corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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Sewing the 70s

When the 1970s started I was seven; when they finished I was 17. The world was going to hell in a handcart (not much changed there then) but they were the very best years of my life (so far)…..

I began the decade as a child and left it as a teenager on the cusp of adulthood. These were my formative years – personality, temperament, style, likes and dislikes were all set in concrete during the ’70s. – which might explain a lot……  My happiest and lasting memories were formed and the trials and tribulations of the world did nothing to dissuade my youthful, energetic optimism for the future. Years and years later, my optimism is still not dampened although it’s not so youthful nor energetic these days. God bless all of you who marched for Women’s Rights this weekend! Thank you. I think we will be marching a lot over the next four years…..

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Recently I watched Divorce (HBO) on TV. The storyline is not the most addictive aspect of the series, however, Sarah Jessica Parker’s clothes are. I watched every episode just to see her wardrobe. Apparently, they bought genuine vintage 1970 dresses, ripped them apart and remade to fit SJP with slight style updates for 2016.

This is also a Sucker for Sales post – Craftsy had a January sale and usually I ignore all offers from America because of the import tax. There was a time about six years ago when I started sewing seriously again that I, and I alone, managed to sustain the UK economy with my fabric purchases from USA. Every. Single. Time. All my packages were caught at customs and wouldn’t be released until I paid the import duty. Then I found some UK and EU fabric sites and used these instead. This time next year I might have to leave off the EU sites as there will now probably be import duty applied to all purchases from Europe – thanks everyone who voted Out!

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Anyway, I got 3m (sorry, yards) of three rayons for a song and reckoned that if I had to pay the tax, it would still be a good deal. From a great distance I psychically draped a tax-invisibility cloak around the Craftsy box and it worked! No tax, no import duty, just delivered virgin-like to my home.

Way to start 2017!

I might be a wee bit stupid here but can we get rayon in the UK?

This fabric is fab. Drapey, robust, opaque with deep printed colours, presses well, slight fraying but nothing excessive – I love it.

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This one today is an Italian crepe in green with a blue border print. Just had to put that border print to good use….

If you’re still with me at this point, here is the actual sewing inspiration in a nutshelldscn6856:

1. 1970s

2. Sale fabric

3. Wardrobe from Divorce

Not having a genuine 1970 dress pattern at hand I hacked one together. There are certain characteristics that define The Dress and I tried to incorporate these into my (first) Sewing The 70s frock. Based upon extensive Internet research these are the essentials for an authentic 1970 frock –

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  1. Patterned fabric – no solid colours
  2. Flared A-line skirt – tending towards half-circle, although gathered/pleated skirt is also acceptable
  3. Neckline detail – collar/tie/lace
  4. Defined waist – two-piece dress in other words
  5. Belt – covers the waist seam and helps 4
  6. Sleeves, preferably gathered/puffed – full

I took Kwik Sew 3782 imgres-1for the top and a four gore skirt using the border print at centre front and just stuck them together literally with the sewing machine. Had to shorten the top and used the skirt waistline as a guide.DSCN6852.jpg

I also used the border print at sleeve hems for a bit of continuity and at centre back on the button belt. The neck tie is cut from the blue border too. I also added a few other things.

Single welt front pockets, with inside stays to stop them from flopping around inside the dress. Secured at side seams and across the centre front.

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Can you see the pockets?

Changed the length; because I like this midi length, it suits my legs and the 1970s either had very high or very low, so a little bit of of the 21st century added.

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More 21st century with an invisible side zip closure.

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Additionally I made a button belt to cover the bodice/skirt seam. Just completes the dress somehow although a purchased belt would also serve the purpose just as well.

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Finally, I just had to have new shoes that reflect the 1970s aesthetic and match my new dress.

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1117035Clarks Cass Pop in bottle green and I really do hope they are named after Mama Cass – a V&A 1970 inspiration style and, of course, bought in the January sales.

Oh and green tights to match….

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The first of my Sewing the ’70s. What’s that you say? Are there more……?

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Shall we start a sewing challenge Sewing the ’70s? (motivation/inspiration)

 

 

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Day by Day

Many of you comment how productive I am on the sewing front. I really appreciate each and every comment but I’ve never seen myself as being a quick sewer or producing a lot. If I don’t reply to individual comments please don’t take it personally – it means I’m busy, that’s all. Wendy from Boulder, Colorado sews for a living as does Mrs Mole; they have to calculate how long a job is going to take and charge accordingly. If you’d asked me how long a dress or pair of trousers takes me to sew, I wouldn’t have a clue.

I do sew, or do sewing related activities, nearly every day: sometimes I can relish in a dedicated couple of hours but often there’s only 15 -30 minutes available. Sometimes my sewing time is split over the day with a little bit here and little bit there. So this week I documented the making of a shirt, as much for your insight into my sewing week but also for me……….

Before Starting

dscn6610Fabric is draped on Doris for a day or two to help determine how it handles and what it should be transformed into. This helps me to visualise a finished garment and how much fabric I have to play with. When not staring at Doris, as I drive to work or go to sleep I’m thinking about patterns and design options. Once a decision has been reached – I stick to it and believe me, not all decisions are good ones!

Today we are focusing on the patterned piece under the mustard wool. A viscose jersey from Fabworks in mustard and pale lilac that I’m hoping will look like grey when worn with the right clothing. A retro 1950s design and would be probably be best used in a 2-way stretch pattern but I decided on a button down shirt.

Monday – 1hr, 45mins

Before going to work, I cut out the pattern pieces from the envelope and folded the fabric selvage to selvage. 15 mins.

Home from work and dinner in the oven, pinned the pattern to the fabric. 30 minsdscn6650

After dinner and a nap, back to sewing room to cut out the pieces.  Big scissors were then put away and small ones out, needles threaded with contrasting colour and settled down to tailor tack with radio on. Pattern pieces removed, darts pinned and a general tidy up.

Pieces pinned onto Doris. Nothing sewn. 60 mins.

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Tuesday – 20mins

Really heavy day at work – knackered. Cut out interfacing and just about managed to iron it onto the relevant pieces.  dscn6659Scanned the instructions in case there are any surprises. Threaded the machine and a bobbin. 20 mins.

Wednesday – 1 hr

At long last, sewing actually begins in the evening. Machined all the seams I could. This is where my sewing technique might slightly differ from others’. I don’t always follow the prescribed sewing order: after sewing all the darts for example, I then completed the sleeve seams and made the upper collar. I can go no further until the pieces are pressed. 60 mins

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Thursday – 1hrs, 50 mins

Before dinner (leftovers, so I have more sewing time) I began with pressing all yesterday’s sewing. 20 mins

After dinner, back to the machine to complete any other sewing that needs to be done; button bands, shoulder seams and collar attached. Then the machine is pushed aside and everything that needs hand slip stitching is done – inside collar, sleeve vents. Bit more pressing and everything pinned back onto Doris. 1hr, 30 mins

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Friday – 2hrs

Before dinner, sewed side seams and pinned in sleeves. 20 mins

After dinner, sewed in sleeves (one ripped out and sewed again, so that makes three!). Attached cuffs. Pressed. 1 hr.

Personal fitting: sleeves are too long so have created a design feature of folded back cuffs. I had already added 2″ to the length at cutting out stage and am happy with this. 10 mins.

dscn6670Searched in notions box for suitable buttons and found some forgotten items and interesting things, procrastination activity. 30 mins

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Saturday 1hr, 45 mins

Morning time in my jammies slipped stitched cuffs; made button holes, sewed on buttons. 1 hr

Before lunch sewed hem and pressed finished shirt. 45mins. And it took 3/4 of an hour to run a straight seam around the bottom of this shirt because….

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I swear the two fronts were the same length before I sewed the buttons on…..

Sunday

Wearing and photos

 

Total time = 7hrs

Fabric =£14.00 – 2 metres @£7.00 (Fabworks – superfine gauge single jersey in a lustrous and slinky, fluid viscose and elastane blend, printed with a Bloomsbury/modernistic style)

Time = £70 (@ £10p/hr)

Pattern = McCalls M6649 free with an Craftsy class that cost $19.99 (about £100 at today’s exchange rate!) or $12.50 for the pattern alone.

Total materials and making = £94.00

Sunday night – Write and publish. Go to sleep planning next project.

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Monday – Cut out something else……….

 

 

 


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Get Ready….

Payday! I have purchased in the region of 5 metric tonnes of ‘jersey’

Everything from stretch lace and mesh to scuba with a few cottons and viscose in between.

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I also purchased the Tilton sisters’ Artful T-Shirt class from Craftsy. Blogs and loads of useful information and ideas: one blog each Marcy here and Katherine here. Be prepared for covetable items and just not enough time in the day or a big enough sewing room……

This week I expect some striped jersey and a few bonus fabrics to arrive too, which brings the total jersey count up to one trillion metres.

Stripes from Girl Charlee UK.

Patterns and flowers (above) and bonus plains from Fabworks.

Then I updated the machine needle stash with a few packets of ballpoints from John James Needles.

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The serger is threaded; the colours fit with SWAP and I seem to be on a wine/berry colour phase at the moment; the Vogue 9057 pattern has arrived all the way from America; I’m eating healthily and being nice to other people………

I must be able to sew a T-shirt or two out of that lot!