Monday, November 14, 2011

Fashion Forward - the Far-Out styles of 60's and 70's

I was taking pics of items for the Etsy store and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of amazing illustrations and photos in this handful of fashion & sewing books from the 60's & 70's.  Lets take a walk down the DIY sewing and tailoring memory lane! {click pics for larger view}

Up first is this standard issue housewife's handbook by Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book circa 1962-1965

It looks straight forward enough on the cover, a no nonsense guide to straight hems...

...but when you open it up, you are treated to a blast of color and a fantastically Mid Century craft & sewing room that would be the envy of any crafty lady (myself included) in today's day and age.  Hello starburst clock!  Hello drop down ironing board!  Hello cheery yellow walls!  When can I move in?  

There are detailed instructions on how to make some of the standards of the 1960's like Shift dresses and different versions of the standard evening dress.  

There are mostly illustrations and instructions in the BH&G guide to sewing,  so if you want real honest to goodness patterns, try our next collection, of Stretch & Sew patterns on for size (one size fits all!)

I found a very large lot of Stretch & Sew patterns for all kinds of outfits!
 I'd date these to the late 60's early 70's...judging by the size of the bells on those pants!
Look chic in the ever so versatile fabric of the future, Polyester!

The very best part of this lot is the accompanying book that showcases all of the Far-Out Fashions and the cat-eye bespectacled church ladies that wear & make them!  OMG, I'm IN LOVE with the photos in this book!

 This cover is also very deceptive with its silly half naked stick figurette.  You would never suspect that there is gold in them there pages!

 Firstly, lets give thanks to the people who helped this book come into existence!  They deserve a round of applause!  But wait, before we embark, there is one last thing I need to ask you:

Allright!  All aboard the Stretch & Sew Express!

Here is one of our very lovely Stretch & Sew Matrons sporting a pinstripe cape and pencil skirt number.  Doesn't she look fetching!
 Look at this lady with the perfectly coiffed bob with bangs wearing the same exact top as Bert from Sesame Street!  Perhaps she is in the park to feed the pigeons...Burt had a thing for pigeons too.

This here, is pretty much exactly how I want to look in my 50's.  I'd maybe change out the shoes for some more comfortable flats though.  I like to imagine this lady has pink or blue (like cotton candy) rinsed hair.  I like that she isn't afraid to bare those knees!  I'd take that cool printed cardigan any day too!

 I like this pic because strangely enough, I have a middle school yearbook pic that looks almost exactly like this, minus the bangs. I think I was slightly less strident in my turtle neck though, I must've been missing that deeeeeeeeep v-neck cover-up.  How old is this girl?  She could be anywhere from 15-21, I just can't tell!

More of our Matrons hard at work in the fabric store.  These books & patterns are marked with an address for a Stretch & Sew store that used to exist in our town.  It is long gone now, but what we still have is Fabric Town U.S.A. that still looks EXACTLY like these pictures.  I do believe the same ladies have worked there for centuries.

Want to spruce up the store displays?  Just ask Mindy, the resident artiste to whip up a few of her "way-out" fabric mannequins!  I sincerely hope that somewhere, these still exist! 

 Guess what?  Stretch and sew aint just for the Church Ladies, it can in fact make some pretty swingin' bikinis!  You will make a 'splash' at the next pool party for sure!

  The fellas also love Stretch & Sew!  Why, here is Herb modeling his favorite alpaca cardigan.  What a smart looking fella!  All the other gents down at the lodge will be green with envy!

And lastly....if you thought putting dogs into ridiculous outfits was a modern fad, think again!

They still did it in the 60's, they just used poodles instead of chihuahuas!  I find this picture so funny!  The dog looks mortified.  As if it wasn't bad enough that he has the dog world's silliest haircut, his doting owner is about to sew him a Where's Waldo pull-over.  Ahahahaha!

How about some COLOR?  Lets take a 'trip' to the 70's!  Prepare to be wowed by the energetic and glowing (sometimes literally) models in the pages of Restyling Your Wardrobe and The Sporting Scene, two DIY fashion books.  Get ready to disco baby!


Up first, Restyling Your Wardrobe, which is covered in some very mod canvas material

Inside is a round up of fantastic fashions!
 Flapper inspired style a'la the 70's

 Oh how I want this dress!  And that hair! Did you notice it was a Before & After re-do?  Look at he before on the left, what an improvement!

 Smart office attire in the drabest of drabs, but check out that industrial fireplace in the background!

Another Before & After re-do.  I like the frumpy expression she is wearing on the left! 

Now, the really fun scene...The Sporting Scene!

 Bound in orange corduroy, it sets the tone for what's inside!

 Knit dresses that cover your entire body, or a knit bikini that covers just the essentials!

 Is anyone else wanting to watch episodes of Threes Company right now?

 This might be my favorite picture...I like the Gorton's Fisherman slicker on the lady and and her mountain climbing boyfriend (left) who are apparently at a disco!   Their pals on the right seem to have a better hold on what should be club wear.  I mean the man is in a leisure suit, but his lady friend is holding a riding crop?  Well hey, maybe it's that kinda party!

 How about this James Bond-ish shot?  This reminds me of the novelty bread baking contraption that allowed one to make cylindrical loaves of bread.  I have seen one or two at sales...anyone else know what I'm talking about?  It looks like this picture was snapped looking down the bread-tube!

 Okay, the track suits are rad...but I'll take those bikes please!

 Cozy night at the cabin, better coordinate your sweater and hat to your over night duffel bag!

 Hit the slopes in this hot-orange snow suit.  That way when you ski over the K-12 and land in a ravine, the ski-patrol will have no problem finding or night!

Here ya go, these are timeless!  I would sport any of these knits, thank you 1970's for being fashionably conservative for a moment!

Whoops, I spoke too soon!  LOLS!

 So, I feel like I have to ask, what was your favorite style decade, whether you lived through it or not?  I myself like a mix of the old (almost any decade) matched up with some of today's more comfortable options, like jeans & t-shirts!  What do you do to dress vintage? 


  1. When I buy vintage clothes, I aim for 50s-60s short sleeve button down shirts, usually in plaid. I also have a 1930s topcoat and a tuxedo from the same era. The one advantage for men is that I can wear a shirt from pretty much any era with jeans and it'll work out.

  2. I love this post - the pics of the sewing books made me smile. I am in love with polyester - especially shirt dresses - so mainly buy 1960s and 1970s. I am often attracted to the pattern and texture of fabric rather than the style /shape.

  3. When I was in Junior High back in the Stone Ages (er, early 60's), we HAD to take sewing--it wasn't an elective, it was a class just like English or History. We made an apron, a gym bag, and a skirt with a zipper. I made the apron strings too short and couldn't wear it, I made the top of the gym bag larger than the bottom (it was drawstring style) and couldn't fit my gym shoes in it, and I never did put the zipper in correctly. Needless to say, I made sure I found a husband who could sew! Oh, and about those shifts. There should've been a law stating that young chubby girls should DEFINITELY not attempt to wear them! Great post! Oh, and thank you soooo much for the goody box and sweet note. You are awesome!


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