1920’s sewing magazines

Today I’ll introduce you to three 1920’s issues of a French sewing magazine called  “Modes & Travaux Féminins”. It’s full of illustrations of 1920’s women and children clothes, so don’t worry about the language and enjoy the pictures !

I’ll start with a confession: when I was little girl and saw “Modes & Travaux” magazines at my grandmother’s I thought they were super cheesy. Since then I haven’t flipped through the magazine so I have no idea what its current style is. But when you get your hands on the very first issues of “Modes & Travaux Féminins” dating from 1919, it’s not cheesy anymore, it’s a great vintage fashion magazine and reliable source of inspiration for 20’s costumes.

You’ll see 20 pages I picked at the end of the post but you can also flip through the first three issues of  the magazine via the links below :

Source : BNF (National Library of France)/Gallica

# 1 – November 15th, 1919

# 2 – December 1st, 1919 

# 3 – December 15th, 1919

And as a bonus :

# 165 – November 1st, 1926

In the magazine

“Modes & Travaux” at the time was a sewing pattern catalogue. You could mail-order the sewing patterns. The embroidery patterns were included at the end of the magazines.

Each issue consisted of many models of women and children clothes (dresses, coats, hats, lingerie, …), each model is illustrated by a drawing and a caption detailing the style. You can find some examples in the pictures below (click to enlarge).

Women patterns were available in sizes 42-44 and 46. If I don’t talk nonsense (please correct me if I do!) at the time women sizes matched the half-bust measurement. So a size 46 would fit a woman with a bust measurement of 92 cm, Size 44 = bust size 88 cm, etc. Patterns for girls were offered in sizes 6 to 15 years old depending on the model.

There were also style analysis articles and advices on fashion in vogue at the time : cuts, fabrics how to compliment your “silhouette”. I find it particularly delicious to read.

Clic on the pictures to enlarge


Robes jeune-fille et enfant années 20

#1 - Child and young girls dresses 1919

Robes femme années 20

#1 - Women dresses 1919

Robes soirée années 20 vintage

#1 - Evening dresses 1919

Tenues fillettes hiver années 20 vintage

#2 - Girl winter outfits 1919

Manteaux années 20

#2 - Coats 1919

lingerie années 20

#2 - lingerie 1919

Robes soirées magazine vintage années 20

#2 - For theatre nights 1919

couture Robes d'apres-midi années 20

#2 - Afternoon dresses 1919

Tailleurs femme années 20 jupe et veste

#2 - Women suits 1919

robe enfant fille années 20

#3 - Children 1919

Lingerie vintage années 20

#3 - Lingerie 1919

couture Robe pour prendre le thé années 20

#3 - For tea ! 1919

Robes et manteaux pour fillettes années 20

#3 - Girls dresses and coats 1919

partons robes pour les diners années 20

#3 - for special dinners 1919

Manteaux années 20

#3 - Coats 1919

manteaux et robes enfants 1926

#165 - Coats and dresses for children 1926

lingerie vintage

#165 - Lingerie 1926

Manteaux vintage

#165 - Coats 1926

tenue de soirée années 20 vintage

#165 - Evening wear 1926


All pics source BNF/Gallica.

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