Sewing a 1970's Dress
I remember the 70's quite well, it was a time of great contrast. One side was of great excitement, there were new electronics, fun games, great fashion, lovely colours, new fabrics and frozen foods - findus pancake anyone? But then there was the miners strikes, dustbin men strikes (which went on and on and on, my Dad was a dustman, it was the first time I saw him cry) power cuts which could and did go on for hours and the feeling of not quite enough heat, living in a coal fired, single glazed house that the wind blew through and having the corner bedroom meant ice on the inside of the window getting thicker by the day all winter until it eventually melted mid March. We really knew what the seasons were like, we were out in them, playing. Summer's were blissful, winters were tough, even our shoes have improved so much, I remember my chilblains quite well from thinly soled leather shoes.
So when we were asked to choose a decade I thought of the 70's immediately.
Then I started my research, which was quite an emotional trip, try it sometime, think of a decade that you can just remember and research it, its the greatest fun but along with that it just hurls memories at you that you had long since forgotten.
So after a few weeks of research, printing, pasting and sticking, (mood board) I realised that what I remembered the most were the homecrafts that surrounded us by people much cleverer than I (and probably much older) my three elder brothers girlfriends could knit and sew and crochet and I can remember watching them in awe, before departing on my rollerskates/spacehopper/scooter.
And so it was that this idea was born. There were also twenty other ideas born, but as soon as I sketched this idea out, I knew
A) That it was going to nearly kill me to do it and I should stop drawing immediately.
B) That my peer group were going to love it and there would be no way out.
Well you can guess what happened, they loved it.
1st rough sketch.
1st draft of pattern, a toile was made of the complete dress (without the tumbling blocks) to fit one of the 2nd years and adjustments were made to the draft and then the process of drawing out began.
I then photocopied every square on the pattern.
And began the process of adding a 1.5 cm hem to each piece.
The completed pieces.
I then did the same to the big cream pieces.
No judgements should be made on the fabrics chosen, the two stripey ones we had to use and the pink cotton twill and cream wool twill were chosen by myself, after trekking around Birmingham market its shops and local shops to get a good match - I wouldn't normally combine wool and cotton for many, many reasons but it does give a good look and the cream matched rather nicely.
Front of the dress,
Back of the dress.
Hints and tips, don't use a light coloured fabric when designing for a final collection in college. Everyone is going mad and the students using dye, are not always very careful with the iron, whereupon dye can be transferred to light fabrics.
I've washed it, I can still see marks.
Front neckline, where you can see I have lined the dress.
And the back where you can see I haven't used a zip, I've just used a small open seam held at the top with a pearl button, quite elegant. (don't worry we have tested whether the rather thin and elegant student can get into it, she can)
And that is it, my final piece of 1970's Dress