Sunday, December 16, 2012

That 70s Jacket

I'm still sorting through all the rubble we brought home from my aunt's apartment.  There were knicknacks galore, a good bit of costume jewelry and very little clothing.  Most of what was left was really worn, not even worthy of the thrift store.  A few of her cotton blouses I threw into my scrap bag to be taken apart for other projects.  Only one or two things are worth mentioning, and I'm showing one of them here, not because I've listed in my Etsy shop (which I have) but because I feel the need to share the 1970s technicolor glory of this piece.

My aunt knitted, crocheted and sewed, and she made this jacket herself.  I seem to recall that there were coordinating pants, though I've blocked out whether they were pink or orange.  Probably pink, because she was a redhead and occasionally stood up to her (redheaded) mother who said redheads couldn't wear pink.  Of course, she was in her 40s when she made this, which shows that you're never done trying to prove your mother wrong.  

She didn't wear it too often; whether that meant she really only made it to spite her mom, or because because my mom (who was her cousin), tormented her like they were 10 years old, I don't know.  There's certainly no photographic evidence of her wearing it, which is a shame.  I do remember seeing her in it a few times; I also remember my mom making her cry by singing "I'd rather be dead than a redhead."  Only your nearest and dearest can drive you that crazy, right?

It's made from that wonderful/awful 1970s spongy doubleknit.  The zigzag texture carries through to the inside; of course, that fabric was more plastic than fabric, so I'm not surprised. 

From our point of view, it's a nice bit of sewing.  The inside is finished with a red knit binding at the back neck and red lace hem tape.  All seams are zigzagged, which is the best her machine could do at that time.  The pattern matching on the center front and pockets is perfect.  The lapels are interfaced with muslin, and the collar, although freakishly 70s wide, is well done.  The gold metal buttons are better than most of what I see now.

I wish I had more examples of her work.  I know she made massive wardrobes for my Crissy dolls when I was a kid, but those got given away with the dolls, and I only have scraps of the fabric left (because she always gave me the leftover fabric in case I wanted to do things with it).  

Everyone gave her grief for this jacket, yet it was one of the few self-made things she kept in her closet.  For more than 40 years.  

It makes me wonder what it meant to her.


annie said...

Well for starters, she should have been proud of her skills. It's beautiful in its way.

Anonymous said...

You are wonderful to honor your Aunt by posting this!! My Mom was a fabulous seamstress, but stopped sewing when I was in junior high. We have no garments at all to admire. I do have some fabulous (FABULOUS) red linen napkins and place mats, cross-stitched with magnificent white and gold snowflakes. Mom made them for my aunt. I'll give them to one of my nieces soon.

Ho ho ho!