I Learned to Sew in the ‘60s with Simplicity Patterns

Saw this Simplicity Patterns display at the local JoAnn store.

Immediate recognition of “the look” and then some nostalgia surfaces.

I took Home Economics at Morris Plains Borough School in the mid 60’s.

Mrs. Phelan was our teacher.
I remember one project being given a B instead of an A because I didn’t take care of all the loose ends of thread inside my blue and red polka dot dress.

Mortifying. I think of her when I weave in loose ends of yarn or tie knots in threads and trim them oh, so neatly.

We made an apron, a skirt, a blouse, shorts, a dress and the other half year we cooked and baked. I graduated to Vogue Patterns eventually but I think all of my early basic efforts were Simplicity.

26 thoughts on “I Learned to Sew in the ‘60s with Simplicity Patterns

  1. I remember going to the fabric store and looking at patterns with my mom. We’d find a pattern and then she’d let me pick a fabric which was my favorite part. Yes, I do remember all those patterns, the big drawers they were in in the store, and what fun the whole day was spending it with my mom!

  2. The dresses are fun to look at on some of those packages – thanks for sharing – and i am so glad I learned to saw (and did metal work) in 8th grade – been nice to know

  3. Your school home – ec experience mirrors mine exactly. We made an apron and a skirt and that was all. Even though the mother and grandmother sewed I was never into it #tomboy

  4. What a stroll down memory lane!I too learned to sew in the mid 60’s w/ Simplicity and McCalls patterns. Took sewing lessons at the Singer Sewing Center in the summer. And of course, Home Ec. I too remember my teacher, Mrs. Solomon, to this day. I remember NOT wanting to be just like her!

  5. My mother and sister were prolific seamstresses. I did not inherit that gene. Sewing was anxiety producing for me and as a consequence- the lowest report card grade I ever received. I was ready for the semester of cooking!

  6. You are bringing back so many memories with this post. I, too, used Simplicity patterns. I wish I still had those and the many clothes I stitched for myself. I loved to sew at one time. It was out of necessity also because store-bought clothes were too expensive. But then fabric and pattern prices increased and sewing clothing eventually became more expensive than buying ready-made.

    Thanks for the nostalgic journey this morning.

  7. Mrs Abernathy , my home ec teacher and minister ‘s wife wanted me to follow in her footsteps! Glad that wasn’t my choice, but I still love the cooking and sewing. Brings back my patient grandmother and mom helping me lay out patterns. I always hated that part, but loved the sewing. My grandma had the button hole feature on her machine and many Easter Eve’s I was going there to complete my Easter outfit for the 6am service.

  8. My Home Ec experience was the same: Sewing for half the year, and cooking for the other half. All students had to take Home Ec in 7th grade, then drafting and shop in 8th grade. No differences for boys and girls.

    • Ahhh we girls never got to do shop in my time. And the boys didn’t cook or sew. Our loss.

      • In shop I remember welding to make a candlestick holder, and using a t-square for drafting. In Home Ec I remember the boys making board shorts, and all of us cooking not-very-tasty food. 😀

  9. Home Ec for me too! I still have quite a few patterns, but not quite that old. I sewed most of my own clothes for years, most of my children’s clothes, then taught my daughters how to sew too. When they started to sew, I upgraded the Kenmore sewing machine I got when I was first married. I asked the Sewing Machine dealer what machine I could get that was exceedingly reliable and that I wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time setting up tension, etc for each child’s projects. He sold me a Husqvarna Prisma 990 that is as good now as it was when I got it 30 years ago.

    • Thanks for sharing your memories and experiences, Margy. This post evoked a lot of nostalgia.

  10. Ruth, Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this post. Brought back memories as I began with those Simplicity patterns years, ago and also ‘graduated’ to Vogue. Now, sewing is mere a memory but all skills are applied to my knitting. Such fun to make this connection, here and now.

    • Hi Holly I am so glad to know you enjoyed the Simplicity post. Thanks for writing. It seemed to jog many readers sewing memories.

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