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.

1920 inspo 1

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!

Royal Vintage 1

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.

Isabella 1

She’s got some really adorable hats and accessories.

Isabella 2

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

Reconciling My Sense of Style: What I Want vs What I Actually Wear


I was hoping to have my tweed skirt done by today but it looks like that isn’t going to really happen. Instead I’ll talk about having to deal with the fact that what I enjoy wearing and what I actually wear are usually very different styles. I’ll start with what I’d like to wear every day, if I could:

A basic break down: fitted tops, circle skirts that hit just above the knee, pencil skirts, blouses with bell sleeves, pinafores, cute heels or flats, a silhouette that frames an hourglass figure, basically a blend between 50’s and ‘romantic’ fashion that is decidedly feminine. I like printed fabrics, especially novelty and florals in most colors except for very bright hues, neons, metallics, and pastels. I’d really like to stop wearing jeans so often, or shorts, mostly because wearing a dress or skirt is easier in my experience. I also like the fact that dresses make me look nicer, even if it’s a simple beach dress.

Some inspiration pictures/patterns of what I would like to wear and fabrics I like (thank you ModCloth!):


Layered Cupcakes from ModCloth


Book Tour Belle from ModCloth


New Look 6187, love the long puffy sleeves.


New Look 6303, the long sleeves and cute keyhole neckline are what I like.


New Look 6208, I like cute back details like these, fun cut outs that don’t reveal anything crazy.


New Look 6184, pleated necklines are details I love with a passion.

kitty floral

I love this fabric from Fabric Depot. I am so excited I can go to the physical store, holy cow I’m excited.

This adorable puppy print from Joann Fabrics is cute, but not obnoxious.

This adorable puppy print from Joann Fabrics is cute, but not obnoxious.

I really wish I could dress in fabrics like this every day. Wear dresses every day, or cute skirts and blouses, be pretty. Instead what I actually wear are sports bras, workout shorts/pants, or jeans and a screen printed t-shirt. This is because I work from home for half of the day, and every day, I take my dog for a walk. A long walk, and if the weather is nice, I take him for a jog.  The other half of my work day is in an office but I have to walk there and it’s just over a mile away. So I’m constantly sweaty, gross, and sometimes shower twice a day just so I don’t accidentally drive my boyfriend away by smelling bad! I’m sure you guys have noticed that many of my w.i.p pictures feature workout clothes/tennis shoes.

What I’m hoping for is that in the near future, when I move to Portland, I’ll have a job in an office that’s close enough that I can take the amazing public transport they have there. In my current city, it’s so terrible it’d take me two hours to make the one mile I can walk in 15 minutes. There’s definitely a reason why I walk instead. Once I can wear nice things around I will, but thanks to the heat here and having to always be moving around (or cooped up at home) I’ll have to stick with being grubby for now. It’s definitely not what I’d like but considering I have no reason to wear nice things when I’m getting gross 24/7 I’m trying to remember that soon (SOON!) I’ll be living elsewhere, working elsewhere, and that I may have the dream wardrobe I’ve always wanted. I’m also taking this time to create this dream wardrobe from scratch, so there’s that as well.

How do all of you handle not dressing in the style you’d really like to? Is work a factor for you? Is there still a way you incorporate your dream style into your every day style if you can’t go all out? Please share in the comments or hit me up on my Instagram @costumesandfashionbybethany. I’d love to hear from you all!

Until next time!

—Bethany Out

3 Rules to Break when Sewing (especially clothes)

Happy Wednesday!

So for this week I wanted to talk about some “rules” I think are meant to be broken. Of course, there are some aspects of sewing that you should probably follow pretty closely unless you don’t mind having wonky results. I’ll post about those later. For today though I wanted to share 3 ‘rules’ I hear often and why I think they are essentially crap. I’ve heard about these rules mostly online, some were told to me directly and some I read about from various sources. I follow one blog where the poor girl gets nasty emails about how her ‘techniques’ are ‘all wrong.’ Terrible stuff really. So while ‘they’ in this case are elusive and anonymous, these are rules I’ve seen often enough that I want to write about why I dislike them. Tell me about rules you dislike (or break often) and why in the comments.

Even Hermione does it!

Even Hermione does it!

1) Don’t Use Quilting Cottons for Clothing

I’ve heard this rule quite often. I’ve been told that quilting cotton isn’t ever good to use for clothing and that is isn’t ‘good enough.’ I break this rule a lot for several reasons.

One is that quilting cotton is comfortable. If you wash it before working with it and get the treatment off that they use to make it ‘shiny’ you’ll notice it can be very soft against your skin.

Two, it comes in a lot of cute novelty prints. I’m not going to avoid using it when it’s just so darn cute.

This is a great example of a novelty print I adore and if I want to make a dress out of it you can be very well assured that it will happen.

This is a great example of a novelty print I adore and if I want to make a dress out of it you can be very well assured that it will happen.

Three, cotton fabric is hard to find in the apparel section that isn’t also made with synthetic fibers. I don’t want my entire wardrobe made with polyester, nylon or spandex and I like having more options available to me.

Four, clothes work out quite well in quilting cotton. Of course, like any piece of clothing you make, you want to choose the best fabric/print for the pattern but that doesn’t mean that quilting cotton would never work well.

Finally, despite being told otherwise, no I don’t think people can tell when I use quilting cotton and no I don’t think they care. Really? People know and/or care that I use quilting cotton to make clothes? Honey, no.

Case in point: this shirt is made from quilting cotton and I'll be damned if it didn't work out perfectly.

Case in point: this shirt is made from quilting cotton and I’ll be damned if it didn’t work out perfectly.

2) There are certain ways to create certain clothes

When making clothes, there are certain patterns or techniques we use to create certain shapes or effects. Pleats, darts, other similar techniques, are all used to fit tricky fabric to our body nicely. I’ve heard many times that I’m not supposed to deviate from these techniques and unless I’m an expert at creating patterns from scratch I shouldn’t attempt to do so.

This is crap. Total, utter, crap. Fitting clothes properly is such a tiresome area of sewing. It seems that getting the proper fit takes ages and that it’s almost impossible from a perfectionist standpoint. That being said, there are no ‘proper’ ways to do it. There are some techniques to use but how and when to use them is always up to the person sewing and no one else. This is something I’m trying to do more and more often, break away from the idea that if I don’t do things ‘by the book’ someone will care. Let’s be honest, no one does.

don't care

3) Certain Tools are Required to Properly Create

This is crap on multiple levels. Mostly because it is incredibly elitist. To think that certain tools are superior is unnecessary at best. For example, tracing patterns. Of course, you don’t have to trace your patterns but if you do there is no reason to use whatever paper you feel is best. Now I use Pellon tracing material and before that I used butcher paper. Both work great and I use the Pellon simply because I like it better. There is otherwise no difference between them or why I should use them. The same can be said for many other tools. Of course, sewing machines are different but even then you should find the tools that you are most comfortable with. If you like Gingher scissors, great, but you can also prefer Fiskars. I have both. Just experiment and do what you like best.

These might be really pretty...

These might be really pretty…

But these also work for pattern weights and are cheaper.

But these also work for pattern weights and are cheaper.

So what do you think? Are there any ‘rules’ you dislike or realized are not really necessary? Do you agree with my list so far? Let me know, and if you’d like updates every week sign up to get notifications straight to your email.

Until next time,

—Bethany Out

Sources of Inspiration Part 1

For this post I wanted to talk about inspiration and being inspired and this is such a huge topic that I’m splitting it up into several posts. There are many different places to draw inspiration from in the crafting world, from couture designers to other cultures to different time periods just to name a few of the many popular sources of craftspo (crafting inspiration!). I happen to feel inspired by just about anything I find beautiful and while I have preferences that really only extends to what I would wear myself in public on a daily basis. I don’t get out much anyway so even then I can stretch things a little. This post focuses on the House of Worth, Kimonos, and Capes!

House of Worth

This is probably the most drool worthy House in my book. Everything I’ve seen from this House is superb and divine. As of now they only sell perfumes but when the House was opened in France by Charles Frederick Worth in 1858 they created lovely pieces of fashion for many lucky ladies. Looking at the dresses made by Charles (he’s my favorite from this House) always make me feel as if I want to start stitching up corsets so I have a reason to create beautiful gowns like his. The details are always stunning and sometimes make my head hurt with how intricate they are. Here are a few of my favorite looks to show you just how awe-inspiring this House is, as not all of these looks are by Charles himself, and if you want to see more you can visit the Met Museum website!

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Worth, Charles

House of Worth, by Charles Worth, Silk and Cotton, 1890-1900

Worth, Slater

House of Worth, by J & J Slater, Silk, Rhinestones, Simulated Pearls, Metal, Wood, 1898-1900


Another huge influence for me is Kimonos. I love the fabric and colors and I’ve never seen a kimono that didn’t exude class and true beauty. Colors are important to me as well as printed fabric. I’m not a fan of more drab or dull clothing and kimonos are far from being either of those things, though there are many kinomos with more subdued and simple patterns that are just as lovely. I’ve always also been impressed by the women wearing them. The process to put a kimono on is lengthy and to me almost seems like a ritual in and of itself. The history of the garment as a fashion symbol is also fascinating, and interesting to know how the yukata eventually usurped the kimono for daily wear. I really want to get a few books to learn more about kimonos, how they are worn, and their symbolism in Asian culture. While the Japanese seem to be most known for kimono wear, the style originally began in China and became popular in Japan after being introduced to Chinese style and culture. Here are some kimonos I find especially beautiful, though these are all modern kimonos that show how striking the fabric can be. All of my pictures were found on Pinterest and so have varying sources so I’ll do my best to put the original creator if possible.


Kimono by Itchiku Kubota, Ohn (Fuji and Burning Clouds), 1994

Kimono 4

Kimono from the Edo Period, late 18th to early 19th century, Dyed Satin Damask, Silk, and Gold Thread, from the Met Museum Website: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/65607


I feel capes are fully overlooked and should really make a comeback. There’s something so romantic about them, so mysterious. They are elegant and just as useful as regular coats. A lot of the capes I like are older but there are some modern capes that are stunning. This is an accessory though that I actually like to be a bit more plain simply because they are an accessory. I prefer the main piece of clothing to be the main statement, and then have your accessories merely compliment the main piece. Of course, I like color blocking a lot, so I use shoes in a bright color to brighten up a more drab outfit. I don’t really wear jewelry though or use purses, so actual clothing is really all I have to work with anyway. Here are some capes I find especially appealing.

Cape 1

By Madame Gres, 1950’s (Madame Gres is another favorite designer)

Cape 2

By Vionnet, French, 1933

Cape 4

Worn by Fan Bing Bing to the Met Gala: China Through the Looking Glass

So these are just a few things that inspire me and that I adore, please share your own inspirations! I’ll do the second part of this series when I feel like it, next week should feature more progress of my Party Loch dress as well as some other skirts and things I’ve started working on. Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

—Bethany Out