~a sixties shift – butterick 4598~

July 20, 2010

Hi all!  I recently finished Butterick 4598, a rectangular shift dress from the late 60’s.

If you like angles and squares, you’ll like this!  It has square armholes, a triangular keyhole with buttoned tab fastening, and slot pockets in the side front seams.  It is remarkably flattering considering it has little shape, and I love the pockets which I cannot keep my hands out of!

I have posted more pictures and details on my blog pattern~scissors~cloth if you want to see more!

I thought it was interesting that the pattern was not as mini as I expected it to be – despite being depicted above the knee, it sits on the knee on me and I am average height at 5’6″.  I found this with my last 60’s pattern too – is it a myth that everything was short back then?  What have others experienced?

  1. I was born in '58. My sister was 15 years older and I remember how she dressed. The dressers were about knee length in the early 60s, then shorter in the late 60s. The shortest I remember was '71 and '72. All of my dresses the were about halfway between my knee and hip. I was tall though; 5'9".

  2. I forgot to add… I don't remember seeing anything as long as what your dress is though. I remember my sister wearing that style an inch or two above the knee not at the knee.

  3. I think that this is a two fold problem.

    1. patterns are always longer than they should be (imo) because it is easier to hem up then to let down.

    2. the hight of fashion got shorter over time so what was considered a mini in the 60's (after the much more conservative 50's) isn't anything compared to what we call a mini today. That and popular media exagerates the style to be shorter than it was.

    then as a child of hte 80's I must also point out I am hypothisising.

    Love your dress though – would love one of my own one day.


  4. In addition to the length issue, I've always found that the 60's shift dresses are way more *flattering* than I thought they'd be. They look like a rectangular box on the pattern. But when I wear them, they seem to actually flatter my curves.

  5. Early to mid-60s, "dressy" (i.e., like yours, a business or shopping style) dresses were an inch or two above the knee. Party and "youthquake" dresses somewhat shorter. My high school demanded that hems be top-of-knee at the shortest.

    By 1967, most skirts were about 17"-19" waist-to-hem. A-line styles at this length look horrid on anyone not toothpick shaped. But the invention of pantyhose (a relief and not the horror young women today regard it) made it possible to sit down in mini-skirts without flashing everyone.

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