Sunday, September 4, 2011

The 70's never looked so good! A Sewing through the Decades Spotlight

I'm super excited for the first interview in a series highlighting participants in the Sewing through the Decades Challenge.  Sarah (from Rhinestones and Telephones) and I are co-hosting the challenge which isn’t a sew-along (as there are a lot of great sew-alongs happening at the moment) but a chance for people to make their own challenge--and tackle some of those lovely vintage patterns in your stash!  You can go as fast or as slow as you want as there are no deadlines.  The basic thought is to challenge yourself to explore different time periods (which can be several years in one decade—1943, 1944, 1945, etc.) or several patterns across several decades (50’s, 60’s, 70’s).  The patterns can span both vintage and modern years.

I'm delighted to have had the chance to interview Lisette--who's been sewing up a storm! So without further ado, here's the interview....

Tell us a little bit about yourself 
Hi! My name is Lisette and I blog over at What Would Nancy Drew Wear. I started blogging around the same time as Debi, although I am pretty sure she has surpassed me in skills by now! I have been sewing for about six years now. My mom always tried to get me to take sewing classes but I was a very gloomy teenager at the time and thought it was really dorky! Then, I had to take Sewing as an elective class and I ended up really enjoying it. In college I studied Costume Design and French. I now work as a costume designer, which I really love because I get to make some crazy stuff. I also knit, usually when I get tired of sewing so much. Right now I am obsessed with making mittens.

Photos of costumes created by Lisette for the musicals Annie and Pinkalicious

What attracted you to the Sewing through the Decades Challenge?
I definitely had the materials because I collect vintage patterns and I have a huge collection - over 300 patterns from as early as the 1910s - but I didn't think I could stick to the project. I have a hard time following a sew-along and while I love doing Sew Weekly challenges, it is only because I can do it when I have time. New and interesting sew-alongs are always popping up and I get distracted! In the end, I found that I sew a lot from 70s patterns anyways, so I decided to try it. It is a good way to get yourself to make a wardrobe from that decade and get a complete look in your closet.

Tell us a bit about what you have already made for the challenge (ups, downs, your favourite, the most challenging, etc.)
I am honestly surprised how quickly I was able to cross off the years! Some years I even have more than one garment. Of course, 1970s patterns are fairly modern, so there isn't usually anything too complicated, sewing-wise.

1970 - Simplicity 8788 This was one of my first 70s patterns. I eventually accepted that I don't like the early 70s look! The necklines are usually too high for me.

1971 - McCall 3035 I only made the bloomers for this one, they make great gifts, actually.

1971 - Simplicity 9835 When I was attending school in Quebec and had no job I decided to try to make this pattern as a faux-regency costume. It worked pretty well, but I got some strange looks when I wore it to class one day.

1972 - Simplicity 5047 This I sewed for the MPB Mens' Shirt Sew-Along. My boyfriend loves it, but it took almost four months to finish it. It was really hard, mostly because I had never done flat-felled seams before. I also made a 1970s shirt for my dad, and that went much faster because then I knew what I was doing.

1973 - Simplicity 5804 This was my entry for the 70s theme over at the Sew Weekly last week, I call it my Velma Dinkley skirt. So far it is my favorite 1970s pattern! It took a lot of finagling to get the fit just right but it is super flattering. I also tried out a grosgrain ribbon facing instead of a waistband and I am totally won over to them.

1974 - Butterick 4022 I can now make one of these in 3 hours. I want to make one in every color.

1976 - Simplicity 7811 I have a love-hate relationship with this one. It is very maternity looking and is puke-colored! But I end up wearing it a lot because I prefer to wear separates.

1976 - Simplicity 7377 I have made both the vest and the skirt on different occasions. I would love to make a skirt/vest suit out of corduroy.

1977 - McCall 5526 This is another Sew Weekly outfit - I was inspired by Chrissy Snow on Three's Company. Sadly, I can't sit down in the shorts, they are too tight!

What are your upcoming sewing plans?
A giant bluebird costume! I am working on a musical called Pinkalicious for the Hartford Children's Theatre that opens in a few weeks, and one of the characters is a bird. I'm excited because it is a really funny costume. For myself, I am working on a pair of jeans-style pants and some renaissance fair-wear for me and my boyfriend.

Where can we read more?
I blog at What Would Nancy Drew Wear and I also have Burdastyle, Ravelry (if you knit) and Etsy accounts under the name wendybirde.

Thanks Lisette for sharing your projects with us! It's inspiring me to get back to some of those 70's patterns in my stash!

Are you participating in the Sewing through the Decades Challenge?  Let me know if you would like to participate in the spotlight series (email me at myhappysewingplace{at}googlemail{dot}com).  I find it so inspiring to see everyone's challenges!!

Don't forget to check out the Sewing through the Decades flickr group and grab your button if you are participating!



  1. Thanks so much for featuring me Debi :) I can't wait for the 30th!

  2. i love your 70s style lisette! don't wear that first dress on the 30th, you may get dress snatched.

  3. I love the 1974 dress. Such a simple but flattering shape.

  4. what great sewing projects--love seeing so many there at one time!

  5. OMG I adore Lisette. Thanks for sharing all of this fabulous fashion insight!!!

  6. Love reading your '70's blog. I made 7377 in the 70's!!!!!


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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