March 23, 2016


If you follow me on Facebook, you may already have seen my latest vintage pattern purchase: A whole stack of Bella magazines! 

All 24 issues from 1952 and about 15 each from 1951 and 1953, to be precise. I haven't bought any new-to-me patterns in a while but I just happened to check my local auction site in an empty moment and this lot was just too good to let go. Bella is a great sewing magazine because it came with all the patterns, instead of just a few, like Marion. 

Of course, I intend to sew from these magazines, and maybe to try and share some of the "draft according to instructions" projects here. For now though, I am just looking at the pretty pictures and I thought you might like to join in. So, today we have Bella magazine March II 1952: 

This is actually the cover from March I. I just added it because it is so very elegant.

This is the cover from March II. Normally, the illustrations in Bella, both for the cover and inside the magazine, are quite pretty but this one turned out rather unflattering.

The "draft from instructions" project is this time a stylish dress for bust 104 cm. And as usual, there are four different views with the instructions on how to make them from that same pattern.

The next page is titled "Mother's eldest". So: Teenage fashion. In Bella, that can mean either children's sizing (expressed in ages, which can go up to 16) or small women's sizes (which normally start at bust 88 cm but in these teenage features can go as low as 80). Obviously, these two sizing methods have a big overlap but it is not easy to figure out how much because there are no sizing tables included. 
Size-wise, I am actually at the bottom end of the women's sizing table and at the top of the teenage size range. As a result, in some magazines the only patterns in my size are those designed for girls half my age... 
Early 1950's teenage fashion isn't hugely different from the styles made for adult women. Usually just nothing too fussy or formal (which is a shame for me because I am quite a fan of 1950's fancy, formal and fashion-forward)

Then, there are popular dress styles for adults (which are not very different in style to the teenage dresses)

And little girl's stuff: Dresses decorated with smock-work.

Sleek suits and wide short coats.

I do not usually take pictures of the content which is not about sewing but this is quite interesting: Bella's spring contest! They showed these separate bodies and hatted heads in several magazines in a row and readers had to match them correctly. They show styles from 1900 up to the 1950's. Can you imagine a modern-day sewing magazine running a contest which involves fashion history?
And the grand prize? An electric sewing machine! 

And then patterns for the man in one's life! Bella doesn't always include menswear but more often than many other magazines. 
The exact distribution of space in the magazine between men, boys, girls, teenagers and women of various ages and sizes varies from one issue to the other.

And this time, the girls are lucky: Even more dresses for them. Although I guess these are between the earlier little girl stuff and the teenage dresses in size. 


  1. Wow, what a bundle - Fabulous for illustrations and inspiration alone, but patterns too!

  2. What a great find. I particularly like the March II dress and jacket from instructions and I can see why those are the most popular dress styles.
    Thank you for sharing. I'm looking forward to more.

  3. Oh what a great haul!! All those patterns, and the fun content in the magazines are awesome. Thank you for sharing!

    Carla, Tiny Angry Crafts