Throughout recent years, we often see a revival of fashions from decades gone by, and although the 1930s may emerge again within the next few years, it is often a forgotten era. The best way to be able to wear 1930s-style fashion is to sew it yourself. Here at The Vintage Pattern Shop, we can provide the first steps to doing it, by selling patterns and fabrics from the 1930s to get you going. Today we’re going to focus specifically on the popular printed fabrics of the 1930s.


There was a recession during the 1930s, so home sewing was popular in this time as the price of materials was less than buying ready-made clothes. During the summer, light and breathable fabrics were popular, including cotton, rayon and silk. Cotton being a natural fabric, it takes to dye and printing well, and comes in many different types. Other common fabrics during warmer weather included linen, crepe, pongee, voile and dotted swiss. During the winter, the most common fabrics were wool, chambray, corduroy, flannel and tweed. Aside from everyday wear, for evening clothes, materials like silk, satin, taffeta, net, velvet and lace were all widely used.

Prints and Patterns

Previously, prints and patterns were used mainly for house dresses, but during the 1930s, the developments in textile printing mean that most fabrics could feature different prints. Floral patterns were number one during this decade, with small flowers being most common, usually growing no bigger than 3 inches. Polka dots remained a staple during this time, in addition to some repeating geometric designs such as diamonds and squares. Tartan plaid, gingham check, and windowpane were all firm favourites into the 1930s, with designs being simple and keeping to two to three colours. Finally, large paisley patterns were a popular choice for dress suits, afternoon dresses and casual blouses, with colour combinations being limitless in this print.

Colour Palettes

Colour choices didn’t differ too much in the 1930s, with summer shades tending to be saturated pastels including peach, rose pink, lilac, sunny yellow, sky blue, and sea green. During winter, chocolate brown, grey, tan, rust, and black were widely used, and red, navy, emerald green, orange, and mustard were commonly seen year-round. Colour combinations consisted of contrasting colours, though matching was also better than clashing. White was the base for many patterns, and the look would usually be finished off with white accessories such as glove, belt, purse and hat.

The Vintage Pattern Shop

Here at The Vintage Pattern Shop, we have an array of printed fabrics available to get the 1930s look. You’ll notice many of the designs on a white base, or with some white elements included, as well as many of the print designs mentioned, from stripes and flowers, to repeating artistic impressions.

Contact Us

To discover more about 1930s printed fabrics, please complete the online contact form, or email us at Alternatively, can speak to a member of the team directly by calling either (0044) 1621-331441 or (0044) 7595261171. We will be glad to help you with any questions you may have for us.