Vintage Australian Home Journal magazines

Before I weaned myself off my buying-vintage-patterns-off-TradeMe habit, I found and bought a few vintage Australian Home Journal magazines. I’d never seen these before, until I encountered them on TradeMe. They’re lovely old magazines, with stories, articles, advertisements, and pictures of garments that you can order the patterns for. They also come with three free patterns, which are all pictured on the front of the magazine. I haven’t made any of the patterns up yet – has anyone given them a go? They’re a combination of printed pattern pieces and self-drafted ones, using the instructions in the magazine.

October 1st 1947 issue.
Sadly, this one is missing it’s pattern pieces. It’s still beautiful to look at, though, with it’s lovely old ads. :-)

1st February 1952 issue.
The yellow dress “has been cut for the average 36 inch figure”. (Now I know what the average size for an Australian woman was back in 1952!) It has lovely gathering details on the curved bust line, shaped neckline and sleeves, and button details.
The pink dress is in a size 36 inch bust as well (or at least, I think it is??). It has pin-tuck details down either side of a front buttoned down placket on the bodice, and little sleeves and and collar.

December 1st 1952 edition.
The yellow dress has been cut for a 36 inch figure as well. It has pockets on the skirt, with pocket flaps, soft pleating detail on the neckline, and wing tip style sleeve cuffs.
The green dress is the same size, 36 inch figure. It has a 16-gore skirt (!!), cummerbund, and all sorts of lovely gathering details on the bodice.

March 1st 1954 edition
The green frock is for a 36 inch figure. Collared, with wing-tip style cuffs on the sleeves, and soft gathers around the bust. The instructions include this little line: “Embroider a suitable design on bodice.” (And yes, this pretty much sums up the brevity of all of the Home Journal instructions!)
The red dress is also a size 36. Double-breasted, with a collar and cuffed sleeves. The skirt is gathered softly at the waist.

January 1st 1958 edition.
This is where they seem to start branching out with their sizes, with the women’s dresses on the front (there are always two women’s dresses, and a child’s outfit) featuring different sizes.
The blue floral dress and matching jacket is in a size 36 inch bust. The skirt is gathered at the waist, with pleating detail and a ‘v’ notch in the neckline. The matching jacket is cropped, short sleeved, and ties at the front.
The yellow and black dress is a size 32 inch bust. It’s also gathered at the waist of the skirt. It has a scooped neckline, and the bodice gathers to the neckline. The neck band also extends to the arm holes on each side.

August 1962 edition
The pink dress is in a 32 inch bust. Sheath style, with elbow-length sleeves that end in (somewhat scary) circular trim.
The green dress is in a 36 inch bust. The neckline dips down to a ‘v’ at the back, with the collar extending into loose ends that hang to the waist and are trimmed at the base of the ‘v’ with a bow. Multi-gored skirt and short sleeves.

January 1963 edition
The darker green dress (on the left) is a size 40 inch bust. It’s got rather interesting sleeves – they seem to be raglan style, but extend slightly higher than the neckline to create a sort of stepped neckline effect. 4-gored skirt.
The lighter green dress (in the centre) is a 34 inch bust (finally, one in my size that I won’t need to adjust!). It’s got a wrap front bodice and a full skirt that gathers at the waistline. Short kimono style sleeves.

So, there we have it – my stash (so far) of vintage Australian Home Journal magazines! I’m slightly scared to try these patterns – they’re quite light on the instructions and you have to self-draft about half the pieces. But I’m sure I’ll figure it out, and I’d quite like to give one of them a go sometime soon. :-)

Which dress is your favourite? Which do you think I should make first?

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5 responses to “Vintage Australian Home Journal magazines

  1. I love all the dresses – but my favourite is the December 1952 issue (the green 16 gore dress) and the yellow dress in February 1952 is gorgeous, I love the bodice detail. Can’t wait to see which one you choose to make first!

  2. I LOVE Australian Home Journals! I have a very small collection – I even have one you do – the January 1st 1958. I’m completely in love with the dress with the yoked neckline and I have it in a 32″ bust. But with the darling 1950s sizings, I would have to do some grading to expand the waist/hip area which…makes my head hurt on good days. Before beginning such a headache, I looked at the magazine instructions and was quite bamboozled by the fabric layout instructions, not to mention the sewing instructions! I’d un-folded the factory folded pattern with big dreams….. that was about 6 months ago. It is still unfolded on the bed in my sewing room! I have a thing for old magazines – particularly the advertising and advice columns!

  3. These look awesome! Can I come over and have a peek at them sometime?? Yippee!
    My favorite is the green floral dress 5954 in the Jan 1963 issue. Sooo Cute! :) I love the wrap over waist! Wow! Pretty!
    I also just love the 16 gore skirt! WOW! The bodice detailing is awesome!
    I can’t wait to see you make them up! Hugs from Lisa

  4. Pingback: Pretty vintage pattern finds | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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