Sewing the Seventies: My Plan

I’m that person who posted about not really joining sewing/knitting/photo challenges, right? Just confirming. I am indeed that person. But I’m also currently participating in the Burda Challenge and now… I want to Sew the Seventies. I guess, eventually, the challenges find you 😉

I discovered Sewing the Seventies last year — too late to join, but not too late to enjoy the Steely Seamstress’ posts (scroll through for last year’s posts). Seventies’ fashion reminds of my dad’s craziest clothes, which I only know from photos and his stories. It was also the time my dad learned to sew — taught by his friend’s dad. For him this new skill set meant inventions such as secret pockets for ciggies on a pant leg and refashioning regular pants to make them flared when flares were hard to buy but everyone else seemed to have a pair…

For me, dad’s sewing meant awesome doll clothes during my — very intense — Barbie phase. Later, life got too busy and dad stopped sewing. Much later, I learned to sew myself, thanks to Craftsy and YouTube, and blogs, and books…

My aim with this challenge is to time-travel a little.

burda70sWhile I’ve scored a few authentic 1970’s patterns along the way, I find myself drawn to one particular dress that I found in a Burda Vintage special issue I got as a gift.

The more I looked at the dress, the more I realized how much it looked like a crazy dress my grandma (dad’s mom) owned when I was little. By that point, the dress had been retired to the depths of her closet and I would dig it up for dress-up parties with the neighbors’ kids. My grandma would have worn it to parties in the mid-70s.

The cut was, to tiny me, the height of sleek sophistication, paired with a fabric that today’s me would honestly call bonkers. When you’re about five, nothing beats a combination like that. The dress was green, printed with a pattern of majestic white storks with red beaks and red legs. It was everything. Even if it was — and it surely was — polyester.

If I could find a similar fabric, I’d sew a replica of that dress. (Maybe that’s a fabric designing and printing challenge for the future, come to think of it?)

For now, I think, I’ll make it in a more subdued navy poly print that’s been sitting in my stash for a while.

Without further ado, here’s the pattern:

The Donna dress from Burda Vintage 1970s issue 3/2016

What puzzles me about the dress is that the sample is sewn up in a sequined jersey but the recommended fabric is embroidered silk?… If I’m reading between the lines correctly, it’s more likely drafted for a woven than a knit fabric. There is a zipper in the back and neck darts.

I think the simplest answer right now is make a muslin.

I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, here’s the Steely Seamstress’ post about this year’s challenge and her first challenge garment: a beautiful popover shirt in Liberty lawn.

Think you’ll join in?


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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

7 thoughts on “Sewing the Seventies: My Plan”

    1. Thanks! There’s several really cool designs in that collection, though some are pretty out there. There’s an intriguing dress with side and back cutouts that I enjoy looking at but that has no place in my life, sadly.

      And there are some serious bell bottoms. So serious, in fact, that I imagine I’d get my feet funnily/terrifyingly wrapped up in them while descending the stairs…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh my, I really wish I could see that dress from your grandma’s closet – that print really does sounds like EVERYTHING! Also, how cool is that your dad knew how to sew?! He must’ve been very proud of you when you took up the sewing years later.
    The challenge does sound really tempting, plus I do have a bunch of vintage Burda magazines from the ’70s … On the other hand, I also have a terrible reputation when it comes to sewing challenges (both participating and going through with it 😁)
    Looking forward to see the progress of your dress, that is a really pretty pattern!


    1. I know what you mean about sewing challenges. I really hope I can pull this off! 😁
      Maybe if you pick a 70’s — or 70’s-inspired — Burda pattern for March, your project will satisfy both challenges at once? That’s what I’m thinking for mine, since I’m a pretty slow sewist…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking forward to it! I have that magazine too, and wanted to make the dress with the side holes, but find it’s too sexy for me…hm… it’s an intriguing and inspiring edition.


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