April 4, 2014

Ciao Bella!

Are you tired of vintage magazines yet? I really hope you are not because I've got many more to show and talk about.
Today, I've returned to my first love: 1950's fashion. And this is a publication I think I've talked about on the blog before. But I haven't shown you any examples yet. Oh, no I have shown another issue before.

Like Marion, Bella was a Dutch sewing magazine. They helpfully numbered their years, so I can tell you that it was first published in 1902, probably under the title the New Fashion Magazine. I don't know when publication stopped but it was still going strong in the 1950's but (unlike Marion) didn't last until a time I can remember.
Bella differs from Marion in more ways. Some, I will show you. Other than those, a full size magazine, not the half size of Marion and, most importantly, it included patterns for all the featured designs... Just in one size, you still had to order other sizes but if you have an issue of Bella with pattern sheets, you should be able to trace any design in the magazine.

I'm sticking to the printing order with what I show you and this issue, the second one for March 1954, starts with children's clothes.

Then, there is an introduction, and then a knitting pattern (which is a difference, most sewing magazines from the same time don't include other crafts). This one is for the 'good-looking grandmother'.

Then, we start with designs for ladies' sewing: Coats for spring. Long and short, wide and fitted.

More children's stuff. Knitting and sewing.

And then ladies' dresses. Really lovely ones.

This is another children's pattern but one with a difference. This is a recurring feature in 1950's Bella: the 'many ways' pattern. This pattern is given as a scale picture with an explanation to make it up in various different versions and looks. This is most often done with women's patterns but in this case with a little girl's dress with raglan sleeves and a gathered skirt.

And then there's a crochet pattern for a camisole with a frilly collar.

Glorious suits.

And a wide and wonderful collection of daywear.

And then, there are hats. You could order a choice of four hat frames from the magazine and decorate them according to instructions. I wish I could still get those.

This dress is also shown in two ways. Although the dress looks like a lovely, stylish basic, I'm not very impressed with the difference in these looks. But I love that we photographs, rather then drawings.

This is also a regular feature: big man, little man. Patterns for men and boys! I don't have to tell you how unusual that is. In this case the man only gets a shirt and pajamas but there is an actual suit for boys.

And I thought you might like to see the pattern sheet. All one colour and fairly dense. I have yet to try one out but I hope these will be like Marion and not like Gracieuse. 

And then, you get a bit of a sewing lesson.

And an article about fashion. Which, in this case, is about new hats for spring.

And more lovely dresses with instructions for the lace and applique work on the opposite page.

And a lovely photograph on the back cover. It took me a while to figure it out but the front and back cover tend not to show designs with patterns. Rather, they are referred to in the introduction or fashion article.
I don't know what this is but it's still a very nice suit.

I really think I should try a Bella pattern for my vintage pattern challenge. Even though I have a lot of choice for 1950's sources (maybe I should just cheat and use more of those...)


  1. You can still get hat frames from this vendor: http://hatsupply.com/Sinamay.htm

  2. oh wow! glorious indeed-

  3. Wonderful! I am really attracted to the blouse on the front cover; I love those full sleeves.

  4. I love vintage and I always rush to your site to see the latest showings. And the hats... how beautiful.. Women don't wear them anymore and it is a shame, in the 40's and 50's your outfit was not complete without a stylish hat. Keep posting!

  5. Such beautiful clothes. Jeans and t-shirts may be more practical but they are not a patch on some of those lovely dresses in the glamour department.

  6. I love these -- so gorgeous! Thank you for sharing.