1930s Sew-along with Norma: More fashions from Pre-Code Films

This posting is part of the 1930s Sew-along with Norma.  Pre-code movies continue to offer many details for study and inspiration.


Here in Brooklyn we had sudden gusts of wind and rapidly darkening skies about 6 p.m.  I hurried home from shopping and settled in for the night by watching more Pre-Code movies.  It hasn’t rained but it’s very quiet in my neighborhood considering it’s a weekend.  The stillness makes it possible to concentrate and pay attention to the details of a film even when the plot is so-so.

“The King Murder” is a little hard to get into during the first 10 minutes but it’s worth watching.  The dress worn by actress Dorothy Revier is very eye-catching in a most feminine way.  The dress has the prettiest sleeves I’ve seen in some time.  Dorothy plays the part of Miriam King, a high flying con artist who entices wealthy men into relationships and then threatens breach of promise law suits when they refuse to marry her.  Miriam loves none of her suitors, she just wants the blackmail payment in cash or jewels in order to stay quiet.  Her boyfriends and the women in their lives all come up as suspects after Miriam is found dead one night in the bedroom of her luxury apartment.

But back to Miriams dress.  In the first minutes of the film we see Miriam going up to her apartment with one of her lovers.  It looks like she’s wearing a skirt with a cape over it.  As the scene in the apartment progresses you’ll see that she is not wearing a skirt and cape, but a cleverly designed dress.  The sleeves look like a cape until she moves her arms.  Then we see that the sleeve consists of two parts.  A white sleeve underneath that looks like the sleeves of a blouse.  Over this is a loose, curved sleeve that is not sewed at the underarm seam.  The effect of a blouse is continued with the white bow and white fabric under the neckline of the dress.  What makes this style so interesting is that the entire dress looks like a knit because the fit is so slinky.

Miriam’s neighbor is Pearl Hope played by actress Marceline Day.  Day has such a slender figure that she looks like a 1930s fashion illustration come to life.  I have never seen an actress with such a flat abdomen during the time before high protein diets, diet supplements and high impact exercises like aerobics.  Day wears two outfits I especially liked.  One was a two piece consisting of a long bias cut plaid skirt topped with a belted sweater that had a flat collar in the same plaid fabric.  Towards the end of the movie she wore a long, slinky dress that had a lace bodice and sleeves.  The dress was a close fit.  Could it have been a knit?  There wasn’t any indication of a bulge or a placket.

Or were the fabrics used to construct dresses like this very lightweight?  Any ideas?  I’d be interested in learning what you think.  The movie isn’t the best detective movie but it does pass the time nicely plus the interior shots of the luxury apartments are a little bit of eye candy.  I’ve embedded the YouTube video at the end of the posting.

I think my favorite line from the movie is when Miriam King tells her boyfriend Van, “Hey I’m no ga-ga!” meaning she’s no baby.

Screen Shots from “The King Murder









“The King Murder” 1932 Movie from YouTube




4 thoughts on “1930s Sew-along with Norma: More fashions from Pre-Code Films

  1. These pre-code movies are definitely addictive. I’ve spent a lot of time following your links…..
    I love the picture you painted of a stormy evening – I almost thought I was there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for liking my posting and the movies. I was worried I wouldn’t make it home. We had more of the same this afternoon. Since I’m six blocks from the shore such changes in the sky and the wind are very dramatic.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi EmilyAnn,
    On a slightly different subject, Cate put an Etsy link in the comments on my blog & I think you would enjoy it. So many 1930s patterns & I want to make them all I think.
    Norma x

    Liked by 1 person

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