1950s Fabrics

One of the easiest ways to create that fifties or vintage theme is to source some genuine designs and fabrics of the 1950s.

I hadn’t really appreciated how exciting some of these fifties designs are. Here are just a few to wet your appetite.

These are from fabric inspirations – an amazing site with a huge array of designs.

During the 1950s cottons, linens & silks were still being used on mass but were expensive and in short supply, so in the clothing market we see the rise of synthetic fashion fabrics.

These are just a sample from The Vintage Fabric Market who sell a stunning collection. Also take a peek at Donna Flower.

Fashion history shows that styles and garments of the 50s and 60s were revolutionised by these new fabrics. Many of these fabrics were synthesised from petrochemicals.  They were promoted for their easy care wash and wear qualities which often meant a quick rinse and drip dry with minimal or no ironing required.

This dress above is courtesy of my friend Anne-Catherine who made the frock herself from a piece of 1950s rayon.

Initially they were novel, but expensive materials. Would you believe that Crimplene at first could only be bought in high class dress shops.


Dress above from Oh My Honey made with soft ivory tulle

Eventually though Nylon (Polyamide), Crimplene (Polyester) and Orlon (Acrylic/ Polyacrylonitrile) were all very soon affordable.  Crimplene enabled everyone to wear white and pastel colours because they could be washed easily and polyester does not yellow like white nylon does with age and sunlight.  The fabric also tailored well and could be made into button front, double breasted, wide collar dresses and retain a crisp appearance through washing.

British fashion history records that Marks and Spencer produced the best ready to wear chain store clothes in the fifties and quadrupled their profits at the same time.  Their clothes were not the least expensive, but they were the best value for money.  The quality became so high in the 1950s that limits were set on production as everyone wanted the affordable stylish Paris inspired 1950s glamour.

So readers choose your 50s dress and then.

If you’re whizz on the sewing machine you can also reproduce your 1950s occasion with bunting of the era, tablecloths and napkins and some great fifties retro clothing. Marina Retro also has a good range of 50s skirts & petticoats.


Bunting designs from Amazon

Incidentally with a cardboard triangle (you choose the size), binding or ribbon and some of the lovely fabric we have seen plus the all important sewing machine you can make your own. I made metres of bunting for Charlie’s wedding – it’s quick and easy. Ok it wasn’t as perfect as those you can buy, but it still looked great.

Selma x


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