1930s Sew-along with Norma: Sources for fabric ideas

The fabric swatches previously ordered for the 1930s Sew-along  are all pretty in their own way.  But I’ve yet to find just the right one.  The challis swatches are the right weight but their prints are too busy.  This would cause the details of the dress to get lost.  The pink crepe I had selected would be perfect for a lightweight suit but not a dress.

I plan to study vintage pattern envelope scans for styles similar to the one I’m working on.  The fabric selections given there will be of great help.  Advertisements from vintage magazines and newspapers also offer resources since many ads describe the fabrics used to create the fashions.  It’s true that some of these fabrics are no longer available but I think research on the internet can help one find equivalents.  Fabrics like rayon, silk, linen are still used today.  I think even a blend of synthetic and these fibers would work well.

I’m finding the main challenge to be whether or not to go with a print.  This is where advertisements from period publications are a big help.  Sometimes pattern envelope illustrations only show solid colors for a garment because the purpose of the illustration is to show the garment details.

Here is the advertisement from the  May 2, 1938 Chicago Tribune that got me to thinking along these lines.  How do you shop for fabric when making a vintage or vintage inspired style?  Please share your stories and any guidelines.

Sheer Femininity-Advertisement for Fashions at Carson Pirie Scott & Co.
May 2, 1938




Note:  I find the names of two colors rather odd.  Perhaps “copen” means Copenhagen blue?  Could “luggage” be a shade of brown?


Chicago Tribune
May 2, 1938
Page 9



6 thoughts on “1930s Sew-along with Norma: Sources for fabric ideas

  1. Very strange colour names! Luggage must be brown – I’ve searched for Copen as I’m sure you did & all I find is a small car….
    I love linen & it’s what I pick where I can but my reading of that 1930s fashion book suggests that I should be worrying about the creasing & getting a blend. I am much too in love with linen to follow that but I hope you find it useful?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Every little bit of info is helpful. If you love linen then go for it! Everyone knows it gets wrinkled but today the point of view is different. I think people accept that. In past decades matters of appearance tended to be so fussy. A wrinkled skirt on a hot and humid day would still be considered a sign of an untidy person. But really, that’s what happens! You use what is best for the style and what you like.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.