Sewing Through the 1970’s: fabric and works in progress

I’ve been working on several 1970’s garments using two of the 70’s patterns I recently posted about. So Far I’ve completed a mock up of McCall’s 3734, view A, and am nearly finished the shorts pattern from Simplicity 9487. On the weekend one of my sisters and I went fabric shopping and I picked up fabric for some of these projects. I also finally had some luck at the thrift store after going through a depressing dry spell – my sisters are totally my good luck charms! I always seem to find either Agatha Christie books or cool vintage items while out with them. πŸ™‚

Anyway, this post isn’t really a full review of either of these patterns, but I did want to write a little bit about them and my progress on these garments, plus share the fabric I’m planning on using for some of my upcoming 1970’s sewing projects – and, of course, show you what I found at the thrift store!

First, here is the mock up of McCall’s 3734.

(Click to enlarge images)

I’m not sure how I feel about the fabric/pattern combination, which is why I’m considering it a mock up. By the time I finished making this dress last week, I couldn’t stand the way it looked. It’s been hanging up for days now though and I’m starting to like it more and more, though I’m still not totally happy with how it looks on me. I think part of what keeps throwing me off is that since I had so little fabric left to make this dress and really had to piece things together and get creative with pattern placement, I wasn’t able to pattern match this dress and the mis-matched checks are glaringly obvious to me whenever I look at it. Also, I didn’t do the neatest sewing job on this dress, which is my fault for insisting on sewing while sick with a stomach bug and unable to fully concentrate. Silly me!

Another downside to not having much of the fabric left is that I had to use a different fabric for the underside of the collar, which is kind of obvious if the collar flips up, because it’s white. Also, since this fabric is really sheer and I didn’t have enough left to line the dress, unless I can find or make somewhat matching undergarments, I can’t wear this dress in public – which is why it had to be photographed on a hanger, instead of on yours truly! Yikes! I love this dress pattern though and will definitely be making it again in a different fabric. I really enjoyed sewing all the little details that make this dress so pretty, and and I know that once I make it again in another fabric, I’ll love it even more!

Before I show you the 1970’s shorts I’m currently working on, I have to show you the fabric I picked up for some of these upcoming projects!


From top to bottom: 3 meters dark orange broadcloth in a poly/cotton blend, 2 1/2 meters burnt orange corduroy, 2 1/2 meters of an almost mustard yellow corduroy, and just over a meter of black, grey and red knit fabric – sadly, this was all they had left of this lovely fabric, or else I would have bought more!

I wish I’d been able to buy more of these fabrics, or even been able to pick up some of the other gorgeous fabric they had at Fabricland over the weekend, but my sewing budget is depressingly small at the moment, so I’ll just have to get over it and be glad I was able to get the great fabric I did – which I really am, because I love these! Luckily garments from the 1970’s don’t tend to require the enormous amounts of fabric involved in say, a 1950’s dress!

I’m currently using some of the burnt orange corduroy pictured above to make the super sweet 70’s short shorts from Simplicity 9487:

(Click to enlarge images)

These are close to being done! I have to finish a few more seems with bias binding, and add the waistband and cuffs, oh, and remove the basting stitches from the zipper and iron the heck out of them again – this fabric keeps getting super wrinkly! Can I just take a second to mention how amazing it is that these shorts actually have eight darts?! Four in the front and four in the back! Darts are something I’ve definitely never seen in modern shorts!

I really like this pattern so far, it’s super easy and from my last fitting, they seem to fit well, too, though I’m not sure how I’ll feel about them, body image wise, once they’re done, or if I’ll be brave enough to photograph myself wearing them. I’m hoping that I’ll love them and will be able to just say “screw it”, take some photos and really show them off, though I’d like to have made theΒ  blouse and knit top from this pattern first so I can wear them together as a complete outfit – that would be fun! Though that knit fabric I bought definitely won’t match! I really should go back to Fabricland to try and find a knit that would work a bit better for this particular outfit, and maybe some more fabric for the blouse as well…

The one thing that is annoying me about this project is the fabric – it has all these little snags in it that I didn’t notice before buying it, some of which are visible on the right side of the fabric. Ugh. I tried my best to work around them, but it hasn’t been easy! Luckily I still have over a meter of this burnt orange corduroy left, just in case I decide to remake the shorts, or even to try and squeeze a skirt out of remainder of the fabric. As annoyed as I am with the snags, I really love this colour and the fabric itself is super soft and will be really cozy to wear! Paired with some thicker tights, I could probably even get away with wearing them in the fall! I’d love to make some sweet 1970’s trousers in this fabric, too. Maybe I should have made the shorts in the mustard-y corduroy and saved the orange for trousers, hmmm…oh well, too late now!

And now for the cool thrift store find – a small bag of buckles!

vintage buckles

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I’m planning on attempting to make belts to go with some of the vintage inspired garments I make, so I’m always keeping my eye out for buckles. These tend to be pretty hard to track down in thrift stores (at least for me!), and can be pricey on sites like Etsy and eBay, especially once you factor in shipping costs, so finding a bag full of these cute little guys for $6 was really awesome and made me way more excited than it probably should have! Some of these are kind of odd and I’m pretty sure they aren’t all buckles (though I could be wrong, what do you think?), but there’s definitely a nice little collection here and it was such a fabulous find!

I’m not sure what I’ll sew once I’ve completed the shorts, and am having trouble deciding which patterns I should match up with the rest of the fabric, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out – though, that said, I’d appreciate any suggestions you might have! I plan on sewing the patterns mentioned in this post today, plus these two, and McCall’s 4215, in the coming weeks/months. During this time, I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more great 70’s patterns (and appropriate fabric, too!) and will be updating all of you on these fun projects as I go along! And hopefully with some more intense searching in terms of pattern and fabric, I’ll finally be able to make the Barbara Hulanicki/Biba inspired dress I’d planned to have made for my birthday (so sad that didn’t happen in time, but what can you do, right?). Fingers crossed that particular dream dress will be a reality by the end of this year!

At the very least, this foray into 1970’s sewing should be a lot of fun, I love 70’s fashion and the thought of sewing myself a small wardrobe of 70’s clothes makes me ridiculously happy!

What about all of you, what have you been sewing? Have you ever sewn something from the 1970’s? Which pattern do you think I should attempt next – and with what fabric? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


8 thoughts on “Sewing Through the 1970’s: fabric and works in progress

  1. Lots of fun updates here! If I were you, I wouldn’t fret at all over whether the gingham checks match up. I wouldn’t let that keep me from loving the fabric and the finished dress and wearing it with pride. Nice fabric purchases and those vintage buckles!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks! I think the next time I go fabric hunting, I’ll try and find fabric to make a slip to wear with this dress – I meant to last time but completely forgot. It’ll definitely be a priority next time though! πŸ™‚


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