Monday, April 12, 2010

Sewing My Way Through the Seventies

I started sewing in the 7th grade when I took a sewing class in Jr. High. I remember my first attempt was a simple, straight, sleeveless sheath with an assortment of removable, interchangeable collars. I chose a pink flowered cotton for the dress and a white pique' for the collar. It turned out great and I was on my way!
Once I was in High School, I was sewing regularly and much of my wardrobe, save plaid, wool skirts and angora sweaters, was homemade. That was back in the day of girls being required to wear dresses to school. I wore dresses that were, of course being the 70's, quite short, until the later 70's when a longer skirt caqme into style. Panty hose, chunky, high heeled shoes, platform sandals or boots completed the outfits. Well, those and Indian silver and turquoise jewlery, hoop earrings and pieces from 1928 jewelry. My best friends also sewed, none of us ever took a homemaking class in high school, it was more a crafty, artistic thing.
My favorite patterns were Butterick. they carried my favorite designers Jane Tise and Betsey Johnson. Can you believe Betsey Johnson, with her platinum-blond, chunky pageboy is still going strong today, doing cartwheels on the catwalk at the end of her couture shows!

When I came across these images, they transported me straight to the occasions and settings
in which I wore them! It was a very powerful thing, a time machine. Lots of wonderful memories!

This jumper was a favorite I made the year
I interned 3rd grade, 1978.
Wearing it, I felt every bit a teacher!

I sewed
this up for
Diana Hicken's
wedding at the Wayfarer's
Chapel in Palos Verde, Calif. It was GORGEOUS and sexy and
looked very much like the short
version on the left.

Navy calico with red flowers, reversible navy corduroy/red calico vest.
Gosh, I still love that look! I wore tall, high-heeled boots with it. I loved the weight of the yards of fabric in the skirt. Back in the day, I was thin and could pull-off these styles.

I must thank my mom for being a seamstress, sewing me many a Halloween costume, summer outfit and a beautifully detailed yellow floral, halter style prom dress, with short yellow satin bolero jacket, that still hangs in my closet today. It's a beautiful example of
everything I love about 1970's fashion.


nana_ang_poppaphil said...

Well those images certainly brought back memories. I also sewed when I was younger, more through necessity than anything else. I did not have a Mum around in my teenage years, so the only way to have party clothes was to make them myself.

Would love to see a photo of the prom outfit you have in your closet. You don't have to model it if you don't want to.

Marla said...

Cathy did you make that dress in Mrs. Hardenburg's class? I made the same one! It is lavender with white collars (and lace!) and my mom still has it in her cedar chest!

{B} said...

I am so jealous! you got skillz

Clair said...

I'm jealous too. :) I'm so impressed. Sewing has always been my nemesis. But I am learning little by little how to be better at it. :)

Breezy said...

WOW-- what talent you have. Sewing is something that makes me break out in a cold sweat. I am envious of your creativity!

lifeinredshoes said...

Just look at you! I would love to be able to sew like that but my brain shuts down when I look at patterns...true story!
I love to look at the blogs of younger gals that are sewing today not out of necessity, but choice. And they have thrown the stupid rules out the window.
And Jr. High home ick, not ec." I Never Finished My 7th Grade Apron," could be the title of my book.

nana_ang_poppaphil said...

That has to be the yellow prom outfit. It looks stunning, and so up to date for that time. I love the bolero jacket

design gal said...

Mom, I am so grateful for your sewing skills! For all of the pretty easter & christmas dresses, and especially for the homecoming and sweetheart dresses you made me! They are BEAUTIFUL! I always wished I was thin enough to wear your pretty prom dress! :) Love you!

Garden House Floral said...

Love it! An inspiration. -Karlie

Tyler said...

Time Machine... no kidding! Love the old pictures!

pollydove said...

Hi Cathy! The thing that I liked most about looking through those pattern books was how cute I thought some of the illustrations were!!! The only thing I actually enjoyed sewing back then was a wrap around skirt ... remember those????

Now I've turned to quilting - straight seams suit me better than following patterns!

I really am impressed with women who are good at sewing, 'cause I know it isn't all that easy!

(LOVE the picture of you going to prom - so cute!)

Jayne said...

Are you sure that's you in the last yellow dress? It sure looks like Shannon, but then she would be much older now!

Connie said...

Just came from your daughter's blog! I remember the first thing I sewed in Jr. High. It was a green A-line skirt and a green floral print top that had raglan sleeves. We were all supposed to wear our creations to school on the same day! Even though we all used the same pattern, it was interesting how different each one looked in their outfit because of body shapes.

Love your prom picture.

Shayner and Ern said...

Shannon looks identical to you!! Holy smokes!!!