Shopping for 30’s Suit Patterns with a “Make Do and Mend” Surprise

I bought a jacket pattern.  Three, actually.  As much as I adore Robin’s jacket, I know my drafting skills aren’t quite up to scratch.  I just want to sew, not fink around with drafting gorgeously complicated lines and angles.

When I shop, I set out with a clear idea of what I want.  (Have you read Zoe’s timely post on shopping and consumption?)

I wanted a 1930’s suit jacket, smart and pert with clean lines.  The 30’s can be challenging to a modern eye, even if I like it.  Example:

I know I’m not the woman to pull that off, though it appeals to me.

Eventually, I discovered this treasure at LanetzLiving (20% sale on too, which cinched it):

Oh!  Oh!  OH!  I will make every one of these pieces, I have the perfect fabrics for each!  That blouse!  So 30’s, but I could so easily make it in a plain smooth batiste in one of “my colors” and it would work very well.  Note the jacket is neither double nor single breasted- what do you call that?  Finally, while the skirt looks relatively nondescript, I’d be willing to bet it’s one of those perfectly useful 30’s skirt patterns.

This was an impulse buy, albeit a long-considered one.  The past two winters, I wanted a tailored cape-jacket.  I’m one step closer.  This is my favorite cape-jacket in two years of looking.

(Stitches and Loops, great customer service)

After my pleasant experience with a 1940’s Advance suit pattern, I’m thrilled to add this to the queue.  Look at those long, slim lapels- and the same closure as the late 30’s pattern.  But wait, there’s more to this pattern:

I found (and printed) a leaflet from the war years called “You Have the Goods on Him,” all about making a woman’s suit from a man’s with conceptual advice and cutting layouts.  Like Zoe, I shop as a “hunter gatherer,” so now I’m on the hunt for a great big wool gabardine man’s jacket!  When I find a good one, I’ll be sure to share the “make do and mend” experience.  I wonder what color it will be?

Do you like the 30’s, or have any experience sewing from the era?  Do you know what those front closures are called?  Who are your favorite online pattern sources?

While I was finding patterns, I discovered this amazing page on the social history behind 30’s fashion.


  1. ohhh..I saw that pattern on Lanetz Living! So glad you snagged it!!! And what a find to get the Advance pattern…I’ve been dying to make a woman’s suit from a man’s suit for quite some time! Can’t wait to see what kind of man’s suit you find!!!

    • :) I love it that we live so very far away from one another but shop in the same places…

      I *MIGHT* have one that belongs to my husband but I don’t allow him to wear because the fit is offensive. Or maybe I got rid of it. At any rate, I know the op shops here are FULL of old men’s suit jackets.

  2. Thanks for the link to the 30’s fashion explanation. There were some beautiful garments featured. I really love 30’s style but I definitely don’t have the skills to sew from an extant pattern (not yet anyway!).

    Do you feel like today’s patterns are at all picking up on the 30’s clean lines, etc. in view of the economic difficulties? Or do you think current taste is too far from that style for it to be really influential?

    • What an interesting question. I honestly don’t know, I don’t pay much attention to modern patterns… Too many years of boring, lackluster releases so I gave up. I really don’t know what fashion is doing, either, because when I start following “trends” it crowds my thoughts with all the negativity that goes along with “fashion” so I stay out….

      The only general thing I’ve noticed is a shift to “classic” pieces to build your wardrobe, pieces you wouldn’t necessarily chuck out the next season, which is a little bit old fashioned and kind of cool.

      I just make what I like and what suits me. :)

  3. I love that suit pattern, I bought one on ebay or etsy a couple of years ago. You’ve made me want to go dig it up and see what other treasures I have lurking about! I do love the 30s…

  4. Lovely patterns! I love the 30s fashions probably more than later decades, especially the earlier 30s… the narrow, long lines and sometimes angular art deco-y details. They look more “artsy” to me. But they are getting very hard to find; whenever I see one I love it’s inevitably sold out. I’ve seen a few contemporary patterns refer to that closure as an “edge to edge front” but I wonder if there’s another name?

  5. The blue suit on the first pattern picture is just lovely, but then again I adore pretty much anything 30’s and Art Deco in style. Just so elegant and sophisticated. Not really like me but I can dream!!! Lol. X

  6. I LOVE the pattern you bought, but I would totally make, and wear the first one! Sometimes it’s nice to go all out historical ;-) OK, maybe without the ruffle!

    I’ve been there, done that with the making things from old suits, and I can’t say I’d ever try it again. I feel like it’s one of those ideas they wrote about it magazines all the time but few people did because it never worked out properly, but hopefully you will prove me wrong!

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