1960s Fashion History can be traced very accurately by
looking at old sewing patterns. These illustrations were some I had torn from an
old sewing pattern book, decades ago and kept as reference. 1962 was
scribbled on the original pages and they are so typical of early 1960s clothes.
All the images below will expand to fit an A4 sheet when printed out.
Click the thumbnails for those enlargements.
These images are ideal for colouring in. Or use them as
inspiration for fashion designing and pattern cutting with an early 1960s feel.
Those unschooled in 1960s fashion history often wrongly assume that all 1960s
fashion was extremely short. The mini skirt length was not really a mass
fashion until the mid 1960s. Skirt lengths had gradually become shorter at
the end of the 1950s. By the early sixties skirt lengths were as you can
see just on, or just skimming the knee. Many people think that this is the
perfect length for a dress as any style that ends on a body joint has a natural
look that helps the body seems well balanced.
Slim line sheath or tubular dresses gave way to flared skirts.
Here you can see the tentative beginning of the A line skirt, that, in its many
varying lengths, from maxi to mini, would remain popular for about 15 years
until 1979. The image of the clothes the two girls wear are quite
innovative for the time frame. They marry two eras. The little girl
wearing the full dress looks like her dress could have sat happily in the 1950s,
whilst the coat has an early Jackie Kennedy feel to it. That coat style looks
much like styles of coats worn by adults after 1964.
1960s Fashion History Colouring In Line Drawings - 1962
1962 - Slimline sheath, Empire line dresses, overblouse styles of the early 1960s.
Jewellery brooches and decorative buttons were used to highlight
the elegance of a dress or jacket.
1962 Dresses were worn with contrast edge to edge
duster coats. Semi fitted dresses with wide set necklines were a
feature of 1960s clothes, as were two piece outfits of overblouse
and skirts of several styles, including pleated skirts on a hip
Basque. The overblouses were often straight, but could
also be similar to fitted scoop neck shell tops of the 1990s.
Princess seamlined clothes gradually introduced
more volume into skirts without gathering at the waist. Often
they were teamed with empire line short bolero jackets. Note the
little brooches, clutch bags, hats and gloves. Hairstyles
were still full, but sleeker, with flick ups a new feature
that with variations remained in fashion for many years.
Popular coat styles included loose duster and
swagger coats. Later Princess line coats were just as popular.
When focus was away from the waist it was often on the bustline as an empire bodice seam or a
seamed yoke line.
Children's clothes had much shorter skirts and soon adult
clothing followed 'childlike' pubescent styles.
Fashion sewing was very popular during the early sixties and was a major
subject in secondary modern schools in the UK. There, female pupils
often had two half day sessions of dressmaking and needlecrafts a week.
Most young girls with a secondary modern education in UK left school at 15
with good craft sewing skills. Many were easily able to make dresses
that fitted closely to the body and had fully lined bodices or slips.
Those who went to Grammar Schools were less fortunate in
acquiring textile arts mastery. They usually had to choose between
Art, Domestic Science (Cookery) or perhaps Geography or Housecraft by their
third year in school. So for most girls by the time they chose a
selection of examination subjects these creative subjects were effectively
squeezed out by the Grammar School curriculum. The choices set against
curriculum subjects were such that most academic girls felt obliged to opt
for qualifications that would help them get jobs or college entry.
Even so, Local Authority night classes abounded in the
1960s. Dressmaking was a very popular subject course to follow and
most women could manage to make a dress if they attended for about 10
sessions. Once they had the rudiments of using a sewing machine and
cutting a pattern many continued to learn by teaching themselves. In
the 1960s instructions in sewing patterns were very detailed and far
superior to any patterns available today. Patterns often contained 4
or 5 instruction sheets, but the difference between them today is that those
sheets would all be in just English or English and French. Now you may get
several pages, but in many languages so the actual sewing construction
details are cut out.
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