Saturday, March 07, 2020

Floral Wrap Jacket using a Vintage Betsey Johnson Pattern from the 1970s

I have a fairly large collection of vintage 1970s Betsey Johnson sewing patterns. When I decided to participate in the #sewvivjoyvintage challenge on Instagram I knew it was time to pull one out and sew it up! I used Butterick 3290 and sewed the topstitched wrap jacket.
From what I can tell, the pattern is from 1973. There is no date on the pattern envelope or instructions, so I dated it based on pattern numbers on the Vintage Pattern Wiki that were close to this one that had a date of 1973.

The pattern includes the wrap jacket with tie belt, wide let pants, and a mini skirt. Don't you just love those illustrations!?!
Pattern cover of vintage 1970s Betsey Johnson sewing pattern Butterick 3290
The fabric is a scuba knit from Boho Fabrics. It was lighter weight than I expected, but it ended up working perfectly for this design. 

My original thought was to sew the wrap jacket with matching wide leg pants. Kinda trendy with the all over print jumpsuits and matchmaking floral blazers and pants I've seen in the fashion mags and online.

Instead of using the pants pattern provided with the pattern, I sewed McCall's 7786.  This is now the fourth (or is it fifth?) pair I've sewn. I choose that pattern because the bottom width of the pant leg was identical to the Betsey Johnson pattern and would mimic the look on the pattern cover.  The Betsey Johnson pattern is only one size. While the jacket fit me with minimal alterations, the pants were too small and I didn't want to bother altering them larger.

By the way, the bottom width of the pants is 31-3/4" in the size I sewed.
While I like both pieces, I'll probably wear them as separates. I've worn the jacket quite a few times already and have found that I tend to wear it open with the belt untied. 

One reason I picked the vintage pattern is because that wrap jacket is SO similar to current designs!  I've learned over the years to look at the lines of patterns, and not necessarily the fashion illustrations or model photos. 

For example, the McCall's 7912 wrap jacket has a shawl collar, no closure, and tie belt. The main difference is my 70s pattern has bell sleeves but that's an easy pattern alteration,.
McCall's 7912 pattern envelope with wrap jacket views
McCall's 7912 photo from McCall
Just goes to show everything old is new again. ;-)

My jacket has a lot of top stitching, per the pattern design. I choose a mustard yellow thread designed for top stitching. I thought the mustard yellow would help pull out the yellow flowers, but in reality the floral pattern is too busy to see the top stitching.
I didn't use a double needle. Instead I stitched the first row of stitches and then used the edge of my pressure foot to line up the second row.
I had SO MUCH TROUBLE with the topstitching!  It would play nice for a few inches and then boom! Stitches would pull to the back side, or skip. Then back to stitching nicely again. 

 I played with the tension. I tried stablizer on the backside. I added interfacing to the hem areas.
I changed the needle to one designed for topstitching.
Aargh!  I almost ripped out all of it and was going to settle for plain black. But I kept going and as long as you don't look TOO closely on the back side it's all good :-) 

Oh! One thing I forgot to mention. The pattern was missing the second sheet of instructions. Of course it was for the construction of the jacket. Fortunately it was an easy jacket and I am sure there were no cool designer secrets included.

The pattern did include a dart (and the weirdest dart - it was soooo high!). I did an FBA and lowered the dart. I also added belt loops. There was no pattern piece for the belt loops so I'm assuming the (missing) instructions included thread loops to hold the belt in place.

I'm quite pleased with my floral explosion!  I do believe I will wear the two pieces together - at least once.
And continue to pair it with a tee and jeans.  

Pin It


  1. I really like this two piece set! Super cute. Yes, I agree, what is old is new again. Good thing you held on to that pattern!

  2. You've really made it current with your use of the black background floral!

  3. Wow! Love these fabulous floral outfit of you! We definitely need some HAPPY floral fabric this time of year! 😍



Blog Widget by LinkWithin