Tag Archives: 1960s

1968: The Year the Shifts Lost Shape


I’ve been into fashion for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been into fashion history for just about as long. While I’ve always thought of fashion history as being about the influential design houses, I’m hugely enjoying looking at changes in fashion trends through the lens of vintage sewing patterns. I’ve been going through them year by year on the Vintage Pattern Wiki, which is an amazingly comprehensive resource.

I’ve loved 1965-1967, and I was expecting to love 1968, which I went through last night. While I didn’t love ’68, it’s amazing to see the change between ’67 and ’68 through sewing patterns. 1967 was still fairly trim and proper: Jackie Kennedy meets Mod. 1968 is immediately groovier. I was surprised to see bellbottoms, but I guess  the hippie influence was already at work.

One of the biggest changes is found in the shift dress patterns. In my post from a week or so ago, I was noticing that the ’65-67 shift dress patterns consistently featured long french darts. By ’68, the french darts are, for the most part, gone. In many cases, they’ve been replaced by bust darts coming from the armhole (see above).  The shifts are far less shapely – even sack like. The example at the top of this post is typical of the ’68 shifts in depicting a (tie) belt. The raglan sleeves are atypical. A number of examples feature the patch pockets.

Here’s another Simplicity from 1968. Belted View? Check. Patch Pockets? Check. No French Dart? Check. Instead, we have a Dior Dart from a side panel.


I thought this one looked particularly tenty, but then I noticed it’s a Maternity pattern. Still, I think it counts as a shift, and it has the armhole darts.
ImageMcCall’s 9571, still 1968. More armhole darts, patch pockets (here on a jaunty slant), and a belted view. I do quite like the  gap between the collar, which I often see on 60s patterns.  One of my favourite looks ever.

McCall 9571

McCall’s 9327 is reasonably shapely with its princess seams:

McCall 9327

The “Quickie” 9792 isn’t (again, belts…)McCall 9297

I wonder how McCall’s 9385’s stark a-line reads on a body, rather than a fashion drawing. Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 9.19.44 PM

And saving the worst for last:

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 8.47.00 PM