Then and Now: ’70s-Style Patterns

ICYMI, the 70’s look is huge this spring. Whether you’re wearing the decade’s looks for the first time or revisiting the fashions of your youth, come hop on the ’70s love train with us. Let’s take a then-and-now look at seventies sewing patterns:

Wear-to-work dresses: Simple lines and a close fit.

Seventies sewing patterns then and now on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Click here for Vogue Patterns dress V8786.

Pants and jumpsuits: The wider the leg the better.

Seventies sewing patterns then and now on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Click here for Vogue Patterns jumpsuit V9116.

Tops: Clingy is best. Bows are big.

Seventies sewing patterns then and now on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Click here for Kwik Sew top K4027. You can easily add the scarf around the neck from the same fabric.

Skirts: Wraps are always right.

Seventies sewing patterns then and now on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Click here for McCall’s skirt M7129.
These three current patterns have a '70s vibe. M7157 halter dress, B6178 culottes, V9076 dress.
These three current patterns have a ’70s vibe. M7157 halter dress, B6178 culottes, V9076 dress.

Will you be adding a little ’70s influence to your spring and summer sewing? I have a pair of culottes all cut out and ready to be sewn. What’s up next on your sewing table?

Question: Are you able to successfully pin images from this blog? Do you end up getting a jpg image that doesn’t link back to the post? Or do you get seemingly dozens of images and have to search high and low for the one you want to pin? Can you please test it and let me know in the comments a) if you were successful or not; and b) what browser you use. Thanks!

A look at '70s-style sewing patterns then and now, from the McCall Pattern Company

If the Women of Mad Men Sewed & Wore Our Patterns in 1969

Sob!, the last episodes of Mad Men are upon us. Have you enjoyed this trip back to the 1960s as much as I have? Having previously covered Downton Abbey, Girls and Scandal here on this blog, I’m ready to play our little pattern imagination game with the women of Mad Men circa 1969.

The pattern Joan of Mad Men would sew for herself in 1969. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.

JOAN: My guess is that Joan, being the incredibly resourceful and attention-to-detail type that she is, would rely on sewing her own clothes as the best way to achieve a perfect fit for her voluptuous figure. You bet she’d have a sloper. Joan would have chosen this Valentino for Vogue Patterns design: The minimal gathers at the waist flatter her slim torso while the bodice seaming draws the attention to her pretty face. Yeah, Joan knows how to work the details.

What Sally Draper of Mad Men would sew for herself in 1969. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.

SALLY: I see Sally as a future Jenna Lyons. You know she has creativity in her blood. Maybe there was an artsy home ec teacher at her boarding school who encouraged Sally to express herself through fashion design. (I hope some kindly adult pays a little attention to her.) Sally would have sewn this Butterick jumpsuit in a bright floral corduroy. Not having been taught about nap layouts in home ec yet, she would rip it up and throw it away in a fit when she realized she cut the pattern pieces with the nap going in different directions.

Mad Men: What Betty Draper would sew for herself in 1969.  From the McCall Pattern Company blog.

BETTY: Betty would be an angry sewer. Mad that she has to spend time making costumes for the kids’ school plays. Mad that she can’t find drapes she likes, so now she has to make them. Mad that Henry says she spends too much money on clothes, so now she has to show him she can be more frugal by making her own clothes. Betty would secretly adore this Vogue Patterns dress design by Patou and would make it out of wool crepe bought on a trip to the garment district in NYC. The outside of the dress would look beautifully sewn, but the inside would be a mess. Just like Betty.

Mad Men: What Peggy would sew for herself in 1969. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.
PEGGY: Peggy probably would not enjoy sewing or spend much time doing it. For one, it reminds her of her mother. And she had to take home ec in Catholic school and she hated the nun who taught it. And she’s way too busy at work to have time for it, plus cutting out patterns on her apartment floor is miserably uncomfortable. But every now and then she gets the desire to sew something unique that says “I’m Peggy Olsen, goddammit.” Peggy would have made this little Butterick babydoll dress pattern specifically to turn some heads at client cocktail parties. Because, cleavage.

Mad Men: What Megan would sew for herself in 1969. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.
MEGAN: Megan has a little more time now for sewing in between auditions, and sometimes she may need to make something unique for a character, you know, to impress the casting directors. Plus California fashion in the late ’60 and ’70s was about individuality and wearing clothes that said “hey, I’m comfortable with my perfect body.” Megan would have loved this Rudi Gernreich for Vogue Patterns dress, and she’d have sewn it out of the boldest poly chiffon she could find in the LA garment district.

Mad Men: What Dawn would sew for herself in 1969. From the McCall Pattern Company blog.

DAWN: [4/13/15 update] A reader felt I was remiss in not including Dawn in this post, so I asked her to choose a pattern for Dawn to be added here. Another character I’ll miss when the show signs off all too soon. “The character Dawn played by Teyonah Parris is conservative, so the Butterick pattern 5351 from September 1969 on the Vintage Patterns Catalog Pages board [on McCall’s Pinterest page] would be a good pick.” —Donna

We hope you enjoyed this journey back to 1969, when—imagine this!—fabric stores were plentiful and sewing was taught in school and not on YouTube. Will you be watching Mad Men’s final season?

 

Style a Celeb Instagram contest: Our Style a Celeb Instagram contest just kicked off on Tuesday and it goes through 4/14, so there’s plenty of time for you to enter. It’s loads of fun to do, and an easy way to win $100 worth of patterns. Read all the contest details here.

If the women of Mad Men sewed their own clothes in 1969. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Have You Ever Made a Prom Dress?

In New Girl season 2, we flashbacked to Jess's high school prom and the dress she and her mom made together. Photo courtesy of Fox.
Of course Jess made her own prom dress, with her mom’s help. New Girl photo courtesy of Fox.

This is the time of year when high school girls and guys are thinking ahead to their proms and what they’re going to wear. Which is almost as important as who you’re gonna go with. Sewing your own prom dress has long been a thing and we’ve been providing prom dress patterns for decades. Take a look at these prom dress patterns from the past:

McCall's prom dress patterns from the 1980s. Brooke Shields on the right.
McCall’s prom dress patterns from the 1980s. Brooke Shields on the right. Not sure what’s going on with her hair. Was “bird’s nest hair” an ’80s thing?
Pink prom dress patterns from the 1950s and 1960s. The McCall Pattern Company
Pink prom dress patterns from the 1950s and 1960s. Why yes, you can have the next dance with lil ol’ me.
Glam prom dress patterns from the 1950s and 1960s. The McCall Pattern Company.
Glam prom dress patterns from the 1950s and 1960s. Precursor to Elsa the Ice Princess.

Have you ever sewn a prom dress? Either for yourself or someone else? We’d love to hear about it. I adore this short prom dress that Robin, who is a senior illustrator/technical assistant here at McCall’s, made for her daughter a few years ago using McCall’s M6349:

Prom dress made using McCall's M6349

I visited some shopping sites for prom dresses just now, and it seems “beauty pageant contestant” is the look for 2015.  Couldn’t we have a return to the prom styles of the 1950s, when our moms and grandmothers were girls and the more petticoats, the better? Those types of dresses just seem so quintessentially American prom to me. My own prom dress—which I did not sew—was a pink ruffly mess. Do you have fond memories of your prom dress?

If you are sewing a prom dress this year, either for yourself or for your daughter, take a look at all the patterns and inspiration we’ve pinned for you on this Pinterest board. And remember to share your prom creations with us on Instagram and Facebook! We like to live vicariously.

Follow The McCall Pattern Company’s board Prom 2015 Patterns on Pinterest.