Thursday, February 28, 2013

Before and After Hit Parade: 1960s Wrap Skirts Revisited

Seamstress: Rachel

Pattern: Simplicity 5385

True to her word, Rachel, who had commented on my previous post about wrap skirts (The Ever Popular Wrap Skirt - 1960s Style), sewed the following classic 60s wrap skirt and wrote about the project in her blog, The Jacobite Rose.

The results are fab! Rachel chose a poly-cotton blend, twill, bottom-weight fabric because it was sturdy and casual. It also had the bonus of helping maintain the A-line shape. Isn't that a beautiful blue?

I agree with Rachel, that the pockets look wonderful, and the length is perfect too. It's a great look, front and back!

Be sure to check Rachel's post, because she includes some great tips about sewing a wrap skirt that she learned during this sewing project.

And you'll definitely want to follow Rachel's blog, because she loves sewing vintage patterns, knitting vintage, .... and more!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scraps from the Past - 1970s Skirt is a School Sewing Lesson

This fine A-line flared skirt goes from mini to maxi length and has fun details. The pattern is McCall's 4589, with view B circled - the skirt our student must have sewed. The pattern envelope included fabric pieces and also pages from an eighth grade school home economics sewing lesson and exam. It's a sewing lesson from the mid-1970s - how fun! :)

The fabric the student selected is a durable cotton broadcloth floral print, perfect for spring & summer.

Here are the mimeographed instructions for the sewing lesson, addressed to the parents (because they must pay for the fabric, pattern and other sewing notions). Note that the teacher indicates a preference for Simplicity patterns, but has no objections to McCall's. The teacher requires washable cotton or cotton blend fabric. A full list of needed supplies, including tools, is provided.

 Here is the exam on sewing terms - she gets a perfect score!:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

History of Sewing - 1960s Vintage Pattern Sizes and Body Types

 At the end of the 1950s, seamstresses hopefully had adjusted to the "new sizing" changes that occurred in the mid-late 1950s. But in the 1960s, more changes are afoot. New figure types will be added (junior petite and chubbie girls), some figure types will be merged (sub-teen or pre-teen and teen become young junior/teen), and at the end of 1967 another complete sizing shift will occur.

Revisiting the End of the 1950s

To refresh your memory (if you don't want to review my post on 1950s pattern sizes),  here are pattern sizes from a 1959 Butterick Sewing Book. Note that there are separate pattern sizes for sub-teen, teen, junior, miss, woman, and half sizes. Note also that the Junior figure type IS considered a fully-developed (or mature) figure type, not a youthful (that is, teen-like) size. The Junior figure is simply relatively higher-busted and shorter-waisted than the Miss figure type (and maybe a tad shorter).


 Early and Mid 1960s

Although sizing from the end of the 1950s through the mid-1960s remains consistent, note that the sizes are NOT consistent from one pattern maker to another. Compare the Butterick sizes above, with those from Vogue (Vogue Sewing Book dated 1964) (Note that the "New Sizing" referred to here are the size changes from the late 1950s.):

McCall's Easy Sewing book from 1964 provides sizes and figure types similar to those of Butterick, but replaces Sub-Teen with Pre-Teen, and adds the Junior Petite figure type:


And in 1966, McCall's sizes are still the same. This McCall's Step-by-Step Sewing Book provides a nice comparison of the Misses figure type with each other type.

1967 - Time to Change to New Sizes!

In late 1967 sizes change yet again!!! Effective November 1, 1967, pattern companies made the shift to new sizes developed and approved by the Measurement Standard Committee of the Pattern Fashion Industry. The pattern sizing change was made to correspond more closely with standard ready-to-wear sizing (at that time). Was access to better or more food a factor in the size changes of the late 50s and this change in the late 1960s? A good topic for research and discussion!

The sizes affected Misses, Women's, Half-Size, Junior, and Junior Petite. Teen and Pre-Teen sizes were replaced with a new size range - Young Junior/Teen.

Sizes essentially shifted downwards. For example, for the Misses figure type with bust 34, the size changed from 14 to 12. The ratio of hip to bust remains the same (bust 34, hip 36), but the waistline is reduced by a half inch (a full inch for some sizes): Before: bust 34, waist 26, hip 36 - After: bust 34, waist 25-1/2, hip 36.

McCall's Step-by-Step Sewing Book from 1968 does a great job providing a comparison of the former sizing with the new:

And here are the "new sizes" as published in a Simplicity Sewing Book from 1968, which includes a  "Chubbie" figure type for girls: 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Ever Popular Wrap Skirt - 1960s Style

In 1962 and 1963, the most popular version of the wrap-around skirt had flared style and quarter-hip-style patch pockets.

Each pattern company cashed in on this popular style. The skirt is fully faced or lined (with a great contrast fabric), with no waistband, those distinctive patch pockets (long enough to serve as belt carriers), and skinny tie belts. Here you can see how the major pattern companies issued their own version for women (Simplicity, Butterick, and McCall's).

And don't forget the younger set! Here is a girl's version - looking just as cute as mom's. :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Refashionista! From Thrift Shop Pillow Sham to 50s Blouse

 Take one really big pillow sham from the Goodwill thrift shop:

 And a late 1950s pullover "overblouse" pattern - I opted for view 2:

I had to remove all seams and spread it out to see how much fabric I really had to work with. The tricky part was lining up the pockets so the dots were aligned and matched:

And the finished blouse! It's great alone as a summer top or with a turtleneck underneath for cooler weather wear. And note how those pockets are in perfect alignment! ;) The pattern is fairly boxy, so I added vertical contour darts in back for a better, less-loose fit.

It's not spectacular, but it IS versatile and a fun addition to my separates wardrobe - good enough for work or play!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Before and After Hit Parade - 1930s Girl's Overalls - Retro Romper

Seamstress: Elizabeth
Pattern: Du Barry 2259B

Almost a year ago, Elizabeth sewed up this cute pair of overalls for her adorable and fashionable daughter. Dating from the late 1930s, it's classic cute sportswear!

The Result:: Created in a somewhat stretchy denim with eye-popping bright colors straight from the late 1960s - early 1970s, this pair of overalls is easy-care fashion that Felicity loved wearing! Didn't it turn out great? Of course, it doesn't hurt that Felicity makes such a superb model, right?


Check out Elizabeth's blog Peanut Butter Macrame to read all the details of her struggles with sizing this pattern for her growing daughter, as well as her current sewing accomplishments!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Before and After Hit Parade - 1960s Evening Strapless Dress

The Seamstress: Melissa Mason
The Pattern: Vogue 5704 Special Design - Misses' Evening Dress, Jacket, and Petticoat

This beautiful evening dress with its bell-shaped skirt and sun back has a matching cropped jacket and a petticoat too. Fabulous and truly Special Design fashion from Vogue and 1963. 

The Result: Melissa chose a vintage-inspired cottage rose print for her version of the strapless dress, view B, without the jacket. Sooo pretty! She substituted a ribbon tie belt for the slim belt with fixed bow accent. Check out those pearls - aren't they just the perfect accent?

Here's what Melissa shared about this dress and pattern:
"It was a great dress to make! And I think I am going to make it again in a duck egg blue silk, something more formal for a wedding, or special event.
Details about the dress:
100% cotton.
Fabric designer: Tanya Whelan Darla collection, Darly picnic rose in blush.
Fully lined with 100% cotton lining
Tea Length
Inspiration: everything 1950s to mid 1960s, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O, Grace Kelly, feminine, elegant...."

Be sure to check out more of Melissa's fine work in her shop on Etsy: The Frock Closet, and on Facebook: The Frock Closet (where you can see more pictures of the details as Melissa sewed the dress!).