Monday, August 31, 2009

Early 1970s Diane Sawyer Fashion Story

Early 1970s fashion story from Mademoiselle magazine featuring a pre-ABC News Diane Sawyer when she was a very young reporter for a Louisville, Kentucky news station!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book Giveaway - We Have a Winner!

After (literally) throwing all of your names in a hat.... is the winner:

Thanks so much to everyone who participated! I will be having another sewing/vintage fashion book giveaway very soon, so please stay tuned!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vintage Patterns of the Week

Here's my weekly round-up of fave patterns that I've found while browsing around the internet!

1960s "granny" dress designed by Norma Tullo for the Butterick Young Designers series. From my own collection.

I've been obsessed with 1970s turbans lately. This is a rare turban pattern designed by Jean Muir for Vogue. Found on eBay.

Funky 1970s pantsuit & dress pattern. I love the peplum jacket and the ruched shoulder insets and the puff sleeves! Found on eBay.

1950s mail order dress pattern with really lovely scalloped details. Found on eBay.

Sexy, bare-shouldered 1950s halter dress. I love the flounce skirt and mini cape! Found on eBay.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Simplicity Fashion News ~ May 1972

All 16 pages of the May 1972 edition of Simplicity Fashion News for your viewing pleasure (click the images to enlarge them)!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vintage Sewing Pattern Ads

The first ad (a collaboration between Rit Dye & Simplicity) was found in a late 1960s Mademoiselle magazine. The following McCall's ads are from 2 different 1970s Redbook magazines. Be sure to click on the images so you can read the text from each ad - it's definitely worth it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Latest Etsy Faves

As usual, there are too many drool-worthy objects of desire on Etsy than my tiny wallet can accommodate!

"Uber Cool 80s Inspired Floppy Top" by veronicadarling. Bright 1980s geometric fabric + empire waist babydoll silhouette + flutter sleeves = LOVE!

"1970s Collage Luminary" by ArtsyChica. Perfect for those of us who are obsessed with the 1970s!

"Upcycled Red White and Blue Mini Briefcase" by GetReadySetGO. I love how this seller breathes new life into vintage suitcases, plus the Mod 1960s vibe on this is very strong!

Cute Alice in Wonderland glittery resin bottlecap necklace by Coolstuffforsale. She is having a huge store closing sale, and this is only $7.00 right now!

Amazing over sized hand knit "bow in crimson" by Softspoken. This seller has tons & tons of enviable style!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I found some great vintage patterns at a thrift store today, which doesn't happen too often! My only complaint - this particular thrift store likes to mark across the front of the envelopes with a black china pencil.

This one escaped the wrath of the black china pencil! I often find vintage patterns that are in girl's sizes that I really like. I've had success drafting & sizing a few of them up to my size and I'm hoping to do just that with this one!

This pattern somehow escaped the wrath of the china pencil as well! If time allows, I hope to make this cute overalls & jacket outfit for my son when he is officially a toddler.

1970s hooded coat pattern. I have a bunch of wooden toggle buttons that I need to find a use for!

I hate to admit it, but I grabbed this pattern solely for the E.T. hot iron transfer that was inside.

I'm a big fan of 1970s high waist wide-leg pants! Plus, the little topper jacket is SO CUTE (although I would lengthen it quite a bit).

From the 1970s McCall's "Marlo's Corner" pattern series. I've always loved empire waist dresses, especially ones with a bohemian flare like this one. If I'd found this pattern a little earlier in my pregnancy, it would have made a cute maternity dress!

"Meditation or Guru Shirt" pattern from 1968. This is so great! I love how it's modeled as a mini-dress in View 1.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book Giveaway!!!

I'm having a giveaway for this awesome (out of print & very obscure) book, RAGS by Peter Burden.

It was published in 1987 in the United Kingdom and tells the fictional story of Leo Freeman, a man who establishes a successful string of fashion boutiques in 1960s Carnaby street London. It's one of those trashy, guilty pleasure books (in the vein of Valley of the Dolls), but is a really fun read if you love 1960s British boutique fashion! If you are interested in winning this book and having it shipped to you for FREE, please leave a comment. I will randomly choose a winner to be announced next Sunday the 30th!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vintage Patterns of the Week!

Feast your eyes on these lovelies! :)

Rare late 1960s Rudi Gernreich sewing pattern for a babydoll dress. Modeled by Peggy Moffitt! Found on eBay.

1960s Butterick Bourique design. I love the wide midriff and surplice neckline! Found on eBay.

Summer is quickly coming to a close, but I still love this 1970s vogue sundress pattern with a very bare back. Found on eBay.

1960s Space-Age do I love thee? Let me count the many, many ways! Found on eBay.

Glam early 1960s dress with a draped front and back cowl neckline. Found on eBay.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stuck in the 1970s (and Proud of It?)

I'm beginning to realize that, when it comes to fashion eras and (especially) home sewing, I am stuck in the 1970s. I would say that, out of the hundreds of vintage patterns that I've hoarded over the years, about 80% of them are from the 1970s, 15% are from the (late) 1960s and the other 5% are from the 1950s and the 1980s-on. And I have absolutely nothing from the 1940s.

In the light of the Mad Men late 1950s/early 1960s fashion craze of fitted sheath dresses, bouffant skirts and cocktail dresses, I have really tried to branch out. I've spent a lot of time lately trolling through Etsy and Ebay searching for vintage patterns like these, and I've bookmarked lots of them. I admire that style - it's classic and feminine. I actually even look good in that style. And yet, my latest pattern purchases have been from the 1970s:

The Commercial Pattern Archive at the University of Rhode Island is even offering a week of free access to their database of home sewing patterns that dates all the way back to the 1800s. And which decade do I excitedly explore first? No surprise here - the 1970s.

So why do I feel guilty about this? Why should I apologize for loving bellbottoms and pointy-collared shirts and polyester disco dresses and hippie-chic clothing sooooo much? Maybe I feel guilty about being so drawn to 1970s fashion because the 1970s are universally looked at as the ugliest and lamest decade of fashion in recent history. Even Betsey Johnson despised the 1970s (and I LOVE Betsey Johnson!). Although each decade (especially the 1980s) each has its share of various fashion faux pas and awful trends, the 1970s has always been vigorously attacked and criticized. Fashions from the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s are "classic." The 1970s are just plain "tacky." So, because I love 1970s fashion, does this mean that I as a person am tacky and, worst of all, have horrible taste in clothing?

Although I was born in 1977 and wasn't even truly aware of my surroundings during the 2 brief years that I actually lived during the 1970s, I am extremely nostalgic for this tacky decade, especially its music, movies, television and fashion. My mom was a high school student during the 1970s. She and her sisters did a lot of home sewing when she was a teenager. As a kid, I loved thumbing through the pages of her high school year books just to look at the hairstyles and clothing. The photos from my parent's wedding were another point of fascination for me - lime green bridesmaid dresses - I thought they were so cool! My favorite movie is Harold and Maude, and I love the Cat Stevens soundtrack. Both firmly stuck in the 1970s. My all-time favorite band - Sparks - recorded my all-time favorite album - Kimono My House - in the 1970s. When I was in high school, I had an unhealthy obsession with The Brady Bunch. I was a big fan of Mrs. Brady's shag haircut and the Brady girls' outfits, especially during the last year of the show (1974). The movie Dazed and Confused was also released when I was in high school - I watched it a dozen times then and I've watched it a dozen times since then.

So I have come to the conclusion that, at 32, and after 12 years of serious home sewing, I think it's too late to change. But, you see, I really don't even want to - my personality and personal tastes were solidified a long time ago. I like what I like, and surely one can't apologize for that?

The Fashion Makers: An Inside Look at America's Leading Designers

This is a fantastic book! Originally published in 1978 it is long out of print, but available used (and pretty cheap!) on Amazon and Alibris. I was fortunate enough to find my copy at a used book store in 2001 - it was a library discard! I think this was the very first book exclusively dedicated to the subject of American fashion designers. What's really great about this book are the numerous intimate black-&-white photos, most of which capture the designers out of their studios and at home with family and friends. There are the usual suspects - Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Geoffrey Beene, Diane Von Furstenberg, Halston, Bill Blass, Oscar de le Renta - as well as designers who I had personally never heard of before reading this book.

Stephen Burrows having lots of fun at a sewing machine.

Creepy photo of Rudi Gernreich with a mannequin leg.

Holly Harp draping a new design.

Kasper striking a pose with a dress form.

Halston and 1970s model.

Edith Head hard at work sketching.

Calvin Klein, looking very cool here.