Saturday, May 3, 2014

Thrifty Acres: Flashback To 1971

Hello! Recently spotted the 1971 Fall-Winter Issue of 1,001 Fashion & Needlecraft Ideas at a thrift store. Never one to resist mags from the 1970's, I picked it up. 

For one thing, there was something on the cover that intrigued me:

"ROOM 222" In New Knits" - and sure enough, that's actress Karen Valentine on the cover. She played a perky student teacher on the show, which was about a fictional high school in Los Angeles. Room 222 ran from 1969-1974, and yes, I am old enough to remember it when it was on. I was still in grade school when it began its run, so I recall watching the triumphs and troubles of the students as they made their way through high school ever so earnestly. And helping them every step of the way, of course, was the equally earnest faculty and staff. 

I started high school in the fall of 1974, and it didn't take me long to realize that virtually no one at my high school - staff and students alike - was as earnest as the folks on "Room 222". Another fantasy bubble burst, ha. 

But as the above cover attests, the real-life stars of "Room 222" made an appearance in the magazine, showing off "new knits" such as:

Ms. Valentine again, modeling a hat and scarf set.

Actor Michael Constantine, who played the high school principal, is shown modeling a sweater:

That sweater would still look good today! 

BTW, the magazine comments that both Valentine and Constantine won Emmys for their roles in the show the year before. 

Alas, actors Lloyd Haynes (history teacher Pete Dixon) and Denise Nicholas (counselor Liz McIntyre) could not make the photo shoot due to scheduling conflicts, we are told. 

Back to reality, and there is plenty of it. The magazine is chock-full of well, fashion and needlecraft ideas, though I didn't count to see if there are actually "1,001" of them. Surprisingly, many of the ideas are good, and there are interesting ads as well. But of course, there are a few clunkers lurking within too. 

Above, a Mountain Mist Creative Quilting Kits ad. "everything is in the kit to make a beautiful quilted pillow", we are told. I occasionally see similar pillows for sale at thrift stores. I like that abstract mushroom number in the upper right-hand side, but actually all these pillows are pretty good. They'd look great in a retro-influenced decor today. 

Another craft ad that caught my eye:

JC Penney had a craft catalog then, with "even kits to make your own wine, soda pop, or sourdough bread!" That, along with decoupage, macrame, bottlecutting, candlemaking, plastic dip film and more. And it's "plastic dip film" crafting that the woman in the ad's photo is doing, with a product called Whimsy Dip. She'd made several plastic flowers with Whimsy Dip, not realizing that eventually the product would be pulled off the market due to the chemicals in it. 

Another craft project, this one apparently introduced by the magazine:

I know, it's just a black and white pic of a needlework project, but it's actually "Screenpoint", you see. And what is "screenpoint", pray tell? "Simply substitute ordinary window screen for fabric, and stitch away - using the screen as you would a piece of canvas". The screen is to be spray painted first, then the edges bound with masking tape to prevent scratching, I assume. I don't know how popular screenpointing was; this was the first reference I've seen to it. It might be interesting to do. 

Now on to some fashions. There are some good ones, but here's where there's some ugliness too!

Above, "Here is a coat with a built-in lining...It is made of fur fabric turned inside out!" Made from a commercial pattern, it sounds and looks nice. I liked the rows of braided trim used to add color to the project. If I came across something like this in good shape and for a good price at a thrift store, I might be tempted to buy it!

A coat of a different color:

The pattern for this woolen wrap coat is included in the magazine - basically it's a large fabric circle, with two smaller circles for pockets and simple sleeves sewn in. The pockets are embroidered and edged with trim. The same trim also edges much of the coat. Extra points for using a senior citizen as a model! She looks like a more glamorous version of how my grandmother looked at that same time. 

The coat looks a little bulky, perhaps to its multi-size fit (it's designed to fit sizes 10-16, though I think those sizes are smaller than today's sizes using the same numbers). It'd probably be pretty expensive to make in a nice wool, but I give the magazine props for having designed a fairly simple pattern. 

One last nice garment:

Not a fan of the guy's 1890's mustache, but check out that navy blue blazer he's modeling - it's actually a knitted sweater. Looks very much like the real thing, so I thought that was pretty cool. I'm not a knitter, so I don't know if people still make look-alike knitted blazers. 

Gotta close out by showing off a couple of bad looks. I'll start with:

Here we have a "Mandarin Jacket" teamed up with "comfortable pull on pants", both courtesy of Kandel Knits patterns and knit fabrics -  in other words, the dreaded double knit pant suit. I wore a number of double knit pant suits around this time, each in hideous solid colors. Braided trims (obviously very "in" then) dressed up such outfits a little, but I have bad memories of my mom making these pant suits for my sisters and me to wear as back-to-school fashions. We liked the idea of new outfits to start the school year, but take it from me - double knit fabrics and the high temps of early September don't mix well. Thus, I still shudder when I see this  fabric at the thrift store!

Not double knit, but still a dubious look:

Here I want to call attention to the model on the right. She's wearing a "super-striped jumpsuit...Bands of wide embroidered braid  square off the neck and round the sleeves". They can call it "super-striped" - I call it a look fit for a circus clown. 

But really, overall this magazine featured some interesting looks and fairly simple projects, so this was a flashback worth taking!

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