1930s Sew-along with Norma: Yes, there were pinking shears in the 1930s!


Hello everyone.  I’m catching up on expense reports this weekend so I won’t have time to post photos of my progress on the dress for the 1930s Sew-along with Norma.  The bias binding is basted to the neckline and ready to be hand stitched into place.  It’s coming out beautifully.  Next week, I’ll photograph the same process as I use it for finishing the sleeve hem.  Rayon faille requires TLC but if one is patient the results are beautiful.

We had a few postings and comments where we discussed seam finishes when this project was in the early stages.  At that time I thought, as I always had, that pinking seams started in the 1950s.  I finally found documentation that proves pinking shears were in use in the mid-late 1930s.  I went to the website of J. Wiss and Sons while researching this topic and found some of their 1930s and 1940s product catalogs available for download.  I’ve posted links to the images used here so you can use this posting as a starting point to explore their site.

I have never seen pattern instruction sheets from the 1930s that mention pinking as a seam finish.  Perhaps because they were a very new item in the mid-late 1930s it took time for their use to catch on.  Anyway, I hope my discovery helps some sewistas in their quest to learn about appropriate vintage sewing techniques for their own creations.  I find pinking very good and intend to try it with hand overcasting in a future project.

J. Wiss and Sons Product Catalogs-Pages featuring Pinking Shears

Instruction sheets that came with Pinking Shears
One color circa 1934
Two color 1934


Wiss Gift Sets
Circa September 1939


Catalog page with pinking shears from 1943


4 thoughts on “1930s Sew-along with Norma: Yes, there were pinking shears in the 1930s!

  1. I had no idea pinking shears were around in the 1930s. That is very useful information. I understand how difficult it can be to get everything on to the blog. I’ll keep my eyes open for your post.

    I have struggled with photos of my makes but I should be there this week. If not I’m going to have to do a photo in the mirror.

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