In Sewing

Dressmaking in 1949

This collection of photos, simply titled “Fashion Pattern”, was taken by Nina Leen on July 7th in 1949. I love catching a glimpse of sewing from past decades, so I thought I should share these for fellow sewers who will also appreciate them. Wait until you see the inflatable dress form. Pretty funny!










 via Google LIFE archives

Have a great weekend!



  • I love anachronism. It’s one of the best idea in modern times.And I think, nothing beats the old times when it comes to dresses. 🙂
    Ed of

  • Edilberto Durano

    My wife loves vintage dresses and dressmaking. It is nostalgic in all its sweetness.
    Ed of

  • !!! I’m renovating my studio and was searching for additional body forms that would be easy to also take to craft fairs for displays and actually came across inflatable body forms on Amazon!

  • How fun! The inflatable is hilarious and they seem to have taken real pains to make her look as innocent and cute as possible. Haha!



  • How cool! I’ve used all the tools pictured except the blow-up dress form. Never even SEEN one of those. For the record – the pinking shears were ok but didn’t age well, the buttonholer usually put holes in the fabric due to the “teeth” on the underside of the front piece and the self-hemmer is fabulous. I think I still have one somewhere…thanks for posting this : )

  • sallieforrer

    Amazing! The inflatable dress form is hilarious – not very practical, eh? And those pinking shears look like a torture device!!! Eeee!!!

  • How neat! Somehow I think with our cat I’d hear a ‘pop’ from that inflatable dress at some point but the idea of it is pretty great. lol I love seeing glimpses of sewing through the years!

  • haha that inflatable dressform would last 2 seconds in my sewing room! Those pinking shears look pretty cool. Wonder how well they worked….

  • Brigid

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this, Rochelle! These are so cool!

  • Really cool photos! I love old sewing tools. Now I really want to find a pair of pinking shears like those and the hem marker.

  • How cool! What fun photos!

  • Oh I love these, thanks so much for sharing! An inflatable dress form would save so much space, but what if you poked it with a pin??

  • I could do with that blow-up dress form and the pinking shears! lovely images and the dress is gorgeous too! Thanks for sharing

  • That’s so great! Haha, I kind of wish they still had inflatable dress forms, it would be much cheaper!

  • redpointtailor

    Wow! Great! They were very handy and innovative then…. And what a garments they created!

  • Debi_myhappysewingplace

    Love the pinking sheers!! Great photos!

  • This is awesome!

  • Sanne – Roses on Toast

    Awesome! I love those photos with the pattern pieces and all the tools. In fact, Those would look great on my wall.

  • Still use that button holer. I have 3. Awesome awesome.

  • Jessica Cangiano

    These images are engagingly wonderful. Nina Leen is one of my favourite fashion and Life magazine photographers of all time, I’ve never seen a shot from her I didn’t adore.

    ♥ Jessica

  • Rachel Proffitt

    LOL Love that dress form!