It's Sew '70s Again
McCall’s, Butterick, Simplicity. If those names bring back memories of shuffling through giant laminated pattern books and bolts of fabric with your mother at the fabric store, then you’ll appreciate this new Vintage Patterns Wiki, which has over 83,000 patterns dating prior to1992.
Just click on the cover and browse the list of pattern vendors who sell the originals for $5.99 to $15. (Original 1960’s prices averaged 50¢-75¢.) Still reasonable 50 years later! And some styles, from the '50s-'70s, are incredibly retro chic.
The Senior Winter Formal dress that my mother sewed for me was so much more than a dress. It was a transformational moment.
My mom and I got into a huge battle in the fabric store. She disapproved of the dress patterns I kept picking out. "Too sexy, too inappropriate," she would say, and then try and talk me into something flouncy and floral like the dress she made for me for Junior Prom.
But I dug in my heels and, unbelievably, she finally relented to this slinky Vogue Oscar de la Renta pattern that I fell in love with. I helped her pin the tissue-thin pattern and cut the fabric with pinking shears. It was difficult to sew because of the fabric I picked out - Qiana, ice blue with sparkles!
It took my mom two weeks to finish it. When I put on the floor-length gown, I never felt so striking and beautiful. It was so sophisticated. I felt like I should have been walking the red carpet.
She brought out a shawl and told me to wear it the whole time.
Sorry Mom, I wore it out of the house but the shawl never made it out of the car!
When my date and I got to the Winter Formal at The Queen Mary in Long Beach, the dress had changed me.
“This place isn’t good enough for this dress,” I thought. “I should be at the Oscars.”