Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time in a Box

On Sunday Mr. Hunting Creek brought up a cardboard box full of patterns out of the depths of the garage (who KNOWS what else in in there) and asked if I still wanted them. In the box were the very patterns I had used in high school to make my dress for the Christmas Formal dance! The top I was wearing when I met him at college orientation! The pattern for my favorite outfit my freshman year in college! I did not even know that these patterns still existed. So YES, I did want them.
The Christmas formal dress was made of view A with the high neck (I was a modest girl), but the fluttery sleeves of view F. We were in Southern California, after all. I am still a sucker for fluttery sleeves, although I suspect I'm a teensy bit too old for them now. My dress was Christmasy-red and I made a shawl to go with it. I also had a purse and shoes dyed to match. I still have the purse.

Of course my daughter was very interested in these patterns from a historical, Mom-monitoring aspect. A couple of them she held up and said, "Mom, what were you thinking!", but most passed inspection. My son very nicely pointed out that I sure was skinny back then. Gee, thanks buddy, I know!
I loved this top with a passion; I still remember making it. It was made of cream colored eyelet with tea dyed lace inserts. I wore it all the time. I made another with pink ribbon inserts and dotted swiss, but I didn't like that one as much. Even then I liked to experiment with different embellishment ideas and see how they would work.

High school in Southern California in the seventies was very different than high school in Northern Virginia now. I love to tell my kids stories about how we wore shorts to school and swimsuits under our t-shirts so we could go to the beach after class. Much more fun than telling tall tales how we walked to school backwards ten miles barefoot in the snow to get to school. (I miss California!)
I can still amaze the kids with how far we've come, because when I was a freshman in high school, girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. The prevailing wisdom was that wearing pants, jeans etc. would make us "wild". It was a far, far more sexist world back then, than we have now. Thank goodness for that.
Here is the outfit I wore when I was a freshman in college and dating Mr. Hunting

I made a couple of these tops, one in a flowered lawn with eyelet trim, and the other top out of white eyelet. (I still love eyelet. As the twig is bent...)
I made the short skirt of the flowered lawn and also had pants that went with both tops. I used to sew almost all of my clothes and tried to make coordinating outfits even then. My mother encouraged my sewing and would take me fabric shopping on weekends. She did not sew much herself but she was a fabric enabler. I know where I inherited my fabric stashing tendencies.
I mentioned to my daughter that McCalls 4133 was my favorite top of 1975, and I still loved it. She said, "Don't even THINK of making that now!" So bossy!
I bet she would not even recognize it if I made a 2009 incarnation.
Do you still have your old patterns?


Myra said...

I didn't start sewing until 2 years ago, but my mom recently passed me a bunch of early 70's girls dress patterns that were bought to make dresses for me so I could use for the kids. Funny, the dresses are still similar enough, length seems to be the biggest difference and is easy to fix.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

What a fun walk down memory lane! Unfortunately, I purged out most of my old patterns. I still miss a few of them! I have since acquired a ton of vintage patterns, but none that I recall actually sewing.

Lindsay T said...

I was in SoCal in the 70s too! Where did you live? I've told my daughter all about the surfer style of dressing back then. Hang Ten!

I wish I had my patterns from the 70s!

Lindsay T said...

Did you wear Capezio flats to school with your dresses?

gwensews said...

Such great memories for you. You will cheris these new found patterns now. I have none of my old patterns, but I sure wish I did.

lsaspacey said...

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of them, but I'm tracking down at least the cover images of quite a few of them. In fact, I just wrote about it on my blog.

Sewfast said...

I love seeing your old patterns. I still have some of them and have been picking up some of the others that I purged in my infinite stupidity over the years. I still sew some of them.

Katherine said...

How wonderful! I was recently with my mother-in-law when she found some of her old college and high school patterns. I have one for a sundress from the 70's that I'm planning to make up, as it is quite like some in the stores now. I can definitely see a 2009 version of the McCall's top! Good luck!

badmomgoodmom said...

I catalogued all my patterns using a spreadsheet 2 weekends ago. I purged less than a half dozen and hung on to the rest. I love my 1980s era Vogue Individualist patterns. I wish I had the $ to collect more at the time.