Simplicity 6624: I walk on concrete, I walk on sand.

The Pattern: 
Simplicity 6624, MISSES’ TOPS, copyright 1974 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc. 
This cover art. I find it very appealing. I like how the models are grouped to create a sense of depth of field, I like the varied but not crazy looking arm positions, and I like their facial expressions. Serious. Introspective. Optimistic. They look smart and calm and I like that. 
I also like the skinny belts and how the hair is stylized but not outrageous. These girls are not caricatures. 
What I find hilarious about the cover art is that Pick-A-Knit stretch gauge on the back. Look at what a tiny amount of stretch the pattern wants! Barely any at all! Plus the shirt is patterned to have a zipper at the center back neck! 
Oh 1970’s patterns, how you amuse me with your cautious approach toward stretch.

The Fabric:
It was just your average street-vendor tourist-T. White cotton knit, boxy, kinda thick, kinda clunky. You know, a classic. 
After ten years of being washed & worn and washed & worn and washed & worn by the man I love, however, it faded and softened to Perfection. I pulled it out of the wash one day and said, “Hey, can I have this?” and he said, “Of course. Weirdo”. 
So I used Simplicity 6624 and made that old grubby t-shirt into a nice new grubby t-shirt. 


Come on, I’ll swipe you through. My card is loaded.
See the V-neck? How it overlaps at the point of the V? 
I did that, not the pattern. 
I’m fascinated with this construction style, where you have a V neck that terminates into a yoke. 
I had always thought it was a style choice, until sometime during school I realized what it really is: a clever (read: faster, cheaper, less skill required) way to make a V without having to miter the neck band. 
This construction method is often used for uniforms, which, viewed with a positive spin, give a feeling of unity, equality, a shared purpose. As in team jerseys or medical scrubs. Viewed with a negative spin, there can be a feeling of homogeny, de-personalization, interchangeability. As in prison uniforms or those shirts we had to wear sometimes in gym class. I think they were called pennies? 

Clothes. They speak! 

The neckline in the front is cut from the original T-shirt’s hem, so that’s the original cover stitching you see there, with my own cover stitching at the hem of the sleeves and the yoke seam and the new shirt hem. Also at the armsceyes, which I wouldn’t always stitch down, but in this case the sleeve is just a cap instead of a real sleeve, so I cover stitched to finish the seam allowance under the arm, and then went all the way around for continuity. Keeps the upper seam allowance nice and smooth too. 
I reused the original shoulder stabilizer strip, which is a method I’ve never used before: basically instead of using clear elastic in the shoulder seams, you have a strip of self that is stitched along the shoulder seams and the back of the neck, clean-finishing the shoulder seams and the back neck binding. It’s very sturdy, you see it in men’s shirts. Gives kind of a rugged look, I like it. 

What I Changed From The Original:

  • Yoke seam
  • Cap sleeves
  • No back seam or zip
  • No bust ease. This pattern provided 1 1/2″ bust ease, which is not the insane amount of ease I have come to expect/check for/become enraged by in commercial patterns, but it was still unwanted. 

Five hours, forty-five minutes. Not fast, but fine considering the piecing and taking apart the original shirt and figuring out the stabilizer strip and stuff. Worth my time certainly. 

Sew It or Throw It:
Sew it. 
This old thing really comes through, with a surprisingly contemporary shape. The body length is just how I like it, the shoulders are smooth, the sleeve cap has no ease, the shaping through the body is gentle but flattering. 
Might even get crazy and try giving this pattern a real shot, in new knit instead of old grubby T. 


15 thoughts on “Simplicity 6624: I walk on concrete, I walk on sand.

  1. I second Kerry above — where on earth did you get that enormous Metro card?
    *getting the focus back now*

    I love this t-shirt refashion. And the styling is grunge in the best possible way. I’m a fan.

    Even if you didn’t like the pattern itself, it would be hard to let go of that envelope. I admire the illustrator’s concept: “these will be tops for thinkers.” Simone de Beauvoir would be sewing one up for herself in 1974.

    I’m curious, is this pattern’s sizing as crazy with the added ease as today’s Big Four patterns? I’ve heard that the companies did multiple overhauls of their sizing system, but I have no clue what those entailed.


    1. This pattern was sized for a 36 inch bust, and the pattern measured 37 1/2 inches. So, 1 1/2 inches of ease. Not excessive, but I prefer zero bust ease in a T shirt.
      In my experience so far with sewing and throwing both vintage and recent patterns, there is definitely more added ease in the current patterns than in the older ones.
      I have some theories:
      1) Home sewing used to be more common, and being taught to sew in school used to be more common, so people sewing at home had a higher level of experience with patterns, taking their own measurenuts, altering to fit, etc. They didn’t need added ease as a safety net for mistakes. Also, they could ask advice from their moms/teachers, who were themselves more experienced in sewing than your average mom/teacher of today.
      2) Women used to wear foundation garments. So, their bodies conformed more closely to sample sizes. Less variety in shape, less need for ease.
      I think the pattern companies are desperate to make sure their patterns don’t come out too small, because one can always take in, but letting out is not always possible.
      But then, the trouble comes when the ease is so excessive that even taking in is impossible. Which totally happens. I’ve done it, and I am not a beginner.
      This safety net theory doesn’t explain the excessive sleeve cap ease, though, which I see mostly in current McCall’s patterns, and is not a fit thing so much as a patterning thing. I have no theories on that other than they want to make sure the learning curve is as long and arduous as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently made up some men’s polo neck tops for a print designer, the patterns were Simplicity and from the 70’s. They also had zips in the neck, running from the shoulder to the polo neck edge. So I was thinking…why?? And realised that stretch fabric, as we know it, didn’t appear until the late 80’s! Before that the stretchiest fabric was forms of crimpolene, a polyester knitted jersey, with minimum stretch. So for those 70’s patterns, there had to be a zip, or it wouldn’t go over your head!?


    1. In a double knit polyester, you’re right, totally wouldn’t go over the head.
      But in this case, the suggested fabrics list begins with “stretchable jersey knits of polyester, cotton, nylon, or acetate.” The fabric I used here was the same stuff, an all cotton, non-Lycra, mens T-shirt knit, which, when combined with the extra depth of the V neckline, gave plenty of room to get a head through.
      I’m curious to try the rounded neckline, and see if that one stretches over the head in a non Lycra cotton knit too or if it would actually require the zip. I should probably just measure the pattern. If the proportions of the illustration are correct, it looks like the neck opening is already bigger than a head measurement, without needing a zip.
      Maybe women in the 70’s were in the habit of styling their hair after getting dressed? So they needed an extra large neck opening to get a headful of curlers through?
      Your comment inspired me to look up when men’s cotton undershirts were invented, and found a listing that they were included by the US Navy as part of the sailor uniform as early as 1905, to be worn under the uniform at all times or as outerwear only on hot days at the discretion of their commanding officer.
      So I guess the Hollywood fantasy of shirtless sailors swabbing the decks in indeed just a fantasy. Oh well.

      Liked by 1 person

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