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Sewing The Seventies – Inspiration Part 4 Dresses and Jumpsuits

In the final install of my inspiration posts for the seventies, I’m taking a look at dress and jumpsuit styles.

I’ve found some great maxi dress styles. There’s the Alix dress from By Hand, which has a very seventies vibe:


There are also some re-released vintage patterns by Simplicity. I particularly like this flowing faux wrap front dress:

Of course, the most iconic dress of the seventies is probably the wrap dress. Originally designed in 1974 by Diana Von Furstenberg. The dress was so successful, Diana and the dress featured on the cover of Newsweek (see the montage at the top of this post).

There is a superb article here, if you want to find out more about Diana Von Furstenberg, her design style and philosophy

Diana also released a sewing pattern of her dress, but it goes for silly money on Etsy and Ebay, so I thought I’d focus on some more affordable contemporary patterns. First of all, there is the Diana wrap dress by Wardrobe By Me. This is definitely inspired by the original (note the name of it!) and even features a version with a collar:


The Ultimate wrap dress by Sew Over It is another wrap dress for jersey knits:


Or how about the Gillian wrap dress by Muse, which has long and short-sleeved options plus wrap top and skirt versions too?

Finally I love this fantastic dress from Victory Patterns. It is described as a fusion between a wrap dress and a kimono. It does look amazing in silk.

Now for the jumpsuits! I’ve seen lots of incarnations of the By Hand Holly jumpsuit online. It has a bias cut bodice with a slight cowl at the neckline. To me it looks perfect for summer.


I think this Vogue jumpsuit is very glamourous. I could see myself wearing this to a party – perhaps it is just the sparkly fabric, but it just says Christmas party to me.


The Sallie Jumpsuit has both a full-length and culottes version. Even better, there are pockets and interesting V-back feature.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my tour of dresses and jumpsuits. There is so much choice out there! I promise my next post I’m going to share something I’ve been making.


Sewing The Seventies – Inspiration Part 3 Bottoms

Have you ever noticed in the WordPress statistics the “Search terms” that people use to get to your site? Well, for some reason there seems to be someone out there on the electrical interweb, who writes profanities into their search engine, but mysteriously ends up at this website. They must be so disappointed! Anyway, I had just realised that I have written “bottoms” in my title, so I shall probably expect this person to turn up again in the next day or so. And yes, I hope they’ll be disappointed again because this post is all about skirt and trouser styles!

In the seventies, flares were undeniably in vogue for trousers and jeans.


I couldn’t resist putting this advert from the seventies in this post. Just looking at it makes me cringe….. did Lee think this advert was good in any way? Why oh why?


Despite, not seeing many flares in clothes shops recently, I have found that there are an abundance of contemporary patterns. I’ve picked out three from different pattern companies:

There’s this pattern with welt pockets from McCalls:


This pattern from Burda is styled more like a pair of jeans, but does have back darts:


And here’s the popular Baste and Gather Birkin Flares:


Now for the skirts; such of wealth of styles here! I suppose the decade started off with mini skirts, a hang-over from the sixties, but maxis and midis were also around too, particularly later in the decade.


My first choice is the Rosari mini-skirt by Pauline Alice. The version in the photo below looks just like the brown suede button-down skirt in the seventies montage above!


Next, I’ve chosen a simple A-line skirt from New Look:


Here are a couple of midi skirts that would look fantastic styled with some knee-high boots. First of all, the Berlin from Orageuse:


And here’s the Polly Straight Skirt from Named Clothing Patterns:


And it wouldn’t be the seventies without maxi skirts. The well-known Gabriola from Sewaholic immediately springs to mind:


If you are after a more modern take on the maxi skirt, there’s the Imogen skirt from StyleArc Patterns, which is designed for knits:


Fancy a bit of pattern drafting? Then here’s a maxi skirt tutorial from So Sew Easy.

Hope you like these selections. Let me know what you think.


Sewing the Seventies – Inspiration Part 2 Tops

Today I’m sharing some my thoughts on contemporary patterns that I think include some features of seventies styles. I’ll start with tops.

In the early seventies, the hippie styles adopted in the sixties were still around. I’ve collected a few photos from the decade – there are loose blouses made from floaty fabrics and tunics of various designs often with an ethnic look – Indian tunics or Hungarian peasant blouses.


There are lots of tunics and blouses that follow this aesthetic available. This Burda blouse is from October last year:


Kate & Rose Patterns are inspired by folkwear styles from Central Europe. They also have some amazing embroidery to complement their sewing patterns. This is the Roza blouse:


The Shearwater Kaftan is a another simple tunic design:


The Indie Sew shop also has a good selection of tunics from independent pattern designers.

Another look from the seventies is big collars and balloon sleeves (sometimes together!) There was also a trend for safari suits.


I actually found it challenging to find shirts and blouses that used this look; it doesn’t seem to be on-trend at the moment. But here are a few that I found:

First of all, this Vogue shirt fits the safari-suit style:


I also love the elegant Cuba Libre shirt from Capital Chic, which has a similar look:


This lekala blouse definitely has balloon sleeves:


And this flamboyant number from Vogue has the two together:




For warm layers, turtle neck sweaters were a popular design.


The Paola Turtleneck Tee from Named Patterns is a good basic design for this type of sweater:


Or if you have a favourite sweatshirt or t-shirt pattern, it is always possible to draft your own. Madalynne has a good method for drafting your own turtleneck sweater here.

Of course, these are just my selections. If you are on the hunt for patterns that follow a particular style, I have found that The Foldline website is a very handy site. The Search Patterns feature allows you to search not just for a pattern designer / company and garment type, but also to search for things like sleeve length, or neckline.


Sewing The Seventies – The Deep Purple Shirt

Although I finished this shirt a while back, there has been the usual lack of daylight for taking decent photos in the last two weeks. Or at least a lack of decent weather combined with moments away from work. The winter gloom seems to be a common moan for us UK bloggers in the darker months, but we’re moving away from the winter season and I hope there’ll be more opportunities to get outside, take photos and indeed not fear hypothermia in the process.

Anyway, on with the topic of this post, which is my second make for Sewing The Seventies. I made the shirt from Simplicity 5196. I’ve already made a sweater using this pattern, so why not go for the shirt too?

Simplicity 5196

There are some great details on this shirt – the big collar, the epaulettes and the little patch pocket. I chose a purple rayon fabric for my version, which was a very cheap fabric (if I recall about £4.50 from Fabric Land), but it has a very nice drape, even if it is a bit prone to looking crumpled. I blame it on needing to wearing a jumper and coat to get me to my photo location, because that shirt wasn’t so crumpled when I put it on in the morning!

Simplicity 5196 Shirt

I made very little in terms of alterations to the pattern, merely widening the back body a little, to accommodate my wider shoulders, which is a typical pattern alteration for me. I did change a couple of things during the construction though. I added interfacing to the front button and button-hole bands. Most patterns seem to include this, so I’m not sure why Simplicity 5196 does not. I just felt more comfortable including the interfacing; it makes be feel more confident with adding the buttonholes. The only other detail I changed was accidental. I fixed my patch pocket to the right side of the shirt, whereas the instructions add it to the left-side. I did realise my mistake, but a little belatedly and thought that it could be more disastrous to change it than leave the pocket where it was.

Simplicity 5196 Shirt

All in all, I really enjoyed this make. I also feel more on solid ground with wovens and particularly items like shirts. I’ve been making a few knit items recently and I still feel anxious when I make those.

I’ve worn the shirt a few times now to work teamed with skirts and also at the weekends with jeans. It works for the casual and the more dressed up look too. My favourite thing about this shirt are the lilac buttons, which I think are rather a statement.

Simplicity 5196 Shirt

I observed something as I was looking around some clothes shops the other day. I periodically take a look now for inspiration, since I no longer buy anything in them. I noticed that big collars are simply non-existent, the little collar or mandarin collar is everywhere, but sadly dramatic collars are completely absent. No fear, I can roll with this alternative look! I hope, unlike in my youth there are no fashion police and I won’t be arrested!

Simplicity 5196 Shirt





Sewing the Seventies – Inspiration Part 1 Fabrics

Welcome to the first of my inspiration posts for Sewing The Seventies. I’ve had a long look at fabrics that can be bought on line (window shopping is great!) and here’s a selection of available fabrics that I think reflect the seventies aesthetic.

I’ve tried to show a wide selection including both wovens and knits, a range of prices and fabrics that would work for dresses, trousers, skirts and tops. I even tried to include fabrics from shops other than in the UK, but I’m not an expert on these, so forgive me if there aren’t too many in the suggestions below. My main aim was just to show that it is possible to find some seventies-looking fabrics out there and if you find some good alternatives out there, leave a comment below!

First of all here are the floral offerings. I think it really is the combinations of colours that mark these fabrics out for me; combinations of browns, mustards and purple that you don’t tend to see too often these days.


1. Cotton Poplin from Minerva Crafts

2. Cotton Jersey from Mood Fabrics

3. Lightweight cotton with Lycra from Mood Fabrics

4. Viscose crepe from Truro Fabrics

5. Cotton poplin from Tessuti Fabrics

6. Viscose Stretch Crepe from Stone Fabrics

I’m not sure all those geometric patterns are necessarily just applicable to the seventies. Number 6 below is definitely more a mod design and number 1 I’ve seen made up into a 1940s style dress, but make a jumpsuit out of it and it is pure seventies!


1. Linen and viscose from Fabric Godmother

2. Rayon from CentrePoint Fabrics

3. Cotton Jersey from Minerva Crafts

4. Silk Organza from Tessuti Fabrics

5. Silk Charmeuse from Britex Fabrics

6. Cotton poly blend jersey from Girl Charlee

Chevrons and Stripes

Chevrons and stripes were very popular in the 1970s. Really wish the photo above was in colour! There are lots of striped fabrics about and a whole selection of chevron knits at Girl Charlee. I particular like the Missoni fabrics (see number 3 below) – I just wish they weren’t so expensive.


1. Viscose Elastane Jersey from Stone Fabrics

2. Cotton Jersey from Fabric Godmother

3. Missoni Knit from Minerva Crafts

4. Cotton Elastane Rib from Stoff and Stil

Paisley fabrics are great for tunics and creating the boho looks of the early 1970s. My favourite is the Stof and Stil paisley (number 2) which is a border style print.

paisley1. Polyester Jersey from White Tree Fabrics

2. Woven cotton from Stoff and Stil

3. Silk cotton from Shaukat

4. Cotton Lawn from Truro Fabrics

70s Tartan

The following group show bottom-weight fabrics. Corduroy is a great choice for flares or dungaree dresses. Tartan was also popular in the seventies, why not go punk with Royal Stewart tartan (number 2).


1. Needlecord from Croft Mill

2. Wool polyester blend from Minerva Crafts

3. Wool tartan from Stone Fabrics

4. Jumbo corduroy from Plush Addict


My Seventies Pattern Stash

Today, I’m going to take you on a tour of my pattern stash (or at least the 1970s patterns in it). Over the last few years I have collected, mostly from charity shops, patterns that interest me. I sometimes pick a pattern from Ebay or Etsy if I am particularly keen on it and it is hard to get elsewhere.

Maudella 5825 (no date)

I love the artwork on the front of this pattern. The lady in the sun glasses looks so cool. I also like the fabric combination that she is wearing – very bold and very seventies!


Simplicity 6576 (1974)

I particularly like View 4 on this pattern, where there is a different fabric for the inset at the waist and the collar. Although, I would like to make this blouse, I’ve not yet spotted the ideal fabric combination yet, so it’s a make that may sit on the back-burner for a while.

Simplicity 6576

Simplicity 5196 (1972)

This is one of my favourites. The pattern contains a shirt, bias-cut skirts and a turtleneck jumper. I do like it when I see a good-value pattern that contains a ready-made outfit. I have already made up a version of the sweater here, but this won’t be the only time I make something from this pattern, you can be sure!

Simplicity 5196

Style 2680 (1979)

This pattern is one of the few patterns that I have actually tried. It wasn’t a particularly successful make, because the fabric wasn’t good quality. I would like to make another top from this pattern as I liked the casual style and it was a comfortable top to wear, even though I didn’t wear it much.

Style 2680

Butterick 3065 (no date)

This is a pattern I got from Etsy. There don’t seem to be many jeans patterns from the seventies out there to pick up, so I grabbed this one when I saw it. I suppose it is because those of us who sew jeans are clearly mad and gluttons for punishment. Making a pair of jeans is a serious amount of sewing; they certainly aren’t a “whip-it-up-in-an hour” make.

I like that there are two views on this pattern and the button-fly in view A is an interesting design detail.

Butterick 3065

Butterick 5024 (no date)

These shirts are from the late seventies and I can see how much the styles have changed. The collars are less eccentric for starters. But this pattern is a good classic shirt pattern and comes with mandarin collar and pocket variations.

Butterick 5024

Style 1522 (1976)

This was a charity buy for a few pence. There are some patterns from the seventies that on initial look don’t look too inspiring. I suppose this is one of them. It’s surprising how the choice of fabrics can influence how I feel about a pattern. I just can’t see myself wearing the striped green or gingham version at all. But hey, a tunic in an indigo chambray, teamed with a belt, as in View 3 I think would look good. Could a version be made in a knit fabric, with a bit of tweaking to make it more body hugging around the hips and waist? I can see some possibilities in this pattern after all.

Style 1522

Simplicity 6451 (1974)

This pattern falls into the same category as the one above. Initial look and I’m not sure about this at all. I like green and brown, but these shades are really putting me off and this pattern is giving off polyester vibes for me. Plus, seventies ideas about layering are creeping in here. I had a teacher at primary school who used to wear turtle necks with unbuttoned shirts over the top, and the brown outfit is reminding me of her!

But I do like the dress in the middle. I think it could make a good summer dress. I can see it in a linen or linen/cotton, perhaps in a vibrant shade.

The trousers are a little odd though. Whoever puts a back zip in trousers, surely that must be inconvenient?

Simplicity 6451

Simplicity 5561 (1973)

This pattern could be either an elegant evening dress or a thrown-on summer outfit. Trouble is, although I like both designs I think these are patterns are for the lifestyle I don’t have. I can imagine wearing the maxi version to a evening event or ball during the winner. The jacket would work so well as an extra layer. I’m sure I would wear the shorter-length version all through the hot months of July and August in Italy, but sadly I don’t live there. I can dream though……

Simplicity 5561

Simplicity 7863 (1977)

A seventies classic here, this pattern is a wrap skirt. I’m sure this would be a super easy make considering it is a “How To Sew” pattern. I’m actually quite drawn to the View 3 variation with the extra ruffle, not sure why!


I’m come to the end of my seventies hoard, although I felt sure I had some more – they must be on long-term loan to my Mum.

Do you have any seventies patterns in your collection? Do they just languish there, or do you have a favourite that you have sewn several times? What draws you to rescue an unloved seventies pattern from the box in the charity shop?

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Sewing The Seventies


In a well-timed coincidence the Monthly Stitch‘s challenge for February is to sew something from the decade you are born in. If you are a seventies child and like me, a monthly stitcher, you might be interested in the “Sewing the Seventies” challenge I’m running here. There’s even the opportunity to win a prize!

Sewing The Seventies – The Launch

Well that vote certainly did not go as we expected! Which is great 🙂 Looking at those results however…don’t think you’ve gotten off from those other two options 😉 Se get hunting because in February we’ll be sewing patterns from the decade you were born in. To the thrift shop! (Or Mum’s stash…) #TMSthroughtheDecades #TheMonthlyStitch

via Announcing the February Challenge! — The Monthly Stitch