Multi-Purpose 1971 Jiffy Garment

All I know is that it fits, looks great, and it is in a peacock print (my favorite – see this post) lined in fabric of the color turquoise (another favorite). Can’t go wrong there! Whether it is a dress, or a tunic, or a jumper depends on the weather and how I feel like wearing the garment. That is the versatility of my newest 1970s sewing creation.



FABRIC:  The printed fashion fabric is a 100% cotton from the quilting department, and the lining inside is a cotton blend, twill-looking gabardine solid.Simplicity 9461, year 1971, Jiffy dress or tunic or jumper & pants-comp

NOTIONS:  None were needed to buy ‘cause all I needed was thread…pretty simple, right? It was my decision later to use some bias tape on hand to finish off the armhole edges.

PATTERN:  Simplicity #9461, year 1971, a “Super Jiffy” pattern.

TIME TO COMPLETE:  Only about 4 hours were put into making this dress/jumper/tunic thing. It was done in one afternoon and evening on December 3, 2015.

THE INSIDES:  What insides? Everything is tucked inside itself.


TOTAL COST:  Maybe $8.00 for the gabardine and a few more dollars for the printed cotton.

This little number is kind of a mystery fashion item – one of the reasons why I wanted to try it especially since it’s a one piece “Super Jiffy” pattern. In other words, I’m not committing much time and not cutting into my fabric much since this line of patterns seems to frequently be a large portion manipulated into fitting with clever darts and shaping (see this other 70’s “Super Jiffy” dress). Anyway, what is the real point to this? It does make for a really cute dress, and is decent as a jumper, but the wrap doesn’t close as much as I had thought it would. The 70’s did have some trends of slightly nonsensical layers, such as short cropped sweater vests over blouses or skirts over pants. I will need to wear tights, pants, shorts, or a mini skirt under this for decency’s sake. Maybe I’ll even have to whip up the pants provided in the pattern for full retro effect.


My pattern is in junior’s proportions, so I had to do some interesting and successful grading up. As this pattern is one big tissue piece, at first I thought I couldn’t just add the amount needed like regular patterns…but then I thought back, “Why not?!” Time for some unwilling slashing to the pattern! So I cut the vertical center front line apart (where the two front cross over) and added in ¼ of my total amount added in, and another ¼ of the total amount was added to the vertical back seam, turning it into something I cut on the fold (rather than having a center back seam like the pattern directs). Then just like the other 60’s and 70’s junior patterns I’ve done (see here or here), I added in 2 inches horizontally across the chest between the shoulder and the bust to lower all the bust, waist, hip, and hem lines in one simple step.


If you have a strong aversion to doing darts, then this pattern is not for you because they are quite plentiful. However, the darts are practically the only work this garment involves. My consolation to sewing all the darts (and I had to do double because the lining is a second mirror of the dress/jumper) was the final way the garment fits so well. This is seriously the best fitting Jiffy pattern I’ve made yet. Some of those darts are in slightly unusual directions, but they do their job very well – the designers were smart here.

As I mentioned already, the lining is like sewing a second dress/jumper, so as to face the two right sides together, sew along the entire outer edge, leaving a small opening to turn inside out and top-stitch things in place. This dress/jumper could easily been made reversible doing it this way (already did that here), but I have plenty of garments in solid turquoise so I didn’t do this because I really wouldn’t wear it that way. Take note that making an entire second mirror garment for a whole body lining was entirely my idea. The pattern only provides for facing to the neckline/front closure edge and the armholes. Many times I opt out of facings, feeling like they are too fiddly sometimes, but as I didn’t use facings to this pattern I’m not including this in the same pool. The peacock cotton was very this and like Velcro to whatever else it touched except for the gabardine (or polyesters) so it needed to be lined. As my last step, I used simple single fold bias tape to turn under the edges of the armholes in lieu of the facings, too.


The button at the tab is completely for show and the real closure system is really hidden underneath. When wearing this as a jumper, I seem to need slightly more room than when just wearing as a summer dress. Thus I made to closure system adjustable by having the inner side have lovely aqua ribbons and under the outer tab there is more than one position of hooking for the waistband-style eye. By the way, the unworkable front button is the same as the decorative one used on another turquoise jumper garment – my ’67 jumper. This is the end of these same buttons, don’t worry…it was a two pack with no more to come.

I’m still unsure if this project is done until I can completely make up my mind as to whether or not to add on the hand level side pocket. I don’t know how much wear this dress/jacket will get (the gauge for whether or not to put more work in). Goodness knows, I’ve got the extra fabric for a pocket and can pull out the pattern whenever I feel like I need its utility, but until then it’s going to be basic I guess.


Yikes! Check out those “headlight” eyes on my doggie!

It’s funny how I find myself gravitating towards 1971 again and again now that I’m sewing more from the decade. Perhaps it’s because of my love for the decade of the 1960’s, so please don’t tire of this trend on my blog. I see most of what our culture thinks of as the “60’s” as noticeably happening between 1967 and 1971, before this the earlier 60’s had more of a 50’s influence in my mind with random trends emerging from the popular music bands. The hippie looks and bell bottoms of the 70’s were obvious in style, fashion, and patterns after 1972.

Multi-use wear garments are my favorite pattern finds to make and therefore wear. They are something generally unavailable to buy “ready-to-wear”, and fun to make no matter how much wearing they get.  I’ve found that trying different styles, fashions, and garments has a higher success rate, lower monetary risk, and higher chance for personal partiality when you make it yourself, besides being so much easier, cheaper, and enjoyable.  It’s a win-win…teaching yourself something while ending up with something uniquely yours to wear!


“Pretty In Pink” – Twist Neck 1935 Blouse

Re-releasing vintage pattern 2859 was one of Vogue Company’s best moves, in my humble opinion, and I really enjoy the finished results.  My version of the blouse/top from V2859 embodies three of the most popular, most distinctive fashion trends for women in the 1930’s, not to mention the fact my top pays homage to two of that era’s top rival designers, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli.

100_1214THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  stable cotton jersey knit in a dusty pink color

NOTIONS:  already had the thread I needed and just enough 1/4 pink bias tape, leftover from sewing this mini apron.

V2859PATTERN:  Vintage Vogue 2859, year 1935, reprinted in 2005.  I would like to make the dress, one to use as a slip perhaps or even a satin floral one to wear under my top.

TIME TO COMPLETE:  finished on Feb. 18, 2013, after about 15 hours of time.  Making this took longer than I thought from looking over the assembly, being my first ‘Advanced’ Vogue pattern (the label is really there for a reason).

THE INSIDES:  Unfinished! The knit I used doesn’t ravel and the top was complicated enough, so…it’s not messy, just not perfect inside.

TOTAL COST:  Free…the best benefit of using a fabric from one’s stash!

I will now show you the 30’s fashion trends of my blouse.

1.)  Knits were the trend in an array of solid colors, thanks to the practical luxury of Coco Chanel, who first designed knit suits in 1916, even though Schiaparelli popularized the new fabric.  Jersey knits gave 30’s women the chance to be more flexible in their day-wear fashions.  A knit suit was much more comfy and easy to move in than a stiff, business wool suit, and 30’s knits tended to be in a brighter palette for new options.  Besides, the 30’s ideal was for fabric to “flow” over and “hug” women’s bodies (think of the bias dresses and use of silk), so knits continued the body clinging style further.

2.)  Before Elsa Schiaparelli, pink had really not been integrated into feminine fashion quite like it was in the 30’s.  Elsa’s distinctive pink color was, back then, labeled as “shocking pink” and was released in 1936 as the shade of her personal perfume box.  Let’s say my Vogue top, being a ’35 pattern, could have been made in ’36, out of a more toned down pink, so I would be (historically speaking) quite fashionable.

100_12203.)  Low back or V-back tops and dresses were popular on account of sunning/tanning becoming the new look of beauty, instead of a marker of lower social status like previous years.  There was now more of a reason to show off a girl’s back, sometimes also the shoulders too!  See my “New Year’s Evening Gown” for a deep V-back 30’s garment I’ve made already.  Designers of the 30’s were obviously pushing the limits in a different way, a more Greco/Roman way, than in the 20’s.  This style is smart in another manner because in a low or V-back clothes you have a visual interest from behind, not just in front, that is eye-catching and fashionable in all eras!

100_1233    The construction of V2859 – as an “Advanced”- was not really hard for me, just time consuming and challenging to the point of actually being enjoyable.  I found it quite complimentary for the pattern instructions to take it for granted that I can figure out what I need to do, instead of (like Simplicity) going into a tiresome, exacting, and windy explanation of how to do every step.  I feel as if I get to use my sewing skills and knowledge this way.  There is no cut intended towards sewers who need thorough instructions.  If it wasn’t for the assembly sheet, we, myself included, wouldn’t make half of what we do sew.  However, I’m just saying this for other seamstresses who are where I am at with my sewing skills.  Beginners would definitely find this pattern confusing, no doubt.

This top is the third 1930’s clothes item I have sewn, and now find myself more impressed than ever with the styling and construction details of the era’s patterns. My twist-neck top is a beautiful compliment to the waistline with an emphasis on the hourglass shape.  Take note, the sleeves change style if you look at the envelope back: from the front they are kimono sleeves, while from the back they are raglan sleeves.  The points where the sleeve seams meet (at the bottom of my neck on each side) was VERY tricky, but it turned out O.K. for me.100_1222a

There were a number of changes I made to this blouse pattern which seem to generally be a good idea as these little points  help its fit and appearance.

Firstly, making this twist-neck wrap top out of a knit, I went down two sizes…this trick works well for vintage patterns not specifically listing a knit on the envelope back under ‘suggested fabrics’.  Secondly, I added a 2 inch band (5 in when I cut it out) to the bottom so that the hem ends at or just below my waistline now.  Even if someone DID wear this top over another dress, I still think this blouse ends too high above the waist to look good.  By adding an extension, it can now be worn alone as a top with my skirts as well as over a skimpy dress!  Then, at the side opening for the tie, I sewed an extra square of fabric onto the inside -with one side open (of course).  That way no skin can show from underneath. The two pictures to the left and right show both sides of the bottom half of V2859, letting you see both the details of how it wraps and my finishing touches.

100_1243a    Another important change I made was to the front seam and front neckline.  The front center seam had to be sewn in several inches from the neckline down to where the darts start.  I’m petite and there was too much extra fabric in the bust; bringing the center from seam in made my top fit better with minimal drooping.  Later, I also make a skinny strip of bias tubing to stretch behind my neck from shoulder seam to shoulder seam.

100_1238a     Finally, I added a bias neckband because the way the instructions said to finish off the small V-neckline were difficult and tacky.  Over the rest of the top the stitching is unseen.  I think exposed stitching in an obvious spot makes this top look casual instead of dressy. My idea of sewing on a bias neck binding is (I think) much more polished, besides the fact it is so much easier to sew on than achieving a tiny hem.  I hand stitched the neckline band on to make sure it was done invisibly.100_1206

Just one last note: my skirt in the photos is several years old, from J. C. Penny’s, and my shoes are from a resale store.  Nevertheless, my outfit is true to the 30’s, since my skirt is long and bias cut, while my shoes are T-straps with a deco design and a Spanish heel. My fake 30’s bob turned out well…you can’t tell how much hair I tucked and pinned underneath.  My outfit made me want to go dancing!

220px-Doris_Day_-_Romance_on_the_High_Seas     Have you ever seen the lovely Doris Day’s first movie, “Romance on the High Seas”?  (If you haven’t seen it, you really should!)  It was released in 1948, and for her first song in the movie she is wearing a strikingly similar version of my pink 30’s top – see the pictures.

Her top looks like it’s a light blue satin with a wrap bottom romance-on-high-seas10waistband as well, except it has the classic 40’s sleeves…skinny, close-fitting with wide and puffy shoulders.  This tells me A LOT about the popularity of this V2859 blouse design.  For it to be worn in Hollywood over a decade later, reinvented for the current era, and worn for the debut of a rising star, already popular for her singing, means to me that this blouse design is more than just a cool pattern – it’s a fashion winner.  Besides, it’s never a bad thing to feel that one has a little portion of classic Hollywood glamor in one’s wardrobe, right?