Friday, May 26, 2017

Sewing Part 3: The Fashion of It

Sewing was a part of my life in the 1970s. The struggle with cutting out my patterns was real. I had to use the floor of our living room as my cutting table, and...well...we had this cat named Frisky or Friskie. She was ornery a spirited kitty cat. The minute I would put my fabric on the floor and she heard the pattern rustling, Frisky would pop up out of nowhere and race to the middle of my efforts, to rearrange the fabric and tear the pattern. 

The fabrics I used most, in sewing my clothing then, were double knits, seersucker and dotted swiss.  I also used a pinwale corduroy (only) twice because it was difficult to keep the nap positioned correctly. Too much trouble! 

I made this short sleeve jacket from seersucker fabric and this pattern:


I made two corduroy suits (unlined jackets). Shown in the black and white polaroid photo is the tan/gold color suit, my favorite (and my mom's, too). I made it from this pattern:
Just me and my twelve string

Other patterns in my stash included this dress with butterfly sleeves (not sure what they were actually called). I made the short version and loved how it looked and felt on body. I made a few dresses from dotted swiss fabrics and this pattern. Most of the swiss fabric I used was flocked. The sleeves excited me!!! Is that so wrong?

I also made a few smock tops to wear with my elephant legged jeans, a trend that girls were wearing my senior year in high school. I don't think I have any photos of me wearing one, but one stands out in my head--a blue gingham print.

I also made two prom dresses, but I'm not sure what pattern I used on the first one. I still have the dress.

My final prom dress was a halter style dress. I loved halter tops then. My prom dress that year was not fancy and made out the middle view with a dotted swiss.

Finally, I didn't make this dress, but my Grandma Minnie Powell offered to make my wedding dress. She had made so many of my childhood dresses and my blue carnival dress seen here. Of course, I said YES!

Wedding dress made with love by my Grandma, Minnie Powell. (This was right before I "marched" down the aisle.) She also made the floor length veil and headpiece, as well as, a garter.  

Here's the other half of the photo. I'm with my mom, Joyce Powell, in a dinky room/closet that was chosen for my dressing room at a church. 

The End!


Pat Hatt said...

You sure could make it all. I'm sure making one's own prom dress would be waaay cheaper than those of today.

JoJo said...

WOW! You really had mad skills with making clothes!!! And the wedding gown is a beautiful heirloom.

Susan Kane said...

Wow! I must have been shopping with you! Cutting out a pattern took some effort, and double knits were a blessing at the time. Loved those patterns! My mom had them all until a flood ruined them.

Aw, the 70s...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa - gosh you were clever - I suppose for a while I kept up with you - but rather faded as the years went by. Brought back lots of memories of Simplicity patterns, choosing materials (always cotton or corduroy) and making things up - not terribly well ... but they were ok!!

Wonderful to see your photos and to read some of your memories - your mother and grandmother ... lovely - thanks .. cheers Hilary

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Teresa! I enjoyed your three part series on sewing. I haven't sewn in decades, and your posts brought back so many memories. I sewed during high school, mostly thanks to my Home Economics courses, which I loved. I was blessed with grandmothers and great aunts who did all kinds of things with fabrics. I learned to sew on an old Singer treadle machine that chain stitched. Handy when I had to rip out parts. I sewed my wedding down and gowns for my three sisters. Since it was a summer wedding in Nova Scotia, my sister Donnie was in yellow dotted Swiss and my two younger sisters in light green dotted Swiss. Your photos of patterns and results remind me that I did love to sew. Maybe I should tackle it again. You looked adorable in your wedding gown!

Shalet Jimmy said...

I loved the dress with butterfly sleeves. Maybe, I would like to try that one...