Tag Archives: tee shirt

Vintage Sewing – Scottie Tee Shirt

I ran across this cute 1970s knit back in the early days of Etsy when everything there was a tremendous bargain.  I think I paid about $5 for a piece that was large enough for a tee shirt, but I was amused when I received the fabric and the seller had neglected to remove the Salvation Army tag showing she had paid 99 cents for it.

This type knit was popular in the 1970s, and I can clearly remember using a piece to sew up a “hot pants” jumpsuit that had a front zipper.  Amazingly, we were not allowed to wear pants to school, but culottes were permitted, and I somehow got away with wearing it.  But I remember the project so well because of the trouble I had getting the stripes to match across the zippered front.  It was a real ordeal, and I finally gave up and put the zipper in by hand.

The memory of that sewing adventure was brought to mind by my latest project.  It was just a simple tee shirt with raglan sleeves, but no way could I get the stripes to match across the sleeve.  According to the illustration on the pattern envelope to should have worked, as a striped version was shown, but after trying all the tricks in my sewing arsenal, I just gave up and cut it so that the bottom of the sleeve matched the bodice.

To make the mis-matching less jarring, I covered the raglan seams with a strip of ribbon.  I’m telling myself that makes it all better.

I used Simplicity 7499, a vintage pattern from the 1970s that I‘ve sewn quite a bit.  I should have realized the stripes would not match, as I couldn’t get them aligned in my last effort either.

Now, only one question remains: Can a soon-to-be 60 year old woman get away with wearing a tee shirt with a Scottie dog design?

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Vintage or Not?

First, do any of my readers read Chinese, and can you translate the characters for me?   I do suspect they say “Sino American Friendship.”

I found this tee shirt at the Goodwill Center last week.  At first I thought this was one of those “vintage” tees from Old Navy or Urban Outfitters or A&F.   But a closer look make me think that this just might be the real thing, an authentic vintage tee shirt.

There are no labels, and no evidence that there ever was one.  More interestingly was this, printed on the inside hem:

There are other clues that this is older.  The construction is just not like anything you would find in a mass market garment today.  This tee shirt has no shoulder seams; it is folded at the shoulders.  Also, the side seams and arm seams are serged, but with an older style overcast, the type seen in 1950s garments.  And look at the sewn-on neckband.

Modern “vintage style” tees are distressed to give them an old look.  They use cheap, very thin fabric to mimic the effects of years of washing.  The aging on this tee is real, right down to the tiny hole or two, and the slight yellowing of the white fabric.

So I’m 99% sure this tee is vintage.  Why not 100%?  Because there is an outside chance that this was produced for a Chinatown emporium such as Pearl River.   They have been known to have wonderful random items, made using old equipment, and unintentionally look “old.”

So, does anyone know for sure.  Don’t think it will hurt my feelings to find out this was made 5 years ago and you bought one in Chinatown in Montreal.  Old or not, I love it.

A bit more info, Harbin is a city in northeast China.  It’s not an old city, but developed along an extension of the Trans-Siberian Railway in the late 1800s.  For much of its history, there have been many more Europeans than Chinese living there.  Today it has a population of almost 10 million people!

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