Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ah, The Sixties and Seventies

If you want to date a 1960s pattern, just look at the hem length. Look at this gorgeous Advance pattern from the early 1960s. The model's knees are covered! As the sixties progressed upward into the 1970s, so did the hemlines. First short skirts, then miniskirts, then microminis. At the very end of this trend, patterns had dresses with a shorts pattern added in since the dresses barely covered the panty line.

When I got married, skirts had already reached their highest and were on their way down in a dramatic way. Suddenly maxi coats and skirts were all the rage. I made a double-breasted plaid maxi coat with flannel lining. It was quite a project but I was really too tiny to find a coat that fit in the stores. And I was determined to have something in the new more fashionable length.

And really that was the beginning of a new era when women could choose the length of their skirts. My mother remembers how suddenly the skirt length dropped after World War II and how her mother added contrast hems to her pink suit that went in her trousseau. And in the sixties it was painful to watch older ladies having to choose between being stylish and showing off sometimes chubby knees and thighs or to go longer and look dowdy.

Today it's all good. If you want to wear a micromini, you can. And if you choose to put your skirts at a more modest length as in this Advance pattern, you can do that too. And if you want to wear skirts that brush the ankle, you can do that too. I hope that we never go back to the day when hem lengths were strictly dictated by fashion.