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Beyers Wäscheheft; sewing vintage undergarments and pajamas for the whole family!

One of the ways that I satisfy my sewing craze when my limited time prevents actual sewing, is browsing/collecting/hoarding vintage sewing ephemera.

I've written before about Lutterloh, and once I realized how much I admired pre and post-war German sewing ephemera, I expanded my searches internationally-- which led me to fabulous sewing magazines. I'd heard of Burda before, but it wasn't until I browsed eBay that I realized the trend of sewing magazines began long ago-- why didn't this approach become popular in the US? It's so practical and conservative to issue a full magazine of patterns, allowing the user to trace the pieces once they are ready/interested.

Anyway, I recently purchased a collection of old sewing magazines from a seller in Italy for a very fair price. After winning the bid, she emailed and asked if I would be interested in having extra magazines for no charge except additional shipping. What a kind offer! With an enthusiastic yes and payment, I waited impatiently for the package to arrive. The Italian post estimated it would be approximately 10 -14 days, and within 5 days it was departing from Italy... but from there, the international shipping stopped updating. Weeks went by with no update, and we began worrying the package had been lost. Suddenly, after over 3 weeks, it updated its location to have landed in the US, cleared customs, and arrived on my doorstep only a few days later. My original purchase was in the first week of December, and it arrived a month later in January... and when I opened my package I was humming with delight. BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL PATTERNS!

Behold the glory of this Beyers magazine, from cover to cover:

I have already traced the bra pattern 37_522 from the pattern above (left side of page). It is very simple and elegant in its design, so I think it's a good place for me to start. The size is 96 cm (~38 inches), so I think it should fit in the cup area but I expect I will need to reduce the band size overall. I am *very* curious about the crossover bra on the right side of the page! What a curious design, right? Bust size is 92 cm (~36 in)-- so my size! BUT, I don't think I want to start bra making with the technical design. I need to have an understanding of adjusting the cup size before I start, since my cup size is typically larger than the bust for which an  average pattern is drafted.

I've also traced the vintage bra pattern 37_526 from the top right of the page above. I like the ruffle detail above the cup, and the V stitching on the bra band between/below the cups. It looks like a really love pattern. The size is 104 cm (~40 inches), so I anticipate it being too large for me. Currently, my high bust measures ~36" and full bust 39.5", but I'm just really curious about the pattern itself.

And lastly, I've also traced out the pantie pattern from the right column, center square above. There are two panties pictured, and I have traced the pair with the lace cuff at the thigh, with an inset crotch gusset. I have no idea how I feel about these, but they look very fun and easy to sew. The size, as-is, will not fit me because I am very pear-shaped. It measure 114 cm, which I am quite sure is the hip measurement (reading the magazine with a translating app is time consuming, but I am starting to memorize some of the sewing terms, making it easier). 

What are your favorites from this magazine? There are so many patterns here that I am keen to sew-- what else do you think I should put on my list? If things go well, once I'm done with uni this year, I might take some special orders for sewing as I hope to build a little side business for fun,

I probably won't get started on sewing anything from this magazine for myself for at least a few weeks or a month, because I have two dresses already cut out and awaiting the machine. I've got limited time due to full-time classes and full-time work, but that hasn't stopped me from dreaming and making incremental progress.

Have you ever sewn from mid-century magazines like these? Do you collect them too? If so, have you considered preservation methods for your pattern sheets? The pattern sheets themselves are quite brittle, and folding/unfolding them results in tiny pieces of paper flaking away. I am very concerned about them becoming 1) unusable and 2) ruined after just a few uses. To prevent their demise, I am researching local options for large-format scanning/copying, such as that used with architecture designs. I think I can get relatively affordable copies.

I'd love to hear from you about your experiences using the traceable pattern sheets. Some people think they are a nightmare, but I see them as a puzzle. I really enjoy the tracing, and the kid enjoys helping me with it too.

More to come, soon...



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