Sew For Victory – some links to get started!

February 5, 2013

WOW! I’m absolutely over the moon with how many of you are interested in 40’s sewing! This is going to be such a fun sew along! Make sure you’re introducing yourselves in the Flickr group so I can get to know who you are, and follow your blog to keep up with your progress 🙂

Many of you already have a good handle on some ideas and direction for your project, but if you need some helpful hints or inspiration, here are a few links to get your creative juices flowing!


My absolute favorite reference that I’ve found online so far is this 1943 Bellas Hess mail order catalog made available by Sense & Sensibility Patterns. This original 116 page catalog can be downloaded as a PDF, and although it’s not free (it costs $3.95) it is worth so much more than four dollars! I am not affiliated with this company, I just truly and honestly LOVE this download as a resource. It’s been invaluable to me when it comes to fabric and dress inspiration! Highly Recommended.


The next resource I have for you is this awesome 40’s fabric inspiration originally from a vintage Sears catalog, and posted on The Sew Weekly. This post does a great job of showing fabric styles from the beginning through the end of the decade. Here is just one of the many catalog pages shared: Bookmark this link!


Keep in mind when shopping for fabrics that many natural fibers, as well as nylon, were either rationed, harder to come by, or more expensive due to the war. Because of this, rayon became the fabric of the decade! Unfortunately, modern rayons (at least the ones I’ve seen) rarely come in true vintage inspired prints. So with that said, cotton is your friend! Modern quilt designers, like Denyse Schmidt, do 40’s and depression era inspired prints VERY well!

As far as sewing patterns go, the easiest place to start would be with the “Big 4” pattern companies that you’ll find at places like Joann Fabrics.


You might be surprised to find how many 40’s repro patterns are available from Simplicity, Butterick, and Vogue!

There are also many independent pattern companies who specialize in vintage pattern reproduction, or vintage inspired patterns!

Check out companies like:

Decades of Style


Reconstructing History

Sense and Sensibility

Wearing History

 There are also countless online shops, like Blue Gardina, that carry actual vintage patterns from the 40’s. The only down side to real vintage patterns is they don’t always have your size, or all the pattern pieces and instructions included. Don’t let that deter you though if you really would love to sew a true vintage pattern.

Hopefully this is enough to get you started! As we get deeper in to this sewing challenge, I’ll be posting more in depth resources on fabrics, tips for vintage patterns, vintage sewing and finishing techniques, and other things like that.

Don’t think that you HAVE to get ridiculously authentic with your own personal project if that’s too overwhelming to attempt, but it’s always fun to have the knowledge of how things were made back then. At least it is for me! I love the research aspect of vintage sewing 🙂

Stay tuned for some more “real life” inspirational photos coming up next!