Custom Style

Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic

My Vintage Pattern Collection: 1960s & 1970s

More vintage pattern show-and-tell… (vintage patterns from the 1940s here and 1950s here)

While I am partial to the cheerful girliness of 1950s styles, I find myself gravitating to the styles from the 1960s as well. To me, Sixties fashion was when Fifties fashion “grew up” and sort of branched into two groups: simple sophistication – think Audrey Hepburn & Jackie Kennedy (both women seemed to bloom into fashion icons during this decade), and artistic “Mod” – think modern new things like Star Trek, The Beatles & Marimekko prints.

We will start out with two of my favorite patterns, which are both from the year 1960:

McCall’s 5688 Dress and Simplicity 3463 Wrap-Around Dress
I’m working on mockups of both of these.

Then there is one more from 1960, but it’s a bit “costumey”:

Advance 9399 Dress
It makes me think “Little Bo Peep”

The seams are so interesting on this dress from 1961:

Butterick 2502 V-Darted Dress
The long-sleeved version has zippers at the wrist.

Then I have a girls’ dress that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else on the internet. The year is unknown, but it has to be from the Sixties:

Simplicity 4414 Girls’ Dress

My reasons for thinking that it belongs in the 1960s are:  the price (45 cents) is similar to the prices of other early Sixties patterns; the hairstyles on the girls look ’60s; the colors match the previous pattern’s; the floral print looks correct for that decade; and the skirt of the dress also has an inverted box pleat like the previous pattern. I’d say it’s pretty safe to assume it belongs at this point in the timeline – do you agree?

Here’s another girls’ dress and a wrap skirt from 1962:

McCall’s 6384 Girls’ Dress with Attached Petticoat

McCall’s 6665 Wrap-Around Skirt
I think it’s interesting that so many types of clothes wrapped in the back in the 60’s.

This next one from 1964 epitomizes the sophistication of Sixties fashion:

McCall’s 7349 Dress
Very Audrey Hepburn!

A more formal dress from 1965:

Simplicity 6219 Coat & Dress
The long version makes me think Jackie Kennedy.

Then the Mod Styles really start showing with these next few. 1960s (specific year unknown):

Butterick 3580 Dress and Butterick 3325 Dress & Jumper
I’m thinking Mary Tyler Moore, especially with the plaid jumper.

A mini-dress with shorts for beachwear from 1967:

Simplicity 7136 Dress or Beach-dress & Shorts

My one vintage pattern from 1968 has incredibly interesting style lines, and it’s Karen’s fault that I had to have it because she talked about it on her blog:

Vogue 2040 Molyneux Dress
I think I want the short-sleeved version – now I just need to find the perfect solid color fabric to show off those lines!

This pattern is from 1969:

Simplicity 8436 Mini-Dress & Pants

The date on this next one is unknown, and different sources put it in different decades. I can’t decide if it’s late 60s or early 70s:

Butterick 5800 Dress & Pantdress

The overall shape is Sixties, but the big collar and one-piece “jumpsuit” version seems rather Seventies. Even the hairstyles are in that transition stage.

The 1970s get a bad rap because of awful plaids and horrible-feeling synthetic fabrics, but I’ve always loved the style-lines (especially on women’s suits) and how slim & leggy they make people look. (I’m glad I can say I was born in this decade and not the Eighties, which I think was the ugliest fashion decade ever!)

I have a short list of vintage patterns from the Seventies starting with 1973:

Simplicity 6039 Jacket & Pants
I really need to make this suit for myself!
I’m thinking brown corduroy.

And another suit pattern, also from 1973. I actually just have a self-traced brown-paper copy (with Xeroxed envelope & instructions) of this one because I found in my size in a theatre costume shop’s filing cabinet:

Simplicity 5918 Jacket, Pants & Skirt
Years ago, I made a mockup but never finished fitting it.
I still really like it and need to make it for real.

This next jumpsuit pattern from 1977 was so hilariously 70s that I had to keep it.  Cue The Carpenters!

McCall’s 5421 Jumpsuit & Hat
If I ever need coveralls for work, I will be making one of these because the style-lines are really flattering.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of my vintage patterns. I’ll be sharing some of my current projects using a few of them in the weeks to come. =)


12 responses to “My Vintage Pattern Collection: 1960s & 1970s

  1. Karen August 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    What a great visit back to the ’60s and ’70s! It’s going to be fun to compare our “Molyneux” makes at some future point!

    • Brooke August 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks! And yes, I can’t wait to see what you do with that pattern! I still don’t know what color I want to make mine, but I’m sure when I find the fabric I’ll know. =)

  2. thevintagetraveler August 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    It’s been fun looking at your collection. I’ll admit, I’m partial to the early 1960s ones. And I love your description that the styles are the 50s grown up. I really adore Butterick 2502.

    • Brooke August 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed seeing them! I hope to have a few mockups finished soon so I can make some with nice fabrics. I have that Butterick pattern near the top of my list of ones to make – I’m dying to see how the v-dart fits me!

  3. tracihutton August 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Looking at your vintage patterns makes me want to look at the patterns I grew up sewing with, all from the seventies. My first thought on the Butterick 5800 is that it is 70’s. My, oh my! What a trip going back. I happen to love the suits from the 40’s, absolutley fabulous in my book! I will have to share some of my patterns down the road. I have collected a few of the Vogue designer, I still have an Edith Head Vogue pattern from the seventies because she was my idol back in the day. I never used the pattern, but I always loved it. I am not sure what my response today would be other than a good classic design never goes out of style! Ditto to your response regarding the 80’s. Go to a Def Lepard concert for a trip back to the 80’s, jaw dropping experience for me.

    Love your posts.

    • Brooke August 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm


      My mom said she made herself a tennis outfit in the 70’s that looks similar to Butterick 5800 – so it’s probably early Seventies. I would love to see your Edith Head pattern! I didn’t know she did a line for Vogue.

  4. Theresa in Mérida August 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    if you look in the back of the pattern in the fine print you will probably find the date issued. Since I was born in 1955, I can’t wear any of those styles. They won’t look retro on me, they just look like I never threw away any of my clothes. What’s cute on you, just makes me look like a homeless crazy lady.

    Doubleknits and polyester were new and cottons were old fashioned in the 60s and 70s. When I was forced to take home ec in the 7th grade, we made cotton dirndl skirts. Terribly unfashionable and really unflattering on my short waisted embarrassingly large busted 13 year old body.

    My totally cool out fit was an orange jumper worn with a blue and orange striped turtleneck made of polyester knit and matching orange tights worn with blue fishnets over them…yeah, I thought I was groovy, or maybe the word then was boss? can’t remember, it was all so long ago..


    • Brooke August 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      lol – your outfit sounds really interesting! I am still hanging on to the horrible 80’s outfit that I thought I looked so cool in as a kid (and it still fits because everything was HUGE back then!).

      Yeah, I looked all over that pattern and no date. It’s weird how some vintage patterns have printed dates, others are stamped by a store (probably when purchased), and others have no date whatsoever. Even today’s patterns are sometimes and sometimes not dated.

  5. Cation Designs August 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Oh my goodness…I have that Simplicity 5918 pattern! I think this calls for a sew along of sorts!

    I am so sad to have been born in the ugliest fashion decade ever.

    • Brooke August 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Oh cool – a sew along might be what I need to motivate me to actually make that suit! I think I even have some fabric I want to use.

      Being born in the 80’s just means that you will never look cool in those styles of vintage. But that’s okay because you can wear all the better stuff from the decades before that and actually look cool! =)

  6. Second Hand Rose August 24, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Wow I absolutely adore these patterns, they’re gorgeous! I wouldn’t know where to start I’d wanna make them all straight away, they’re beautiful! Found your blog through a guest post and it’s great! XxxX

    • Brooke August 24, 2012 at 7:40 am

      I know – I want to make them all at the same time too! I’m working on three mockups right now because I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to make first. =)

      Thanks so much for your nice comments, and I’m glad you like my blog!

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