deep necklines. Lots of skirt pleats seem common as well as layers, and of course lots of shiny accents! You’ll see mostly dresses here and honestly that should not be a surprise!

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More casually styled from Modcloth.

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Thanks again Modcloth!


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McCall’s Pattern for a 20’s coat, pretty cute.

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A dress from Vogue Patterns.

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Those hip details! Again, from Glamourdaze.

Miss Fisher

And I couldn’t finish off without mentioning the amazing Miss Fisher. Even Buzzfeed has this right.


I’m loving the sleeves on these dresses, as well as the layers. From Vintage Dancer.



Those pleats and ruffles! Very chic. From Vintage Dancer again.

These are just some images…there are so many! So if you’d like to see more, I now have a Pinterest board for 20’s and 30’s inspiration, including patterns and accessories. I’d also like to just put some links here for some sites I found that have great resources:

Vintage Dancer




Vintage Pattern Selector – this is a book with many vintage patterns, including a 20’s flapper dress, 30’s trousers, and many others! I really love this book and there is a lot of added information about styles in those decades (from the 20’s to the 70’s).

And I also follow some people on Instagram that wear vintage inspired (or straight vintage) clothes and accessories, check them out:

Royal Vintage Shoes – American Duchess is on Instagram!

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She is always wearing amazing wide legged trousers!

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The accessories are always gorgeous as well, her shoes are fantastic.

Rouge Your Knees – Isabella is a fantastic dresser and she’s always looking so amazing in her vintage wear.

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She’s got some really adorable hats and accessories.

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Always stunning!

Miss L-Fire – This is a shop Instagram, but they sell vintage inspired shoes and boy do they look amazing.

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Eeep! So adorable, from their shop.

The Art of Dress – Cassidy posts a lot of fashion plates, from various decades and they are really great points of inspiration.

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Not the 20’s, but you can see how things are starting to change to get that look.

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She also has a blog where she talks in depth about fashion history!

That’s it for today, please share any sites you know of or any Instagram accounts you enjoy following. Do you love 20’s fashion as well? How do you wear it? Let’s chat!


Until next time,

—Bethany Out