Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fashion and Fabrics: Sewing Vintage Styles from the 1960s

The image above from the early 1960's illustrates how a girl could plan her wardrobe around a single sewing pattern or style, just by using assorted fabrics and accessories.  Getting mileage out of a simple, classic silhouette was seen in many features of that time.  These examples are great ways to find inspiration today when sewing, and to help date an outfit from the early 1960's by the garment cut, silhouette, fabric and trim.

Taking simple trims, like the lace motifs shown here was popular throughout the 60's.  With only a simple sheath, a great fashion statement can be created.   These spring and summer looks sport crisp linen fabrics with sharp white lace applique and linear trim texture for an 'icing' effect.

 These fun looks are part of a 2 dart shift or 4 dart bodice dress designs.  The placement of linear applique was selected to elongate the figure and add slimming lines to looser styles.  These easy to sew silhouettes were the backbone of any girl's wardrobe--a "make it in one day" styles. 

When looking for vintage patterns, those new to sewing should seek out these styles.  They often have great instructions, which can be used with a good sewing manual to create great outfits more easily. For advanced sewing projects, upgrade the textiles, lining and trims for a sophisticated style that can be easily altered for a perfect fit. 

The pattern styles shown above may seem vintage, but they can be found currently in modern sewing patterns that have a more current fit with a wider range in sizes.  The following patterns are currently available in the Butterick catalog.  Pattern  5746 is a classic darted bodice with fitted skirt (you add the sash).   This pattern can also be used to create a perfect fit body pattern, which is something you may want to have if you sew from vintage patterns and need to make alterations.  Patterns 5277  and 5407 are also darted, but without waistline seam, and the addition of cap sleeves.  Other fitted sheath dresses can be found in  Butterick 4386 and 5235.  These have both bust and torso darts for a slender fit. A classic shift silhouette is Butterick 3880, that has a bustline dart for upper body fit.  Looser shift styles without darts can be found in Butterick 5211, and 5269.

You will find cool fabrics from the vintage sellers on Etsy and my own online vintage sewing shop: Pintuck Sew.  Drop by, you may find the inspiration to sew up a quick dress!

illustrations are from: Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book: 1961 and 1970.