A Definite ‘60’s Vibe

“Unexpected,” “unusual,” “fascinating,” and even “a bit magical” are words used to describe some of the fabrics, prints and designs from the late ’60s/early ’70s (The Editor’s Letter, Vogue Pattern Book International, April/ May 1970.)  Although I have no documentation, I am sure that this red and white Moygashel linen is from those last years of the 1960s or early years of the ’70s.

Of course, another clue to the age of this Moygashel linen is its width of 45″. Prior to about 1964, Moygashel was only available in 35 or 36″ width, as best as I can determine.

A quick look through some of my Vogue Pattern Book Magazines from this time period uncovered other fabric designs which have a similar feel to them.

This dress appeared in the April/May 1970 Vogue Pattern Book International, page 16.


This large, irregular leaf print was shown in the February/March 1968 issue of Vogue Pattern Book International, page 11.


Even this sewing machine ad features a dress with an abstract geometric fabric design. Again, this is from the February/March 1968 Vogue Pattern Book International, page 24.


And here is another spectacular Moygashel linen, advertised in the April/May 1970 Vogue Pattern Book International, page XXIV. Cute dresses!

Interestingly enough, these demonstrative and colorful fabric designs were often sewn from the same or similar patterns as their more demure pastel and solid counterparts. I kept that in mind as I contemplated which pattern to use for this “unusual” and “fascinating” linen. Additionally, I wanted to pair it with a red linen belt  (which I ordered several years ago when I knew that Pat Mahoney was closing her custom belt and button business.  The red linen is some I fortuitously had left over from some of my sewing in the early 1970s.)

Then, after the recent success of my fairly dramatic changes to this pattern – and knowing I had a great muslin from which to work – I went with it again.

Here is the result:

I definitely had some issues with the very uneven grid.  I took a lot of pictures of the fabric arranged on my dress form before I started to lay out the pattern.  This helped me to visualize the areas which needed some regularity (if you can call it that!)  I realized quickly, in order to achieve a semblance of matching in the critical areas, I would have to accept way less than perfect in other areas.  Because the entire geometric design is so irregular, I have, I think, made peace with this decision.  (I haven’t worn the dress yet, so the proof of this is still to be determined.)

The bodice front seemed to me to be the most critical, and I wanted that three-striped horizontal motif to follow across the upper bustline.


The back proved to be a bit more problematic, as three quarters of it lined up fairly well, with one section off on the left side.  Because the side piece wraps around the side (as in no side seam), there was only so much I could do in order to be able to “match” the front.  Additionally, I thought it was more important to have the back center seam, rather than the side back seam, positioned correctly, so that’s what I did.

Am I going to have the nerve to wear this dress?

I may end up loving it??

I lined the entire dress with a very lightweight linen cotton blend, eliminated facings for the neck and armholes, and finished those areas with a typical couture treatment.

Because the skirt lining is unattached, I finished off the seams of the linen with Hug Snug rayon tape.

I did not use a silk organza underlining, as I like my linen dresses to be washable. Without that inner layer of organza, I had to be very careful with sewing the hem, to try to make it as unnoticeable as possible.

I doubt I will have a chance to wear this dress yet this Fall.  The later it gets, the odder it will look.  That’s okay.  I’m ready to move on to something more subdued – but hopefully “a bit magical” will still be in the equation.


Filed under couture construction, Linen, Linings, Mid-Century style, Moygashel linen, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric, vintage Vogue Designer patterns

32 responses to “A Definite ‘60’s Vibe

  1. Patricia

    Hi Karen, I think the dress looks interesting and fresh and think you will love wearing it. I thought it was unusual to have a centre seam in the bodice on the paper pattern, don’t think I have ever seen it like that. Well done.

    • Thank you, Patricia. I actually eliminated that center seam that is visible on the pattern illustration. It was originally there, I believe, as the bodice pieces were to be placed on the bias. Obviously, I placed my fabric on the straight of goods.

  2. Beautifully done! I love the line placement on the bodice, and it’s a very artistic dress. I don’t think it’s too much, but I live in Austin where it stays warm for quite a while and people dress more “fun”! I say wear it if it makes you happy….love seeing your new “vintage” makes.

  3. Cherry

    I was a teenager in the 60s and sewing madly. I remember any fabric with a traditional flower print as being hopelessly old-fashioned. I would have loved this Moygashel

  4. alaniasheeley

    Your garments are always amazing. I imagine being in your sewing studio would be like a kid in a candy store.

  5. Barbara Hewitt

    I like it and have fun wearing it. I was wondering about placing the center front on the fold, would that have been possible? I have used that designers Vogue patterns, loved using them but found they needed plain or textured fabric because of the number on pattern pieces. But, you are an encouragement to use that linen but many of today’s printed fabrics are that complicated.

    • That’s just what I did to the center front seam. I eliminated it and effectively placed the center on the fold (although I always cut out my pieces single layer.) You are correct – so many of the Vogue Designer patterns have a LOT of pieces! I enjoy the challenge of that, but sometimes it’s nice to make something simple!

  6. Looks really good to me. I would be very happy to have achieved the end result. You should be proud of this because it looks a very difficult make.

  7. So fun, Karen! Nerve? I’d wear this cute dress in a heartbeat, and you might be most excited to do so if you must wait until next Spring. 😊

  8. Heather Myers

    This looks great and very fun! Funny how we think all plaids or lines must match! I see a red jacket with it!

    • Thank you, Heather! I just so happen to have a red linen jacket (that’s where the linen for the belt came from!) – one that I made back in the 1980s, which I still wear. I suspect the jacket and this dress will conspire and end up together at some point!

  9. Mery

    Forgive me if this message repeats. Internet was acting up early this morning, and sometimes when it does that messages sent or received all arrive later and sometimes they go poof into magic land.
    I love it! To make every line connect you’d have to have forced the spirit out of this lively pattern. You matched just enough of its clean lines and left just enough free. It reminds me of a map of a dreamscape: the triple chest lines are the castle, a broad open drive connects heart and head, some of the roads end (like city streets stopping at a park, museum district or other delightful place), a belt to fence it in and declare it your kingdom, and couture touches that subtly let the viewer know this is a finely controlled kingdom, just free enough to be delightful but not wild.

    • Your comments are always so inventive and funny and enjoyable to read! Thank you, Mery! If I had had 10 yards, I am sure I still would not have been able to match this random set of wacky lines! It’s such an unusual print, and that’s what attracted me in the first place. So glad you like it!

  10. Another beautiful, couture dress Karen. Isn’t it wonderful to just sew and not have to worry about the fitting? I love your posts — it’s like a lesson through fashion history!

    • Thank you, Sharon! Yes, yes, yes! I love being able to re-use a muslin pattern, one that I know fits! (I suspect I may use this pattern again sometime, too.) I am so happy that you like my posts – I enjoy writing them!

  11. Black Tulip

    What a beautiful dress. I’m amazed that you managed to achieve so much matching with such an irregular fabric, it looks fabulous.

  12. Margaret Codner

    I truly love the dress. I do couture sewing too and understand your dilemas. I think that the abrupt endings of the original pattern work to support the matching problems.Put on a smile and walk tall and proud!! DON’T explain or apologize. Do love your blog! Peggy Codner Susan’s jacket class Baltimore.

  13. Peggy Warren

    Dear Karen – I’m so thrilled that I found your wonderful blog. You’re an inspiration to me because in the late 1990’s I met my sewing instructor who taught French Couture Sewing Techniques. I went to her classes for many years. I love sewing and making things with a degree of finesse and style. I’m now one of your most devoted fans. Your skill with the needle and keyboard are equally amazing. You take the story of creating a treasure from fabric with the fingertips starting with the concept, then to cutting, to basting, to fitting, to sewing and the final joy of seeing your creation come to fruition. You model your garments beautifully. Your ability to photograph the various stages of construction with your clear and concise comments is a talent that not many people possess. You have given me back the desire to re-learn some of my teacher’s methods that have fallen by the wayside. Thankfully, I kept all my handwritten notes from my sewing classes, so there is always hope that I can. Her mantra was proper sewing with proper techniques and proper tools. I live by “pin, baste, then sew.” She told the class more than once that a Simplicity pattern made with Couture techniques using everyday cotton would look better than a Vogue pattern and expensive fabric made with sloppy sewing methods. She always said that the properly made garment can be just a beautiful on the inside as the outside. I’ve been delaying writing my first comment for several days because I wanted to get all my thoughts together before I started. Sewing is an integral part of my life now that I’m retired and can focus my energies on my personal interests. I love making things for my home and dresses for my granddaughter. I also enjoy embroidery. I was fortunate to have a private tutorial last May at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace outside of London. It was my husband’s 60th birthday present to me. I have enjoyed reading your past postings and want to thank you for your sharing of information about other vendors and suppliers. I need to stop now because I could go on and on….the phrase ‘thank you’ seems inadequate; nevertheless, it’s sincere. Please keep sewing!!!!!

    • Dear Peggy, I loved receiving your comment a few days ago, and I have delayed writing back as I knew I would need some proper time to respond adequately! Your sewing teacher sounds wonderful -and very similar in philosophy to Susan Khalje from whom I have taken several classes (and who has started a subscription on-line sewing club which is proving to be very worthwhile.) As you may know from my blog, I returned to fashion sewing about 7 years ago or so, after a long hiatus, and I cannot believe how much I have learned – and relearned – since then. Like you, sewing is not only a passion, but it helps define who I am! You might have guessed that I also like to write, so the combination of these two pursuits is like a dream come true for me. But – it is so meaningful to me to know that all that writing about sewing is actually useful to someone, and the fact I might be an inspiration to you is rewarding to me beyond words. I’m excited for you that you are finding your way back to fashion sewing in addition to embroidery (what a fabulous gift from your husband!), home sewing and sewing for your granddaughter (aren’t granddaughters just the best?) Please know your comment has helped to pull me out of a slight “slump” and for that I am so grateful! Yes, I will keep sewing! And – I am sure you will be making your own couture apparel sooner than you know! Please stay in touch – I’d love that!

  14. Oh Karen, I’m so happy to see this gorgeous fabric transformed into this lively, bold, whimsical, sophisticated, beautiful dress. And it seems to me, that even in linen, red and white just scream Christmas….with a red jacket or coat and shoes. Not that you need me to tell you how to dress for goodness sake, but I say if you won’t freeze to death, make a holiday statement! This is fabulous.

    • Hi Jen! I really hadn’t thought of this dress as possible holiday attire. I’m afraid we live in too cold a climate to pull it off, unfortunately. I was able to wear the dress once before Fall moved in with its chilly air, and I had so many compliments on it. That was gratifying as it IS kind of a wacky print. I’m glad you like it!

      • haha! Glad you had a chance to wear it at least once, though. We are bundled up around here, too, so no pretty sleeveless, linen dresses will work till spring. I do miss the West Coast weather.

  15. Hi Karen!
    I have a question… did you press the tape before applying it to the seam edges? Or did you fold the tape along the seam edge as you sewed?


    • Hi Jacqueline! I folded the tape as I sewed. It takes a bit of patience, as the tape has to be a bit wider on the underside of the edge to make sure your catch it as you sew. I have tried ironing the tape first, then sewing and it doesn’t work as well, at least for me.

      • Hi! I tried pre-folding with iron as well and not too keen on this process either. Your finished seam looks excellent. I will have a go at folding as I sew and apply your method of keeping the tape wider beneath.

        Thank you!! Have a wonderful day!

        PS: I completed my MacQueen tartan couture skirt yesterday! I hope to work on photographing it today…

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