1970s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Seventies Stripes (Simplicity 5497)

By on September 11, 2017

 

 

 

I made up this 1970s era dress because I’m fond of the contrasting white collar and cuffs.  Overall I’m very pleased with how it turned out: it fits well, is comfortable to wear, and was inexpensive to make, since I bought the fabric for less than a dollar a yard at Michael Levine’s Loft in the fabric district in Los Angeles, and the buttons on the cuffs were bought at the thrift store.  My only changes were to leave off the waist-ties so it will be easier to wear with cardigans and jackets when the weather finally cools off, and to lengthen and widen the skirt to be more comfortable to wear and walk in.

For more photos and details, please visit the sewing blog that I share with my husband: Mr and Mrs Rat

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1970s | 1980s | Blouses | Skirts

Gingham! (Simplicity 5900)

By on August 31, 2017

 

I’ve been sewing with so much gingham this summer!  This particular checked cotton, which I bought on sale in the LA fashion district for 99 cents a yard a few years ago is especially light and perfect for the hot days of late summer and early fall.  The 1980s-era pattern I used to sew this blouse was a surprise: the sleeves are very puffed!  And the fit is quite good without any adjustments—you know how wonderful that feels for a seamstress!  I’m wearing it with one of my 1970s-era Simplicity 7880 skirts, made of $2 a yard black poly-cotton broadcloth.  For more information about the pattern and the construction (and more photos), please visit the blog that I share with my husband: Mr and Mrs Rat.

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1970s | Blouses | Skirts

Late Summer Muslin (Simplicity 7880 and Simplicity 8356)

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This blouse and skirt are both made form 1970s-era patterns, and have become favorites in my summer wardrobe.  I made them from unbleached muslin bought on sale at JoAnns fabric stores.  They wash well, are light and breezy on hot days, and only get softer with wear.  For more information about the patterns and construction, please come visit the blog that I share with my husband: Mr and Mrs Rat.

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1970s | Blouses | Dresses | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

Summer of Gingham (McCalls 6339)

By on August 7, 2017

 

I just finished my second gingham project of the summer, McCalls 6339 from 1978.  I’m pleased with how it turned out.  It is comfortable and has some interesting details, like flat-felled princess seams, self-bias binding on the bottom edge of the blouse, and a darted, then gathered full skirt.  For more details and photos, please visit the sewing blog that I share with my husband: Mr and Mrs Rat

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1970s | Skirts

My Favorite Skirts (Simplicity 7880)

By on June 5, 2017

1970s era Simplicity 7880 is my favorite pattern, and with good reason.  Here are some photos of some of my favorite versions of this versatile skirt pattern, which I wear on an almost-daily basis:

 

 

A few construction notes: Simplicity 7880 uses almost three yards of fabric cut on the cross-wise grain, which means it only has one seam at the center back, and would be well suited to border prints, even though I have never sewn it with one before.  It uses a seven inch zipper and a skirt hook and eye to close, although occasionally I will switch the skirt hook and eye for a large button.  It is easy to adjust the length of the skirt or to make the waist band wider, since both are rectangles.  To make sure my waistbands never roll, I always sew waistband interfacing into the waist.  Waistband interfacing is stiff and flexible like a lightweight belt, and comes in many different widths.  I always buy big lengths of it at Michael Levine fabrics in the fabric district in Los Angeles whenever I go to visit my parents there.

For more photos and other vintage (and new) pattern reviews, please visit the blog I share with my husband:  mrandmrsrat.weebly.com

 

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1970s | Dresses

Black For Early Summer – Patterns Pacifica 3068

By on May 2, 2017

 

 

 

I made this dress from a vintage pattern designed and printed in Hawaii—Patterns Pacifica.  I’m not quite sure whether it dates from the late 1960s or early 1970s, so I am tagging it as the 1970s, since I have seen quite a few similar styles from that decade.  Has anyone used a Patterns Pacifica pattern before?  I have two, and my husband has one that he has sewn up.  I have tried to find out more about the history of the pattern company, but haven’t found a thing.  I’d love to hear if any of you know more about it.   For more information about the details of sewing it, and more photos, please visit the blog that I share with my husband, who also sews and wears vintage:  mrandmrsrat.weebly.com

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1970s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Prairie-palooza: Simplicity 9778 (1971), Butterick 4888 (1977 or 1978), and McCall’s 4872 (1975)

By on January 27, 2017

Three-fer!

This project started out as Simplicity 9778, a Mother Hubbard-type dress from 1971.  It’s cute, but you sort of suspect it will work out less well in reality than in theory:

I have a weakness for these prairie dresses with yokes.  #dontjudge

But I found some hideous-slash-amazing Concord print in dull green with brown/purple flowers on eBay, and some awesome deadstock buttons in a weird raisin color, and got to work.

I knew when I got to the collar that I was making a mistake.  The band collar is drafted–well, “drafted”–as a straight strip of cloth.  It’s not contoured toward the front of the neck the way a band collar should be.  Seamsters, take note: If you make this pattern, IGNORE THE COLLAR.  Draft your own or borrow from another pattern whose designer wasn’t so lazy.

Predictably, it sat around my neck like a section of pipe.  This looks a lot better and far less amateurish in the picture than it did in real life.  Plus, it was uncomfortable.

It looked cute with a belt, though:

But that didn’t help the collar.  It also turns out that this pattern, obviously, is basically a nightgown:

Even with the belt, it tends to shift forward as you walk so all that fabric ends up bunched around your stomach.  I sewed six tucks into the back waist, which helped a lot, but . . . eh, I still wasn’t wearing it that much, which made me sad because I loved, loved, loved the fabric.

Patiences pays off: Surfing eBay netted me another yard, so I decided that I would try to salvage the skirt (well, lower half) and sleeves from the baggy dress and attach them to a new bodice.

Butterick 4888 is from 1977 or 1978 and I want us all to take a moment to contemplate the phenomenon of the wedding gown or bridesmaid dress that comes with an apron.

With an apron, people.

That woman is wearing an apron to her wedding.

However, it’s still a cute pattern and, since I wasn’t planning to make the sash, I was pretty sure that 1 yard + scavenged pieces from the old bodice = just about enough to scrape together a new bodice.

I hate long back zippers so I altered it to button up the front (I had to put a placket in the skirt) and made the facings out of scrap from another dress to save on the “good” fabric (this is the waist seam, finished in bias, with the front facing tacked over it):

I cheated on the sizing.  I’m usually a 12/bust 34 + slight FBA + added width across the upper back + added bodice length + lowered bust.  My 4888 was already a 14/bust 36 so I experimented with just taking in the shoulders and leaving the back width and bust measurement alone (although I still lowered the bust point and lengthened the bodice a little).  This time, at least, it worked.  I might still do a very, very, tiny FBA the next time because I added more of a front facing than was intended so it takes a little more room.

I actually got some brown/purple solid to make an apron to wear with this.  I have no idea where I will wear it with an apron, but whatever (this is the old bodice with the yoke).

As a side note: If anyone is into loose prairied dresses with yokes, try McCall’s 4872 (1975)–it’s similar to 9772 but the bodice is trimmer and the skirt/lower half is more flared, and it’s more flattering and less bunchy around the waist.

Sorry, you can’t really see it in a black dress, but it worked a lot better than 9778:

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