Era Fashions - What's New

 picture July 2024 - Sad News
Former Era Fashions Committee Chair Mary Carlson passed away in May.

To read her obituary, Click Here for the "In Menory" page.


November 2023

MAFCA's Newest type of Fashion Judging is called - Fashion Display Judging

To read about it, Click Here.

An example of a Fashions Display outfit is shown at right
- click on the photo to enlarge it.

February 2021

Added another Era Hat on the Era Hats page.

September 2020

Gloves were considered an important article of coordinated apparel for a lady of the Model A era. Gloves were bought, made, and worn for most activities outside the home. Fashion enthusiasts have looked for the three gores stitched or appliqued across the back of the hand to determine the originality of a pair of gloves.

The MAFCA Fashion Guidelines, 2015 edition, section 3C-1 page 27 documents the characteristics of original women’s gloves. The gores were thought to be present in daytime, afternoon, evening, and even
formal gloves, 1928 through 1931. Click here to read more about them.

June 2020

New Video - "What to Expect as an Era Fashions Entrant" - has been uploaded to YouTube. Click here to check it out.

January 2018  picture

Stepping Out in Style - Menswear Catalog 1930-1931

The Era Fashion Committee heard you! We have had many requests for a men’s fashion publication. We are proud to introduce the latest additional to MAFCA’s selection of fashion publications. This publication contains 58 high resolution, full color illustrations from rare men’s catalogs dated 1930-1931. The artwork is spectacular and will provide you with a wonderful reference for stepping out in style for any occasion.

Stepping Out is available as a CD or as a Direct Download. Both items are available through the MAFCA store, along with many other fashion-related items. Click Here to visit the MAFCA store.

July 2017

Zippers in Beach Wear  picture

In 2005, the Era Fashion Committee members did some extensive research on the use of zippers during the Model A era. What was being called the new “slide fastener” during this time was a larger toothed, heavier metal construction than what we think of as zippers today. The EFC was able to confirm that these new “slide fasteners” were used in heavier duty items such as handbags, coin purses, tobacco bags, boots, sportswear, overalls, flight suits, sleeping bags, and even some children’s leggings. They also suspected that those garments that were heavier duty such as jackets or military gear may have utilized the new fastener. However, they were not able to confirm the use of these fasteners for general use in clothing items such as men’s trousers.

 picture Past EFC member and Chairperson Janet Gundlach recently found a copy of a Vogue Dressmaking magazine dated May-June 1931. Each page inside has detailed descriptions of how to make an outfit. What caught her eye was that on one of the pages is a description of Beach Pajamas that suggest using the “Talon Slide Fastener” as an alternative to the usual snaps in the side placket.

We are always excited when new direct documentation is found regarding Model A era fashions! If you come across something like this, please forward it to us at  


May 2017  picture

Quilts of the 1930s

Nell Mathern, a member of the Rogue Valley As, Henry's Lady and Sis-Q A's chapters presented a seminar on Quilts of the 1930s at the 2015 National Awards Banquet in Medford. A video of the presentation is now available by clicking here.

If like to get in contact with Nell, you may send her email at JNMathern @

February 2017  picture

Quick Reference Guide for Daytime Wear 1928-1931

The EFC has received many individual requests for a "portable" guide for shopping expeditions so that members have general information handy on what to look for in putting together an era-image outfit.

This new tri-fold brochure focuses on daytime styles and general hat information for both men and women and can be printed out and slipped into a purse or pocket. Make sure your printer is set for double sided printing!
Click here
to open it.

Serged Seams in Commercially Manufactured Clothing during the Model A Era

In 2002, the EFC launched an extensive investigation looking for information and documentation that overcast or serged seams were available in the Model A era. Their research showed that machines that did this kind of stitching was in fact available during the Model A era, but that they were available to the garment manufacturing industry, mainly due to the size of the machine and its prohibitive cost. Furthermore, the use of the serged overlock stitch on everyday house dresses was not able to be substantiated at that time. Consequently, the research done by members of the EFC at that time resulted in the decision that “serged seams should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with acceptable dated documentation provided by the entrant.”

During our recent EFC meeting, we discussed this at length due to some recently found examples of dresses that are clearly from the Model A era stylistically, yet had side and armhole seams that were stitched using an overlock stitch. We did not have any new information to contradict what the previous EFC had decided. However, after much discussion we came to the agreement that if this type of seam construction was being used in men’s wear for pockets, undergarments, and for use on “any woven material, where a wide, tight stitch is desirable,” (as their research found) it wouldn't make sense for them not to use it on commercially produced ready-to-wear women’s house dresses made of woven materials.

As a result of our discussion, your current Era Fashion Committee has decided to insert the following sentence into the MAFCA Fashion Guidelines, page 3A-1, paragraph 3 and the FJPM Main Section, page 23 under Original Era Fashions: It should be noted that original commercially manufactured dresses could have a serged seam finish. However, machines that did zigzag stitching or serging were not yet manufactured for the home seamstress.

January 2017

Revised and Simplified Fashion Tests

If you are thinking about becoming a fashion judge, or looking to advance your judging status you will be pleased to know the Era Fashion Committee has revised all seven fashion tests. The objective of the fashion tests has always been to enable the applicant, by means of an "open book" format, to familiarize themselves with MAFCA's Fashion Guidelines. The tests have been streamlined and will take less time than before to complete. We are always seeking individuals who have an interest in becoming a fashion judge. See the Era Fashions section-Tests of MAFCA's website to download the tests and a complete set of instructions.

Changes to MAFCA's Fashion Guidelines and the FJPM

Modern Bras: After much discussion and consultation, we have decided to accept modern bras in the Original and Reproduction Categories. We considered several factors during our discussion, chiefly the comfort of our participants, and the changing times. To that end, the Committee unanimously decided the following: We will amend the Fashion Guidelines and the Fashion Judging Procedures Manual to reflect a fashion entrant may wear a modern bra in the Original category without penalty. This amendment does not preclude the necessity for other appropriate era undergarments in the Original category.

The new text added to the Fashion Guidelines pages 1-13, Area C, and page 3C-1 and in the FJPM Section 1, page 26, Section 3, page 5 will read: "It is acceptable for an entrant to wear a modern bra in the original and reproduction categories."


Black Stockings with Seams: Language was clarified on page 3E-13 of the Fashion Guidelines. The sentence at the top of the page, "Black seamed stockings were usually worn with darker colored late afternoon and evening outfits" will be changed to "Black stockings with seams were usually worn with darker colored late afternoon and evening outfits." This clarification was necessary due to the availability of modern hosiery that is flesh colored with black seams. During the Model A era, the hosiery worn had seams that were the same color as the hosiery itself.

Modern Pantyhose: Although it has been considered acceptable by fashion judges for many years in the judging room, it was noted that nowhere was it officially written that the wearing of modern panty hose under original stockings was an acceptable practice. This is done to protect the fragile materials of original hosiery from damage. The new text added to the Fashion Judging Procedures Manual Part 1, page 28, and Section 3, page 6 will read: "In all categories, panty hose may be worn under hosiery, for the purpose of preserving the hosiery."

Changes to MAFCA's Fashion Judge Classifications

As a result of queries during the judging season last summer, changes were made to the Fashion Judge Classifications for Apprentice Judge, Judge, and Senior Judge. The criteria for Master Judge has not changed. The new criteria is as follows:

Apprentice Judge: A member who is in training to be a judge. The Apprentice Judge shall satisfactorily complete the Fashion Judging Tests 1 – 6 prior to his/her initial judging, and then apprentice at one MAFCA sanctioned fashion event. The Apprentice Judge’s worksheet will not be used for tabulation, but will be reviewed by the Chief Judge who will determine if the applicant is ready for certification.

Judge: A member who has judged in one area at one MAFCA sanctioned fashion event and has passed all six fashion area tests.

Senior Judge: A member who has passed all six fashion tests and judged in five fashion areas at five different MAFCA sanctioned fashion events, and has been a fashion entrant in a MAFCA sanctioned fashion event. Anyone who had Senior Judge status as of September 12, 2008 will not be required to be an entrant to maintain their status.


August 18 2016 - The Era Fashion Committee is VERY excited about our new publication, The Fashion Files 1928-1931. This 212 page, full color book is a compilation of 118 fashion articles that have been published in The Restorer between 2000 and 2015. Articles are written by MAFCA members and cover a variety of topics. This is definitely a book you will want to add to your library collection!

This fabulous new book is only $25 plus shipping and handling!

Order yours NOW through the MAFCA Store online or by calling MAFCA Headquarters between 10AM and 4PM Pacific time - (562) 697-2712.


March 30 2016 - Pattern Catalog Update: Pattern #9888,

Women's Daytime Dress found on page 42 of the MAFCA Pattern Catalog has been identified as being a 1931 pattern. Our pattern, Superior #9888 is identical to pattern #9274 found in the Sears Spring/Summer 1931 catalog.


March 30, 2016 - Were nose veils used on hats in the Model A era? The following statement was found in the editor's column entitled, "Vignettes of the Mode," in the magazine Fashionable Dress, March, 1928, p.5:

"The nose veil which is making a furtive appearance on spring millinery is a gesture for further femininity. Despite the fact that this return to the flattering fashion of the nineties seems almost an anachronism, it is being adopted by many smart women, and bids fair to win its way to favor and popularity."


October 29 2015 - The Fashion Judging Procedures Manual has been updated, effective October 15, 2015. If you are planning a MAFCA sanctioned fashion judging event, please make sure you have the most up-to-date copy.

The MAFCA Fashion Guidelines 2015 Edition is now available at the MAFCA Store. This new version of the MAFCA Fashion Guidelines has corrected some minor punctuation and grammar errors and has included both updated and new fashion information.

MAFCA Fashion Guidelines Updates - Corrections to your 2010 Edition:

Pen and Ink Update Instructions

New and Replacement Pages

If you prefer to make corrections to your 2010 Edition of the MAFCA Fashion Guidelines, the file "Pen and Ink Update Instructions" will guide you to the correct page and the corrections to make. If numerous changes were made to the page which affected its readability, those pages are included in the file "New and Replacement Pages." Simply follow the directions given for each of these files.

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 picture MAFCA's book on era fashions,
A Book of Fashion Facts, Model A Era 1928 to 1931
is now available from the MAFCA Store

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Last Updated: 02/18/24