Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Closet Disco Queen

In the 70's...

Now, I'll be honest, the 70's was not a favorite decade of mine despite the fact that it heavily influenced 90's fashion (the bulk of my youth). I remember it for its high frilly collars, peasant dresses and thick polyester double knits, which could only be worn in the wintertime. Similar to the late 60's, you won't catch me wearing tent dresses or anything overly mod or hippy-ish. I was a chubby girl growing up and baby doll dresses, which you would expect would disguise my fat, only ended up exacerbating my figure flaws. As a result I wrote off 70's fashion. More recently, I've been warming up to some of the decade's more notable design trends, largely those that were reflected through 90's fashion (but lord do I still loathe an empire waistline...). I have accumulated some "new" 70's inventory for the shop, and I picked up a few items for myself that I'd like to share today.

I have made 50 sales in my shop since it opened and I have had to say goodbye to many adorable patterns during this time! It's been difficult but necessary. As you can imagine, I have a stash of lovely vintage patterns of my own that I refuse to part with. It's not very big any more, only a handful of my favorite designs, and many of which are quite easy to find on Etsy and Ebay alike, but I adore my collection. Even when I haven't been sewing vintage in a while, I might get my vintage box out and rummage through it just to admire the cover art. I haven't added anything "new" to this collection in quite awhile, until two weekends ago when I surprised myself by purchasing and keeping two 70's patterns, a 70's sewing book and magazine.

Let's start with the patterns. Normally when I find 70's patterns they're hideous pant suits or over-sized caftan tunics. I don't even give them a second thought, as soon as I see Farrah hair I keep on moving! Yet these two patterns caught my eye. Something about them looked so stylish, feminine and elegant. I've been looking to add more dresses to my collection, but more specifically dresses with unique design elements. The first pattern is Simplicity 5728, described as a Misses' dress with an "Italian" type collar and front midriff. The maxi-length is quite pretty but it's the shorter version that sold me on this pattern. It's sexy without being gaudy. I love the little gathered, cap sleeve and contrasting cuff, and the big open collar which exemplifies 70's fashion. I have a sleek floral satin that I might dedicate for use with this pattern, it's cream coloured with multicolored flowers in a tight, small print. I imagine it'll be a pain to work with but will flow beautifully if successfully sewn. The second pattern is Style 4848. If you're from outside of Canada you might not have even heard of Style patterns. I believe they're more commonplace here, in the UK and in South Africa. I've never had the experience of sewing with this brand before and I'm excited to give it a try. I considered passing on this pattern but that lovely gathered sleeve and a-line shape is right up my alley. It has a distinctly 40's vibe to it with a little more sex appeal. I wouldn't mind making it in Version 1, although I seldom have that much fabric on hand.

What do you think of these dresses? Yay or nay?

As for the book, I picked up a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book, originally printed in 1961 and reissued in 1970. It has all of these adorable little illustrations from the 60's. It's full of great tips and information. It has complete hand stitching instructions, diagrams for making design changes on the fly, and troubleshooting for all those annoying problems we run into. I've seen many sewing books in my time but this one was too adorable and well organized to pass up. Plus, I prefer to sew vintage and I would rather be exposed to the finicky, hand sewn techniques of the past than contemporary machine reliant ones. Unlike most of the Singer compilations, this book is organized in a binder, it has little tabs dividing the sections which makes it easier to navigate. And it has these cool vintage dressing tips with coordinating fabrics and silhouette styles! I love this book. I paid like two dollars for it, but you can get on Ebay for fairly cheap. If you're a vintage fan I encourage you to check this book out. I mean seriously, look at this mid-century sewing room spread! How can you resist?!

The final find is "Let Yourself Sew" from Simplicity. It's a one-issue release magazine that showcases a series of popular designs from the 1970's, it also provides information on sewing techniques and tips to embellish garments. My favorite images are below, particularly the 70's does 30's spread (second photo in).

A final note on Etsy...

Etsy...ugh. I've rarely encountered problems with these guys but I've heard stories from friends. Sadly I fell victim to one of their glitches. I won't go into detail but what I will tell you is that twice, two different representatives with two very different stories, found a way to blame the glitch on me, even though a woman in the forums with the exact same problem received an apology and a refund. All I wanted was an apology. It would have been nice to get the 20 cent refund but an "our bad" would've sufficed, but instead they turned it on me. This is quite commonplace with Ety's customer support, apparently they deflect blame all the time. Their CEO has adopted a "blameless" workplace policy where any errors are submitted anonymously and no one is held accountable for their mistakes. Has this policy extended to their customer service? Probably. Somebody should tell them that this is not how you do business. The customer is. always. right.

As a result, I am reluctant to continue to do business with them. In the future I might sell patterns through this blog but we'll have to wait and see. It is easier for me to sell through Etsy and I'm eating through my inventory much faster than anticipated, but I can't handle any more of their mistakes. It reflects poorly on my business and I'm flabbergasted that their reps fail to see the impact of their errors. :( I will of course let any of my buyers know through here when I make the final decision to withdraw from Etsy, and even at that it'll be a "two weeks notice" sort of situation.


Perhaps I don't hate the 70's as much as I did in the past. Maybe I'm becoming a closet disco queen! I hope that life is treating you all well. Have you found anything unusual in your shopping excursions?

Happy sewing! ♥