Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

Seventies Fashion: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer TV series Episodes 1 &2


For the last couple of years I’ve been running a Sew The Seventies competition. I chose not to do that this year, but I’m still interested in all those seventies fashions. If you are new to this blog and are interested, there are a whole series of posts on the seventies – Year by year accounts of the history for the UK and Italy, and some reviews of TV series including Trust, The Little Drummer Girl and the Italian series, Maltese, which is still showing on 4OD .

I found another Italian series on Channel 4. Again, set in Sicily. It’s called “The Mafia Only Kills in Summer” and it’s still on 4OD, and I thoroughly recommend giving it a look. Here’s is my review of the first two episodes, along with a glimpse of the fashions and available sewing patterns that could recreate the look.

The series could be classed as a dark comedy. It is certainly a parody of Italian family life. The drama in set in 1979, in the “Years of Lead”. It follows the Giammarresi family. The narrator is Salvatore, a ten-year-old schoolboy who recounts the dramatic events that make his family realise that they have to leave Sicily for good.

They are, all in all, a fairly typical family. Older sister, Angela, spends her time trying to find some privacy in order to make phone calls to her friends and her boyfriend, often taking the phone into the bathroom. Their mother, Pia, is a primary school teacher, who has yet to secure a permanent position and their father works at the local registry office. Money is tight and consequently they live in a cramped, run-down apartment block in Palermo, where the water supply is intermittent. Salvatore ironically calls his family”calm”, they are anything but! This all adds to the sense of fun in the series, despite the drama’s tough themes.

Episode 1 – The Mafia Doesn’t Exist

The opening episode sees new girl, Alice, join Salvatore’s class at school and he falls in love. But his attempts to befriend Alice seem to be thwarted at every turn. Meanwhile his mother, Pia has secured a temporary, but hopefully lengthy position at a school over an hour away. With the long commute she tries to enlist Angela’s help with housework, but she isn’t very keen to lend a hand. She believes women should be freed from housework! Angela’s head is filled with thoughts of Rosario, who woos her by quoting Karl Marx and talking of female emancipation. His father, Lorenzo witnesses a brutal crime and toys with coming forward as a witness. He doesn’t and struggles with his conscience.

Salvatore in class. Primary school children used to wear these robes to school.


Angela Teal Jumper

Angela wears a polo neck jumper. Odd to me that someone in Sicily would need to wear something so warm?


Pia’s Argyle sweater. Love the idea of an Argyle sweater. Can’t say you see many around these days.


Clockwise from top-left: Polo neck sweater on set, Vogue Argyle knitting pattern,ย  vintage sewing pattern, Simplicity 5196 Top with roll collar and long set-in sleeves 1972 and True Bias Nikko top.

Episode 2 Guarantees and Other Crap

This episode starts with the Salvatore discovering the salacious “Pigs with Wings” book hidden by Angela in their shared bedroom. Lorenzo worries about Angela growing up and Pia feels that Salvatore and Angela both need their own rooms.ย  Lorenzo hears of a new housing development through a colleague and, despite his reservations, thinks it might solve the family’s problems.

Meanwhile Angela has a new class mate too, Torino (because he originally comes from Turin – Torino in Italian). It’s obviously from the start that Torino is “a pitiful case, forever in love” with Angela, but she isn’t interested in him at all.

Angela is on baby-sitting duty again, but decides to sneak off with Rosario. Salvatore, left to his own devices makes an ill-fated bus ride to see the new apartment and discovers that things are very different from how they appear on the brochure.

Angela's coat

Angela’s woolen coat has a contrasting checked lining / facing?


Clockwise from top-left: Angela’s woolen coat on set, Papercut Patterns Waver jacket, Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat and vintage sewing pattern, vintage Style sewing pattern.

We are introduced to another character too, Patrizia, Uncle Massimo’s new girlfriend, who gets invited to dinner.

Patrizia's blouse

Patrizia wears a cream blouse with shirred sleeves and lace trim


A longer view of Patrizia’s outfit – I think the cream blouse looks great with the suede skirt.


Clockwise from top-left: Patrizia’s cream-coloured blouse on set, McCalls M7978, Burda Shirred Blouse 09/2017 #104A and vintage sewing pattern, Simplicity 9313, Tops with shirred cuffs, 1971.

Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

8 thoughts on “Seventies Fashion: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer TV series Episodes 1 &2

  1. I remember those polo-neck shirts and wore them all the time. The couple of modern shirts/patterns look so different than the original time period ones–it really was a sensibility of the times that isn’t being duplicated now, even if some things have a little in common, like a bit of a bigger collar etc.

    • Yes, I agree. The 70s simplicity pattern is actually one I have and I made the sweater with a sweater knit. It looks fab, it kind of looks fairly modern though – perhaps it was the fabric I chose.

  2. I want an Argyll check sweater like now ๐Ÿ˜„. On another note the upcoming BBC series The Serpent with Jenna Coleman looks like it’s going to be full of fab seventies fashion and won’t she look damn good in them ๐Ÿ™‚.

    • Yes, I liking the idea too, but there aren’t that many modern knitting patterns, and I’ve yet to tackle a vintage one. Will look up “The Serpent” – I could do with some good viewing….

  3. Also saw the film Misbehaviour last week which is full of gorgeous 1970s fashion.

  4. Pingback: Seventies Fashion: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer TV series Episodes 11 & 12 | Steely Seamstress

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