Flashback to the 70’s – from Grandma’s Basement

March 18, 2013

My mother taught me to sew starting at about age 8 or 9, my older sisters were making most of their clothes for high school, and I was just starting junior high, so that puts me at about age 11 or twelve.  We had monthly “mixers”   or dances, and I wanted something “hip”.  My choice? Simplicity 9354:

1970's Peasant Dress

Well I still have it! Not the pattern, the dress that is. I searched for the pattern online and recognized it as soon as I saw it!  The dress was carefully stored in my basement with other dress mementos.  I question the color red, but the fabric is still vibrant and fresh, no fading at all. You can’t really tell from the picture but the print is a scatter of flowers on a red background.  Here is my granddaughter, Christina, modeling it. 









It is a little big on her, I made it in a size 14.  The lessons that I remember as an 11 year old sewing this was using binding tape to make the casing for the gathers at the neck and sleeves,  and learning how to gather for the ruffle. I remember thinking it was fun using a safety pin and snaking the elastic through the casing! I think it is a good dress for a beginner sewer, no darts, no zipper.  Christina  was a good sport being my model (yes, there was eye rolling!) I only wish I had a picture of ME wearing it circa 1970!

“better to burn out than fade away…”


  1. How lucky you are to still have this dress! I wish to pieces I still had all the wonderful late ’60s and early ’70s clothes my mother and I made for me. I’ve been able to reacquire a lot of the patterns, but the fabric can’t be re-purchased. I did once see online a piece of the same print I had used in my all-time, favorite dress, but the material had long been sold.

  2. I also made this as my first sewing project. As in 11-year-old in 1973 I borrowed a copy from my neighbor and made it without the ruffle as a nightgown and mom made a matching sleeping bag cover to use at a girl scout sleep-over (camping indoors in a large hall). I remember crying late one evening over that binding on the neckline when my safety pin wouldn’t slide through my crooked seams. Mom told me to try again in the morning. In hindsight, I suspect she unpicked and resewed. In the morning, the pin slid through.

  3. Hi.

    I like your long peasant dress that your granddaughter Christina is modeling. When I was in 9th grade, I was chosen to play the piano at high school graduation (Pomp and Circumstance). My mother made me the very same dress, using a lavendar print. I still have that dress. I loved it.

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