Decade Inspiration: The 1970s

When I was growing up the 80s and 90s, the 1970s was not a cool decade. It was too recent to be of interest to me, and anything from the 70s seemed ugly, old and out-of-date.

But, things have changed. In recent years I've really come to appreciate the range of styles from the decade and the great range of classic looks and easy to wear shapes. Like in many decades, there are a huge range of styles to choose from. In this post I'm going to share some 70s inspiration with you - I've picked out 8 looks that you could make today which could be easily incorporated into any wardrobe.

Look 1: Classic A-Line Skirt

Style 2025 & New Look Maudella 6030 - From my collection 

This is a look that never goes out of style. Some of my favourite versions also feature a central pleat, which adds a nice bit of interest. A-Line styles look great in denim, or in lightweight wool for Autumn.

Look 2: Wide leg trousers

New Look Maudella 6034 - My collection

Flares are quintessentially 70s, of course, but you don't have to opt for the super-exaggerated shapes of bell bottoms as the more elegant wide legged trouser is really flattering. This style also has a great 1930s feel to it.

Look 3: The Wrap Dress


Vogue 1679 Diane Von Furstenberg Wrap Dress - Image from Vintage Pattern Wiki

Invented by Diane von Furstenburg but copied a million times over, the wrap dress is still popular today. If you like this look you're probably better going for a modern pattern as these vintage DVF patterns are PRICEY! Check out Lauren LLadybird's versions of Vogue 1610 on her blog

Look 4: Peasant Tops

Butterick 3612 - Image from BluetreeSewingStudio on Etsy
Simplicity 7444 - Image from QuiltCitySue on Etsy

Another classic style that could look 40s or 50s just as easily as 70s. Also, easy to wear and fit


Look 5: The Halterneck






I love the look of halter necks, although they don't suit my shape unfortunately (broad shoulders). This halter dress is so stylish though, and the broad collar stops it from being too shoulder revealing, so if anything could persuade me, it's this pattern.

Look 6: Maxi Skirts

Simplicity 6573 - My collection

Maxi skirts can feel demure or dramatic, depending on your fabric choice. They are perfect for keeping cool on warm days when you don't want to reveal your legs too. Vintage maxi patterns are generally easy to find for cheap on eBay, since it was such a popular style. Many patterns contain options for different skirt lengths, like the one above, or you could lengthen the skirt of an existing pattern to get a 70s feel.

Look 7: Smocks and Tunics

Simplicity 7272 & Butterick 3356 - My collection

I love a smock top to wear with jeans or leggings. Some patterns can also be made as a dress, which is great for easy to wear summer style.

Look 8: The Jumpsuit




This look is definitely back in style, as evidenced by high street fashion and indie patterns like Closet Case Files Sallie maxi dress and jumpsuit. I think choosing the right fabric would be key to the success of this look - something with a beautiful drape.

More 1970s Inspiration


  • Check out this Flickr group with over 2,000 photos of 1970s sewing pattern covers here. Some of the patterns are so obviously not from the 1970s but there is loads of 70s eye candy there.
  • Very Kerry Berry did a great post about her Betsey Johnson pattern collection
  • If you love the look of maxis and full-on psychedelic patterns, check out Vintage Vixen , who wears vintage and sews her own clothes from vintage patterns too.

What do you think of my choices? Did I miss out any of your favourite looks?

Happy Sewing!

K x

31 comments:

  1. I absolutely agree. I did grow up in the Seventies and I do recall there being some stunning looks about as well as some dodgy ones. I love the Seventies and had some cracking clothes when I was little mad by my gran and later on me at school.
    I am looking back now and loving the patterns. I used to o straight to the Fifties and Sixties, but not any more! I can't get enough of wide legged trousers and tunics.
    xx

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    1. My love of the 50s and 60s styles has faded too, I don't find them as wearable for my lifestyle although I do still admire many of the dresses

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  2. I love the 70s, while the whole floaty, flower power, boho look is right up my street. I think the lines and form of the basics like your A-line skirts are brilliant. Certainly the vintage patterns I use the most are from the 70s.

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    1. A-line skirts are great in any decade, I think. I'm not so keen on the tiered skrts of the era but I love a tunic

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  3. I completely agree! I also find myself really drawn to some 80s patterns too. Love the wide-legged trouser patterns. I'm using all my will power to not immediately hit ebay!

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    1. It's so tempting when you can pick up great shapes so cheaply

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  4. Being a '70s baby 👶 I'm bias naturally(love this post:)!

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  5. Love. At the end of the 70s, early 80s, I was obsessed with early 70s fashion - tie dyed a line maxi skirts, t-shirts with low scooped necks, collars and photo prints were firm favourites cherry picked from my mother's wardrobe, along with the tiny floral dresses with tiers and back ties. All of this was terribly unpopular with my age group, who were firmly into New Wave or little seagull prints. We talk about the 70s like it was a solid thing, but the difference between 1970 and 1979 was just astronomical. Fashion, technology, politics, attitudes- just amazing!

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    1. I definitely agree with you MrsC, I always feel that the defining style of an era doesn't really get going til about half way through, but the 70s were very diverse, so there is something for everyone

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  6. The the skirt in the first photo looks just like the M&S suade skirt from last autumn that was their 'must buy' of the season! Having been quite little in the seventies I have avoided many of the styles since, but there are some classics here that are almost timeless.

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  7. Ooooh! Pattern porn. I love the late 60's, early 70's. I used to wear vintage flares all the time and also raided my Mum's wardrobe for all her old clothes. This was the late 80's - ear;y 90's of course and the second "Summer(s) of Love". In the early 80's I was way to busy being a goth but I did have a lot of 60's vintage clothes including some Biba blouses which fitted the part nicely. I have loads of 70's patterns. They really do run the gamut of decades in their style influences so I think that there is something there for everyone. P.S.Vix has some wicked style. Xx

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    1. I was surprised by how diverse the 70s style was, the more I got to know it. I was given a brilliant 1970s fashion book once that got ruined in a storage unit flood and I should really buy again

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  8. Ha! We must be about the same age because I, too, remember that the 70's were not considered a "good" decade for fashion (for most people) in the 80's and 90's. But with some distance we can see that there are some quite lovely silhouettes.

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    1. Definitely, as you get further away you can appreciate it more

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  9. When I was a teen they used to call the 1970's 'the decade style forgot', but I have seen that said about the 80's now! I've never agreed, I think it's like you said, there are great styles in every decade and it's just a case of picking out the best ones and wearing them in modern fabrics or in a modern way (if that's what you want to do). A line skirts, tunics, peasant blouses and wrap dresses will never be out of fashion for me :)

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    1. I've not made a wrap dress yet, though I do have a few patterns in my collection, but the other shapes are real favourites

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  10. I actually have a few of these patterns! I recently made a DVF wrap dress (I was lucky enough pick up a copy in an op-shop) and it worked out really well. I think choosing a modern fabric with a vinatge pattern can make a different to how the garment looks.

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    1. Lucky you, what a great find! Glad you like the selection

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  11. I like the variety of the seventies looks you picked. I think that the individual pieces could look great and would mix in with current wardrobe items. I think the wide legged trousers looked back to the thirties and can look so elegant.

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    1. Ooh yes, the 30s were definitely an influence on those elegant wide legs, and the jumpsuits too I think

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  12. Lovely selection and these shapes constantly reappear season to season, I am enjoying wide legged trousers as an alternative to the maxi, my go-to skirt length!

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    1. So many great classic shapes, it's fast becoming my favourite decade

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  13. I've always been very nostalgic about the 70's, although my mum is still scarred by it I think. I love all of your choices, and agree that with a modern fabric, the styles are timeless. (well, ok, maybe not the collars). The shirt dresses (zipped or buttoned) often have really nice yoke details, some of them are very 1940s.

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    1. You're right, the collar size can be a real giveaway of a 70s pattern!

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  14. When I was a kid in the 70s I had a pair of crimplene(?) flares, red above the knee and black below divided by a single zigzag line. Hideous. Still scarred; also by the pudding basin haircuts. Aaaahhh. However, now safe in the 2010s there are quite a few style elements I do now love, especially the skirts, the wide leg trousers and many of the tops and dresses. Jen

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    1. Wow, those flares sound incredible!

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  15. I've got the Maudella skirt pattern and you've reminded me I really want to make a denim one for the autumn! I think it's like many decades, there are things - fabric designs and patterns - which I wouldn't go near with a barge pole but many of the styles come back in different guises.

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    1. Ah yes - that looks like a great pattern, quite few options in one packet. I can't decide which one I like best but I think 2 would look great in denim

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  16. That halterneck maxi dress! Swooooooon!

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Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say