Remember making it yourself with these classic sewing patterns

The feeling of the fabric in your hands, the scissors as they glide through it and the gentle beat of

The feeling of the fabric in your hands, the scissors as they glide through it and the gentle beat of the sewing machine, knowing that the creative outlet would give you a fantastic new outfit for a fraction of the cost. A beautiful tradition that has started to fade away.

Today, we look back to old sewing patterns to remember the most popular fashion trends of the ’60s and ’70s. Do you remember using patterns to make a new skirt or a mod dress?

It was a time-consuming process — select your favourite design, choose the fabric, follow instructions, lay out the pattern, pin, tack, cut, see if it fit, unpick and redo — but at least you ended up with an original outfit. The iconic pattern companies, Butterick, McCall’s, Simplicity and Vogue, are still around today, but we bet your grandchildren or even your children have never heard of them!

Take a look at our favourite pieces! Have you made any of these patterns? Will you teach your grandkids how to make an outfit from a sewing pattern?

1. Circular skirt

Did you have a circular cutting board? What colour was your favourite circular skirt?


2. Mod shift


3. Flared dress

wrap dress

4. Mod cape

mod cape

5. Sheath dress


6. Dropped waist flared skirt

flared dress

7. Mod vests

Mod vests

8. Headscarves


9. Mod funnel neck tent

funnel neck10. Bathing suit pattern & beach coat

10. Bathing suit

bathing suit

11. Pinafore

deep v

12. Muumuu


13. Midriff blouse and hip huggers


14. Tunic and flared pants

tunics and flared pants

15. Shortie PJs


16. Wrap skirt

wrap skirt

17. Swirl skirt


Do you remember wearing some of these iconic 1960s sewing patterns? What is your favourite piece? Tell us below.

  1. Marlee  

    I made myself many dresses with 5 yards of material in the skirt and petticoats underneath. Also a sheath dress of delustered satin.

  2. Helene Vettas  

    I probably still have these patterns .. devoid of instructions and some pieces. Loved the tent dress with roll collar. . And found a similar pattern just the other day. The price now is horrific for a pensioner. Good times though. You have made my day. I am awaiting bypass surgery so now have something else to look forward to when i come home.

  3. Hanny  

    I have been searching forever for a size 16 brunch coat.. button or zip front.. seems impossible to get a pattern for that nowadays.. I am not much of a sewer so would need to be something simple if anyone has a pattern to sell .. thank you..

    • M Dennis  

      Hi. I made exactly that in candle wick fabric. 3176 patern no. KwikSew. Good luck We belong to a sewing guild in Victor Harbour South Australia and meet twice monthly. Such fun. Cheers

  4. Lois  

    I remember making a rope petticoat I have some of those patterns still They will come back

  5. Dawn  

    Love some of these old style patterns wish I could still buy them.

    • Marilyn  

      You can in antique stores and ebay but you pay for them. Look for them in garage sales as well.

  6. Jean Douglas  

    I still have the old patterns and some fom my Grandmother. Shame a lot are being dumped by younger folks. I made new hotpants, jumpsuits and so on even to this day. Loved the time out in sewing. My neice is keen so good to pass on.

  7. sandi magle  

    OMG, #2 was a homecoming dress for me in college, #3 view 3 was my orchestra dress from the 1960’s in high school, in iridescent blues taffeta, #4 was the cape I used through 2 pregnancies in heavy-widewaled corduroy, #7 I used for multiple outfits, especially the blouse, and #17, I remember I bought but never made, because it took so much material, and I was on a newlyweds budget. Thanks for the blast from the past!

  8. Bev Crane  

    I am still sewing my own clothes. Being short it’s hard a get a good fit and I end up having to cut off a lot of fabric with store bought clothes. Over the years I have done most of the patterns you show and now find a lot on ebay. I see outfits in stores that are way beyond my budget so I look for similar fabric and sew the style for around a quarter of the cost. I saw a style similar to the flared pattern and have made it up in a lovely floral, it cost around $ 40 to make, $135.00 in store.

  9. Nell Hamilton-Schulz  

    OP shops have them. I have all mine. I had a waist then. They look better if I could find it again.

  10. Chris  

    I used to make everything in those days. Now I still do sewing but the patterns have got so expensive and then plus the material. Usually you could buy 3 dresses for what one would cost to make unless you get a favourite basic pattern that you can use over and over. Most of the reason now I would make mine is because I can’t find what I like plus having to alter the lengths anyway. But not usually because it is cheaper anymore.

  11. Jean  

    I made a wrap skirt in a wintery evergreen corduroy….about 40 years ago.

    For those who notice that patterns are expensive…places like Joann’s Fabrics regularly have sales on patterns where they are 99 cents.

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