Betty Loves: Sewing the 60s

We are a bit obsessed with the 60s and if you stop by here often we’re guessing you’re pretty into that era too. No surprise then that when we came across Sewing the 60s it was love at first sight. As the name suggests, Sewing the 60s is a blog all about sewing garments using vintage patterns and retro fabrics. The blogger behind this lovely corner of the Internet is with us today to talk about what the 60s mean to her, why she loves it so much and how she’s inspired to share her fascination with the era through these sewing projects. Everybody, say hello to Catherine!

Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi! I’m Catherine from Sydney, Australia and I run a blog called Sewing the 60s. The name is pretty self-explanatory – I write mainly about the 60s and share sewing projects and sometimes tutorials for all to read. The blog, along with sewing, is my creative outlet to my day job as a team assistant for a major telco (telecommunications) company. So most of my sewing time is on weekends or squeezed in somewhere between dinner time and bed time on weekdays.

You’re a bit of a sewing pro these days and are in the running for Burdastyle’s best blog for sewing enthusiasts. When did you start sewing?
I have always sewed since I was a kid, even with little scraps of fabric alongside my mum who was a big home sewer. But about 8 years ago I really decided to have a proper go at making things to wear from patterns and I naturally chose vintage ones as that’s what my mum had on hand. I joined Burdastyle at that time for their cute patterns and the community, so it’s very exciting to now be in a competition for them!

Why and when did you start Sewing the 60s?
I started the blog in May last year to explore my love of 60s fashion and culture in a more tangible way and to try to share info about the changing fashion styles and designers of the era with my readers. I also wanted to know more about the Australian fashion industry at that time and decided this would be a good way to share my findings with the world – so many people instantly think of London or San Francisco when they think of the 60s, and it would be silly of me to ignore my own country and what they were up to around that time too.

What is it about the 60s that you love?
I think it’s the overall air of fun and freedom that one thinks of when someone says “The 60s”. In terms of fashion there were new styles popping up every day and new young designers were finally being recognised by the serious established media, and music was just blowing everyone’s minds with creativity and new sounds! Everything was new! So to me it was all about having fun, being young and embracing your true self. I know the decade has many tragedies tied to it, and along with that there’s so many iconic things that come from that time to explore and understand – I love it all!

Do you have any favourite 60s icons that you turn to for inspiration?
There are so many clever ladies from that time and so many beauties. Barbara Hulanicki (BIBA) Mary Quant and Foale & Tuffin are my Holy Trinity. I have a desire to recreate their more iconic dresses or design things with them in mind – there is so much inspiration there. Along with Pattie Boyd (first wife of George Harrison) whose look I adore and try to emulate on a daily basis and musicians like Donovan, who’s music is always playing in the background.

What has been your favourite piece to sew?
I love a lot of the things I make, but the mustard yellow swing dress (aka I’m just mad about saffron) that I made last December is my favourite at the moment. It’s a pattern from 1967 (my favourite year) and technically is quite involved. It fits really well and I love the colour. The fabric cost me a mint so it’s extra special.

Have you had any sewing disasters?
Yes, of course! I attempted to make a gold scallop hemmed dress last year for a night out. The fabric was terrible to work with and sagged. The lining was messy and by the end of the night I couldn’t wait to get it off. I salvaged the zipper and put it in the rag bag. I’d like to remake it one day, but with better fabric

If we had just finished sewing a dress we would put it on and dance around our living room. What song would you dance to?
Everyone by Van Morrison, the happiest song I know!

For more sewing inspiration you can visit Sewing the 60s here. Catherine’s Instagram feed is worth a peek too!

FashionCharlotte Jacklin