Hello, family of retro sewers! Long time reader; first time post. I’m Linda and I’m so happy to be here!
I’ve been sewing since I was 11 years old. (I’m from the era of Home Ec classes.) I sew as an outlet for my creativity, but sewing originally started as a way to make clothes for my tall and slender frame. As a child of the 60s and a teen of the 70s in Southern California, I was influenced by hippie styles and also Victoriana. One of my favorite things to sew back in high school was clothing made from colorful, block printed bedspreads from India.
After selling off much of my previous, vintage fabric stash, I collected several vintage Indian cotton pieces as well as vintage patterns over the past year or two to start getting my sewing mojo back. That mojo had been lost by the demise of my beloved 1978 Kenmore sewing machine that finally gave up the ghost after 30 years of sewing together. To replace the machine, I bought an expensive new machine (hated it), sold it, bought and sewed on several vintage Singers (201 & 221 Featherweight… awesome!), then found a near mint, vintage 1972 Kenmore in case for $17.50 at the Salvation Army ….. and the angels sang! After a good oiling, it was game on! Guess I’ll always be a Kenny girl!
This top is a simple tunic made from Simplicity 5828. As I am 5’10″, I lengthened it about 3 inches. The nature of the block print pattern of the fabric itself necessitates a bit of pre-planning as far as the laying out of the patten pieces. I turned the sleeve pattern diagonally on the corners of the bedspread to get the “handkerchief” sleeves. You’ll note that the pointed part of the sleeve is not under my arm but on top of it; just a different little twist. I made French seams for stability and allowed the finished edges of the fabric to serve as my hems.
The piece came together quickly and beautifully the second time. Say what? Yes, this veteran seamstress had to re-cut the top out all over again as the fabric started to disintegrate before my eyes under the machine’s feed! Why? There was some fading to part of the the fabric but I decided to just go with it to create a funky, aged look to my garment. BUT, fading had created rot and I got the funk alright. It appears that sunlight combined with Indian dye has a particularly devastating effect on cotton. Lesson learned when using fabric of this type was to avoid fabric with any sun fading. Luckly, there is none of that left in my stash.
I’m looking forward to making more tops from this pattern as well as sharing with you some of the pieces that I’ve made from the other patterns shown. Of course, I’m also looking forward to seeing what the rest of you Seventies Sewers are up to!
To read more about my inspiration for this piece, feel free to take a peek at my vintage blog at: http://mseccentricartsvintage.blogspot.com/