Early 60s sewing books and vintage patterns

I was rummaging through the sewing section of a local second hand shop recently, and picked up some great finds. Among them, these two sewing books and some patterns from the early 1960s.

(There were also some very fab Burdastyle magazines from the 70s – but I’ll show you those in a separate post.)

The first book is in mint condition – beautifully preserved in a way that immediately tells you it was never, ever used for any purpose. Perhaps an unwanted gift? For someone who moved on to buying all their clothes and was relieved never to sew again, perhaps.

But it is nevertheless full of useful information, and some sweet illustrations as well.

The section on patternmaking is particularly detailed. The author of this book was keen on encouraging readers to draft their own patterns, rather than rely entirely on commercial offerings.

As a result, the section on drafting and modifying patterns is quite detailed and has reminded me of the value of using some of my existing (tried and true) patterns to create new shapes when the need arises.

It’s so much fun reading these old books. So much has changed in the world around us since this book was written, but some things never change.

This next book was included free with a Women’s Weekly magazine. Lots of great tips here from Lucille Rivers (who I’ve not heard of before).

It is also FULL of advertising. That might have annoyed me at the time. (Honestly how many products can one woman endorse???) But looking at these ads now is very interesting and more than a bit entertaining.

But wait, there’s more…

Mind you, the techniques alongside all the ads look very, very handy. I need to read this more carefully I think.

It has a lovely back cover.

Here is the last of the sewing books I picked up (all for only a few dollars by the way – I love second hand shops!). Late 60s I think?

I’m yet to read this one, but sharing some pics for you to enjoy.

The next two pics are the reason I brought this one home.

My Mum had that Necchi machine, and it is what she sewed my clothes on when I was little. I remember her making herself an orange bikini, matching skirt and a bunch of other beach-related items on it one year, before we went to the beach for our family holiday. It was psychadelic madness and sooo great. Onya Mum!

I own this foot, and only now know what it is used for. Which is, basically, everything. So confusing still.

There were also some great vintage patterns, and I pulled out a few I thought were interesting. I’m not sure if I’ll make these up or not. But I may use some of them, or some parts of some of them.

A mixture of 60s and 70s here. I like the general shape of the jacket on the left, the tunic dress in the middle and just the overall shape of the shift dress to the right. But I’d be surprised if I make either of the outside two – though the tunic could be a contender.

The pattern on the left is my favourite I think. The 70s puff sleeved shirt on the top right of that pattern looks so cool. I can imagine that in a silk satin. How could would that be??? I like the other blouse patterns as well. All of them would work on me I think so I’m looking forward to the day when I open these up. Fingers crossed they still have all the pattern pieces inside.

The pattern on the left is from the 80s I’d say. I love that boxy shirt, and will be making myself one at the earliest opportunity. In a rayon. With a dart added (which this pattern doesn’t have). I had a shirt just like this in the real 80s, in a white rayon, and wore it a lot. To me, that’s good 80s. The skirt – not so much.

The Threads pattern on the right is something I’ve had for many years, but am yet to make up. Just including it here because of its 70s vibe. I can imagine it with embroidery on the front piece. But in saying that, I have an existing Burdastyle pattern that is similar and (I think) a bit nicer so I might try that other one first.

So that’s it – my dive into vintage patterns. But keep an eye on this blog – I’ll be posting the Burdastyle magazines from the 1970s shortly too. They are so wonderful – and I chose three of them to bring home. I’ve taken heaps of photos to share here, and will do that in the next week or two. Until then, here’s a quick taster.


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