Tuesday, April 7, 2020

That 70s Thing: Butterick 5149

The Sewcialists held a sewing mini-challenge recently: Sew Your Birth Year! It was pretty lax, allowing you to take inspiration loosely from your birth year, or even someone else's if it was important to you, and interpreting it in any way you saw fit.

I was stuck with the 70s, and so did a little research into some inspiration, using blogs and catalogues to get some ideas of average wear in the early 70s. Here's what I settled on as inspiration.

My sudden interest in jumpers and pinafores this year is right on target with the early 70s. Hmmm! 

I sorted through my jumper patterns and found a button front version, Butterick 5149, that I thought would do the trick. And I looked through my fabric stash and found the perfect mustardy marigold cotton for a 70s inspired make. It was actually a sheet but just right for this. 

Because it is a heavier cotton, I knew I'd have to line it in order to wear it. Fortunately I had some cream bemberg left over in my stash, and since this pattern only required 1.5 m. I had enough. I also found some shiny contrast buttons in the stash and had enough of those too! So I forged ahead with this amusing challenge.

What do you think? Does the 70s influence come through? 

Despite this being quite a strong yellow, I had a number of things in my closet that matched with it. Along with the Liberty of London blouse that I thrifted (seen above), a classic black turtleneck goes well. 

My bright floral Drop Sleeve Top by the Avid Seamstress (a free pattern) has streaks of marigold in it so goes in another way. 

And my Egyptian Art Deco print Burda tee is, I think, my favourite combo so far. 

Looking at this photos I am planning on shortening it by another inch to make it a little less 70s and a little more chic. And I may take it in a pinch across the bust/high waist. 

I used my new favourite patch pocket technique (thanks Burda) and lined them and turned them before topstitching them on. And in my last jumper, the way I attached my lining as an afterthought under the bindings was so easy and attractive that I repeated that here. I just cut the lining as a second jumper and basted it to the cotton before sewing on the bias facing at neck and arm. I also basted it under the front facings before top stitching and then sewing on the buttons and making buttonholes. To complete it I turned up the hem, covering the lining and stitched it down over both layers. 

It is bright, cheery, and a bit retro. I had fun making this up out of my stash, and trying different outfit combos. While the Sewcialists mini-challenge was my inspiration for this make, I also found a fun challenge via the Sew and Tell podcast, Sew Your Roll. You could roll 3 numbers and get an 'assignment' from their lists. I rolled and received "Yellow / Neutral / Buttons" as my theme. Which also fit this project perfectly! Since I was just about to begin this project when I rolled I counted it as good fortune. 

 I prefer 80s fashion to 70s, but that's probably because of teenage nostalgia. Would you sew from your birth year? What would you make? 


  1. This is a nice jumper and cleverly fits in with your own personal style. How great that you can wear it with so many of your tops!

    I've long theorized that one's fashion aesthetic is set in place during the teenage years. This is based on a sample of one. 😂 I was born in the 60s and I abhor most 60s styles, but I LOVE most mid-70s styles. I started wearing "bell bottoms", peasant blouses, and fitted blazers then and I'm still wearing them now. I think part of it is awareness-I wasn't really aware of textiles, style lines, etc before the age of 12-so my memories of 60s styles are mostly from movies and reproduced Montgomery Ward catalogs.
    For people born in the 70s, they may not have experienced the retro 40's look in dresses, the flowing florals, or the sharply tailored menswear influence in the best 70s women's designs. Today's view of the 70s is all brown and yellow polyester pantsuits and shiny disco wear.

    I will be interested to read the comments from others on Sewcialists and see if my hypothesis is supported: does everyone dislike the styles of their birth year/decade?

    1. Thank you Katrina. I think I can get behind your theory on fashion aesthetic! I'll also be interested in what others say about this. I definitely lean toward the 80s over any other decade of my life.

      You are very right, though, about the view of the 70s as polyester & disco. There was so much more, and I did have fun looking through various catalogues and history pages (and some family photos!) to look at what people were wearing in the 70s other than that. There were some nice things.

  2. Very nice- a bold colour but it really does go with lots of different tops. AND THE SHOESES!! OOOH SHOESES MY PRECIOUS!
    I was born in 1960- very much like some 60s stuff. The 70s took me from 10 to 20 and married...I like punk, a bit of hippy, and BIBA [which blends to 60s too of course. Yes I like the 40s aesthetic from my teens, the fit and flare, tie back dresses etc. Of course I had no money fo fashion, so I mainly looked from the outside. Including all through the 80s, when money was very tight and my kids were small. HATE the giant shoulder look now, liked it then [and yes, I had a mullet]. Tbh, 'fashion' has either not been available to me, or not to my taste for most of my life, and now, I just like my own style.

    1. Ha! Those amazing shoes were a gift from my younger sister and I looooove them :)

      I love your description of taking bits and pieces from all the different eras of fashion. I like that too -- there are things I love and really loathe from many decades. I like sewing because we can mix and match and make our own styles :)

  3. I love this jumper and how well some of your tops go perfectly with this. My birth year is in the 50's and not really in love with some of those styles. During my life time I have seen a lot of styles come and go and then return again.


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