Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School

Although our schools have been in session since August 16th, many schools across the country will not start until after Labor Day.

Waaay Back When, when I was getting ready to head back to school, we would wait in anticipation for the August Back to School issue of Seventeen. It was big and fat and loaded with the newest back to school styles.

I spent hours paging through the issue, choosing the outfits that I would "copy". We never bought our clothes - we sewed our clothes.

I found a big box of Seventeen magazines for sale on Ebay. Ranging in years from 1969-1974 - my era.

Here are some of the styles featured in these magazines.
Plaids were BIG.

And not just in popularity - BIG in size.

Did we never ask the question - Do these pants make my butt look big???
Obviously not.

Dresses were short and we always wore colored tights.

Crazy pants where in.
And the size of our butts obviously was not an issue.

Red white and blue was a very popular color combination.

The red, white and blue dress in the middle
was one that I wanted to copy...but never did.
Just like then I had many "want to do someday" projects
and a few UFO's.

A lot of the clothes had smocking on them.
I made many items with this feature.
Like now, the smocking was done with elastic thread on your bobbin.

Shoes were big and clunky, with big buckles…
probably to balance out the BIG plaids.

"Want to have" brands at the time:
The Red I

Bobby Brooks.
This was another one of those
"I wanted to copy"...but never did get it done

This was the look in prom dresses.
I think these are real live models….
but they look a little manikin-ish.

Betsey Johnson signed on with Butterick pattern company
featuring her line of patterns named Alley Cat.
I made many of Betsy's patterns.
She looks way more conservative in this picture…

then she does today.

Charms were very big…

And I don't mean five inch squares.
I had a charm bracelet but I did not have a ton of charms.
I wanted a charm bracelet like Sandra Eggiman's.
She was one of the older girls who rode my bus.
Her charm bracelet was loaded with charms.
The greeting sign of the era was the peace sign.

Everybody had tattoos.

Metal ones.
Also know as I.D. bracelets.
Everyone wanted to receive one of these...from their boyfriend.

In the pages of those Seventeen magazines I also spotted some of the newest beauty products.
Sometimes it was okay to be the second child. Being younger I was sometimes not "old enough" to use some of the products that my sister used.
I will never forget the time my sister Linda and her friend Linda used their hard earned money they made waiting tables at Pavelko's Café to buy QT.
I was soooo jealous…. until I saw the results.

Your skin turned a very unnatural shade of orange,
with your knees, elbows, heels and hands being
a much darker shade of that unnatural shade of orange.
Dodged a bullet there.

By the time I was "old enough"
everybody had quit using QT
and started using good old natural Baby Oil.
We added Iodine to the baby oil for our "tan".
We looked a little jaundice….but at least we did not look like a copper kettle.

Sun In was another product that the "Lindas" used but I never tried.
This product was supposed to give you that
"bleached naturally by the sun" look.
Really it turned your hair quite yellow.

Pssssst was another product that really did not work.
Basically you looked like you had powder in your hair - which you did.

Wigs were big in this era, although none of us ever had one.
The ad states: So natural, so lustrous, so for-real they even fool experts.

Well I am no expert but I certainly am not fooled!
Could be why a wig was never on my "want" list.

Ambush was the fragrance of choice.

Our faces were washed with Noxema

Then we slathered blue eye shadow on our eyes.

We whitened our teeth with Pearl Drops.
It did not quite work as well as Crest White Strips.
If fact I don't think it whitened my teeth at all.

Our IPods were called Transistor Radios.
If you turned the volume up really high and held them up to your ear
you could hear a lot of static mixed in with a little music

Our computer was one of these…

and a trip to the library.
There was no such thing as

While paging through the ads in the back of these magazines, I noticed the careers they were pushing for girls were
airline stewardess, fashion merchandising, interior design and nursing.
There was an ad to become a Veterinary Assistant - but not a Veterinary.

We've come a long way baby!

From my heart,


  1. Thank you..what fun memories.

    Remember the Coppertone ad? the one where a little girl has a bare bottom?

    How about "Take me away Calgon"?

    I remember the popular store "TG&Y", games and Yoyos.

    The bigger the bell bottoms, the cooler you were. But when those things got wet, they weighed a TON !!

    Didn't everyone want a Dorothy Hamil hairdo?

    I made a jumper in every color - and the shorter the jumper, the better.

    Tube tops...............LOL

    My ID bracelte is STILL in my jewelry are those BIG BIG BIG hoop earrings.

  2. The August SEventeen was my favorite magazine...and I also sewed most of my own clothes for many years...starting in junior high! Now I hunt for Quilt Sampler the way I looked for Seventeen so many years ago!

  3. Hey
    Well seeing as I do not sew, the patterns are way over my head - I can relate to the ads, the finished products - and most important the Baby Oil and Iodine, then off to Newport Beach to cook a little in the sun. Thanks for the fun memories.
    Be seeing you

  4. So funny! Some of those I remember and some were before my time. What a good laugh.

    (I just got my email from FQS letting me know that the Lollipop fabric is in-can't wait to get my hands on it!!)

  5. What a trip down memory lane!! But where is the houndstooth? I sewed so many skirts and jumpers in houndstooth, which I still love. I also can't believe that I made pleated skirts and jackets in plaid, and matched all those plaids at the seams.

  6. Oh my gosh! Thank you for this blast from the past! I was just talking about the baby oil we would sun bathe in!!! We have come a long way!!!

  7. Sandy, this is too funny! I also am from the same era with my red, white & blue large striped bell bottom pants. And, alas, I did try QT :).

  8. This was the funniest blog, it brought back such vivid memories or the magazine, the clothes etc. But the picture that really light up my smile was the prom dress photo. I still have my Junior prom dress in my closet. It's yellow but looks identical to the purple southern bell with all the ruffles. If you can believe it I wore that on a boat trip from LA Harbor to Catalina Island about 2 hours away for the Prom. WE had such fun... those were the days.

  9. I HAD that bright yellow transistor radio!!! It twisted open to stand it up or to put on your wrist. I wore it on my wrist all the time.I thought it was and I was the coolest thing going. LOL AM radio... all static with a little music in the back ground.

  10. This was a fantastic post - what memories. This was my era also. It's almost embarrassing to look at now.

    I was not into the prom look. I was a hippie. HAHA!

  11. Oh my goodness!
    What memories!
    Such a fun post!
    Sending the link to my 28 & 20 year old daughters!
    And some of us DID worry about making our butts look big and bemoaned not having Twiggy like figures so we would look great in those clothes :-)

  12. Loved this post!!! Used iodine and baby oil too but the best was plain ol' Vaseline......until I tried it my first year at the beach. haha

  13. Thank you for the walk down memory lane. I used to love that magazine even though we used to get it months later in New Zealand :)

  14. Oh, my goodness -- the memories! You have such a gift for these trips down memory lane!

  15. This was a great trip back in time. I remember it all, so you know how old I am! Thanks for the memories.

  16. Thanks for the trip in the way back machine! That is my era too! Love the pictures of clothes and products. Such memories. Baby oil!! What were we thinking? Obviously we were not!! Did you see that is Ali McGraw in the Baby Oil ad and Susan Dey in the Pssssst ad?? I recognize a couple of the other girls but can't recall the names. My sister and I knew all the models by name.
    Ahhhh a typewriter. IBM Selectric for me please and I would happily give up the computer! :D

  17. Love this one---I, too, was from this era. We weren't allowed to wear pants to school unless it was less than 32 degrees on the morning news (which wasn't very often down here in Louisiana). And THEN, it had to be "coordinated pant suit". We even had a style show to show us what a coordinated pant suit was!!

  18. That is all TOO FUNNY--and obviously hits home with a LOT of us! I did try the QT and Sun-In. I had orange palms for awhile. And I worked at a TG&Y. Never had a wig, per se, but did have a 'fall' (long, flowing, not as goofy as the one you pictured..HAHA). Kinda scary lookin' at some of that stuff! YIKES!

  19. Thanks for the blast from the past! I had a pair of jeans that looked quite a bit like the red, white, and blue ones. My son found a picture of me wearing them and had a big laugh. I was a fan of the model Colleen Corby (at least that's how I remember her name.) Maybe because she was a brunette, too. Wasn't that blue eyeshadow scary?
    Leslie S. in MN

  20. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. We have come a long way!

  21. What a blast from the past. Thanks for the fun memories. I remember also being into "platform" shoes by Candies, hip-hugger suede bellbottoms with a huge belt and buckle and "sizzler" dresses that were so short your "underwear" was part of the dress and matched. Good times...

  22. What a wonderful walk down memory lane. I feel like I remember many of those ads and those clothes, I still won't have anything to do with plaids. My daughter was wearing a "mod" dress, but laughed when I told her what we called it. So funny, thanks.

  23. Sandy, thanks for the enjoyable blast from the past! I wore the plaids, too, in lots of jumpers. My friend had a suit made of orange and yellow plaid that we all coveted. And those products! Pearl Drops, Sun In, and Psst were in my stash. Do you think that is Susan Dey in the Psst ad? Please show us more!

  24. Good heavens that was some walk down memory lane!!! I remember learning how to sew in Home Ec (is there still such a thing) and making several dresses from the same pattern. Then it was the pants suits (polyester of course). But the biggest thing for me was getting contact lenses! Woo hoo baby, no more 4 eyes!

  25. I LOVE your blog. You sure can bring back the memories. We must be the same age. I still haven't stopped thinking about the 4-H dress revue.

  26. aaahhhh ambush, used to bathe in it....

  27. What fun memories you have brought back. My prom dress was lime green and my date wore a baby blue tux, did we ever stand out.

    Thanks for the blast from the past.


  28. So very fun to relive the 60's and 70's. I enjoyed Seventeen as well and like you had to make most of my clothes. Thanks for the trip down memory lane...

  29. Ouch, I had a pair of plaid pants like that (maybe 2). And that picture of those kids on the tire swing - the cleanest hippies I've ever seen. Such a fun post, thanks for sharing.

  30. I totally forgot about Ship n-Shore!!! All that clothing was just scary wasn't it? I remember my plaid pants too. YIKES!

    I really enjoyed this post Sandy!

  31. Great memories! Yours was just after my era (1963-69); I also got my ideas for sewing my wardrobe from Seventeen. I think I missed out on most of that plaid....hated matching those plaids!

  32. Sandy, thanks so much for the walk down memory lane! I haven't visited some of these thoughts since the 70's!

    Great blog. Love your fabric!

  33. I had every one of those magazines....but didnt sew for school (uniforms!). I graduated in '72 and got a Kenmore sewing machine, and an electric typewriter for presents. Went on to major in and teach Home Ec.! Thanks for the memories!

  34. Great post!!! I graduated HS in 1976 so I remember all of that!! I had RW&B striped pants, and I LOVED them :)

    I also had the little "purple Panasonic portable" (that's what I called it) that is pictured in your radio ad. hehehe

    I'm still smiling at all the memories, thank you!

  35. You brought back so many memories I intentionally buried!!..Do you also remember the WHITE VINYL BOOTS?? I thought I was the answer to all wearing them!! I also sewed all my dresses and skirts bell bottoms etc..remember the front yoke dresses?? Those were the days!! Bonnie

  36. Oooooh, yeah. I remember all that--especially the plaids--I made a lovely orange, gold, and black plaid jacket, skirt, and slacks to wear at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign! Probably in some landfill somewhere by now!

  37. Exactly my era too! Thanks for the memories. . .

  38. What an awesome post, Sandy! I have two Seventeen mags that I saved from my era..late 60's, then I have two from my daughter's era..late 80's. It is so fun to look back at the fashions. Speaking of "awesome"....I just finished a little project using your "Awesome" charm pack in a candlemat. Tomorrow, I'll make the same mat in your "Adoring" charm pack. Love the fabrics in both!

  39. What a trip down memory lane. I so looked forward to the new Seventeen Magazine issues all year long. I graduated high school in the early eighties, but I remember making plaid outfits when I was in junior high, and yes, it was BIG plaid. Thank's for the memories. The big butt comments made me LOL!

  40. I also, remember ironing my hair, having many of those outfits. Having a job at Mcdonald's.(when they only had hanburgers and Big Macs. And plaid, loud colors and Twiggy

  41. Fun! I never heard of baby oil and iodine - we just used baby oil, and fried our skin bright red! Thanks for the fun memories!

  42. Thanks Sandy, I remember every single picture & product, fond memories. I also copied the clothes in the magazines and sewed all of my school outfits too, except the good old Levis! Thanks, btw your Spirit line, making Morley Moose right now!

  43. I loved this post!! I remember so many of the things you shared...especially the noxema! I can still recall the texture of that cream and the tingle it left on your face.

  44. Oh man, I remember those big plaids! I made all my clothes then and had a couple jumpers made out of them.
    Thanks for that trip down memory lane.
    Kathy B
    Yolo, CA

  45. Wow! What a great trip down memory lane! I still have some of my wool plaid skirts. And our girls' basketball team had matching plaid long jumper tops with shorts on the side. I made many of them for the girls. The Noxema, baby oil & iodine, Ambush..... Those were the days!

  46. Wow, I actually had those orange plaid long shorts by Bobby Brooks and I looked pretty damn good in them too. Those were the days. I still like the shoes, much better than spikes and ugly platforms.

  47. Yuk!!! The blue eye shadow...but we thought we looked so great. I lusted after the 17 mag. As it was American it was expensive, so just thumbed through any old one I could scrounge. Boy we really have come a long way haven't we??
    Thanks for the memories
    Hugs Gloria

  48. Oh, my Gosh!! What a trip back in time. I graduated from high school in '69 and I remember all the things in these ads - sewed lots of my own cloths in those lovely plaids, even had a wig in college for those bad hair days. Funny this is my hair was very curly and my wig was straight - what a hoot.

  49. Oh what wonderful memories, thanks so much. I LOVED the August Seventeen edition. So many ideas and great fashions. I had red plaid bell bottoms with cuffs, adorable (I thought) with my peasant top with an apple on the front. I used Close-up toothpaste and had a shag haircut. The Panasonic add brought back a memory of my "donut" radio, too fun. Remember the old Herbal Essence shampoo?? Remember the commercials? My cousin had wallpaper like the jungle in them. sooo lucky... LOL..

  50. What absolute and total FUN to run down memory lane again - what a great post! I had a pair of bright red Royal Stewart bell bottoms that I wore with pride - unfortunately today I fear I would not be able to get my thigh through the waistband without some sort of injury. I thoroughly enjoyed this post - thanks for a fun trip!

  51. Wow..thank you for the memories! I remember well most of those styles, but my family didn't have much money so I sewed most of my clothes, and had that "home made" look! Remember Gunne Sax dresses? I loved that style., midi and maxi skirts. We thought the midi's were so ugly at first, then that was all I would was nice to get away from wearing mini skirts! Well...thanks again!

  52. Oh my goodness, what a trip down memory lane! That was my era too, embarrassing now to think of baby oil, iodine, and to much sun! Thanks for the memories!

  53. Thanks for the memories. I also grew up in that time frame.I started the day with a smile.

  54. Digging out fabrics for the candy corn yesterday, I ran across a bag of leftovers that will be perfect for the pumpkin!!! I'm thinking about turning the project sideways and making placemat! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  55. What a fun trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, I think I wore clothes alot like those! And used some of those products. What were we thinking?! And my first typewriter was a Royal Manual. Now I wish I had never thrown it away. Oh, well. Have a great day!

  56. I can totally relate with the bugs and mice. I live in southern Wisconsin on a farm and my husband will be harvesting soybeans soon. Those dare bugs will be with us all winter! Thanks for the pattern it will look great in my home.

  57. Remeber the model Shelly Hack? She's in the center of the plaid photo.

  58. Supermodel Shelley Hack is in the plaid ad for Vicky Vaughn. As well as the ad for Bobby Brooks and Noxzema.