Button & Snap

East German Sewing Magazine – Summer 1990

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Pramo_3.1990_CoverRummaging through the sewing books in a second hand bookstore in Berlin, I came across this sewing magazine from East Germany printed almost exactly 25 years ago.

Pramo – the name is a shortened form of praktische Mode, which means “practical fashion” (doesn’t that inspire creativity?!) – comes with a sheet full of sewing patterns that you can trace and use, and the magazine features photos of the clothes you can make. It also features fashion tips that no one in their right mind should follow.

If you’re familiar with the Burdastyle sewing magazine, you’ve seen the traffic jam of red, green, blue, and black dotted lines that make up their pattern sheets.

Burdastyle pattern sheet

But that is NOTHING compared to Pramo’s pattern sheet…


How did people live without color printing?!


Each pattern also only comes in one size – you’re expected to grade the pattern to fit.

In this edition, Pramo features not just best of summer styles for 1990, it has the weddings looks of the season too! “Make your wedding different” is what they promise in this article. These looks certainly are “different”…


“Why not wear wide pants and with a slim jacket and oversized collar?” Why not slice up a T-shirt and wrap it around your hair?


Or you could make a pilgrim dress in white like the girl on the right – as the magazine puts it a “romantic and playful” dress. Yep, that’s what I’m getting from this. I think  the dress on the left could be nice though if it were made from prettier fabric.


More classy wedding pants with heels. The dress on the right epitomizes the early nineties. My mom made all my sisters and I all Christmas dresses like this one year.


The girl on the right looks the 8-year old bridesmaid whose mom got her all fixed up for the wedding, but she ran around playing tag with the ring bearer before the procession and half her hair fell down. Way to ruin the wedding, girl on the right.


I’d make a couple of the outfits from this article. For instance, without the pilgrim collar this dress and bolero would be classic and flattering for summer.


And I’d wear a casual version of this top with skinny jeans.

But you might not be the bride at this wedding, you might just need a nice dress to attend the reception in. And if you wear an outfit from Pramo’s plus-sized section, well, at least you can be sure you won’t outshine the bride.


The caption (written on the following picture) for the tragedy of an outfit on the right reads, “This outfit flatters every figure. With the long blouse you can masterfully hide any problems with your figure” …you could also hide a turkey and provide shelter for a couple of backpackers under that blouse.

Pramo_3.1990_0010 Short-sleeved jackets brought to you by the designer of hospital scrubs.

Pramo_3.1990_0007I wanted to give the dress on the left a B+ because I like the collar and the retro 30s look, but I realized that it’s actually a long baggy top with an equally long baggy skirt. Ugh.

Pramo_3.1990_0008“The row of buttons on the skirt on the right lets you design how high the slit will be.” Doesn’t this magazine realize that if you’re sewing this yourself you literally get to design everything anyway?


So, we’ve made it through half the magazine. This sure isn’t making me yearn for the 90s, especially not in East Germany. Would you make up any of the patterns here?



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