McCalls 7126: 1961 Sewing Pattern for Research & Inspiration

Dated 1961, this home sewing pattern by McCalls 7126 is a great example of sportswear in the early 1960s. This look was a bridge between 1950's silhouettes where an hourglass figure was important, to the loose "A" line and 'hip hugger' silhouette of the later 1960's.

There was a strong Asian design influence through out the 50's. Starting during the WWII era, this trend was influenced in part by American fashion designers Claire McCardell, Rudi Gernreich, Bonnie Cashin and others. Their work often shows very simple tunic styles over a slender trouser, as this sport set from 1961 shows. The feature here is a very flat tunic top design with classic front slit down to a 'yoke' seam line across the upper bust line. Hinting of a smock or peasant top, this was a popular look for both resort and sports wear.

Of additional interest are the fabric colors: blue and green. This combination was growing in popularity during this time influenced by bright tropical and Asian color schemes. Often these were seen in strong graphic and abstract floral patterns such as those from the popular Scandinavian design house Marimekko. A flat tunic top was the perfect shape to showcase these colorful and graphic textiles.

The schematic drafts of this ensemble show clearly how the back views appeared and how the patterns were designed. It is interesting to see that what appears to be a casual dress made by belting a longer version of the tunic, is actually a fitted skirt with the bulky tunic tucked into the waistline.

The bodice of the tunic is artfully fitted with a dart shaping that has been integrated into the horizontal mock yoke seam line. This would reduce extra underarm bulk and help the side seam to hang neatly.

This pattern design has potential today made up in solid linens, larger scale prints and graphics. The clean lines and simple shaping are perfect for our current silhouette trends, worn with slender pants or leggings.

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