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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vintage Threads: Let's Hear it for Vibrant Color in Betty Joe's Checked Sleeve

Betty Joe's vibrantly sleeved
dress shows up in more than one episode
In the 1960's a few new dresses
a year was typical for the middle class
Take a look at Petticoat Junction (P.J) 's red headed Betty Joe's three tiered sleeve. I'd create this sleeve by cutting a very wide peasant-blouse type sleeve, pieced together from increasingly wide strips of the different checks, then separating the checks with a piece of elastic in interior casings. This style of sleeve was typical of mid-sixties sewing patterns, especially with a simple straight cut, no-waistline, dress. I adore this combination of four sizes of brilliant checks. Women were less afraid of brilliant contrasting color during this era than they are today.

What might surprise modern folks, even more than the bright shots of color, is that Betty Joe wears this dress in more than one episode! Can you imagine that? I don't know that I've ever noticed that in a modern t. v. show. (though with more dull colors and less distinctive styles, they probably are reused and I just don't notice). During the sixties era, most women simply had less clothes than many modern day females. Of course the fabric for their garments and the majority of their ready made clothing was produced in the United States, so individual clothing costs were a higher percent of a household budget. A few new dresses a year was pretty exciting for a middle class woman, and that was what the young ladies on P.J. represented.

I just started DVR'ing a few episodes of this retro 1960's t.v. show to catch retro clothing styles. ( Here's another of my Vintage Threads post inspired by P.J. http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/03/vintage-threads-i-want-bobbie-joes.html)  Now, I must admit, I've started watching the episodes. I like the style of the jokes and they way punch lines are delivered, more so than much of current t.v. humor. I'm also a fan of "Dog", who I believe went on to become the dog "Benjie" in later movies.

While laughing at many of the situations in the shows, those interested in learning about cultural attitudes of the sixties would benefit from watching these shows.  In one episode I recorded recently, one of the three beautiful sisters, Bobby Joe, indicated that the new county water project was important because of it's use in agriculture. Old, lazy Uncle Joe (the main guy to poke fun at, because he's always 'a-movin kinda slow') complained that, as a fisherman, his catch would be affected. At this point the laugh track cut in. Golly, can you imagine worrying about the health of a bunch of trout? Well, nowadays the laugh track would probably be repositioned after Bobby Joe's foolishly innocent remark and Uncle Joe would be a political go-getter determined to preserve native fishing rights. I'd also guess that Uncle Joe would be the leader of a vibrant seniors group determined to keep real estate developers out of the county instead of sleeping away his life on the front porch and swiping pickles in Sam Drucker's store. And of course there would be more cultural diversity on display. Even in the sixties everybody in the U.S. wasn't a gringo, though you might think so from what you saw on t.v.

I'm imagining recreating Betty Joe's vintage sleeve in a blouse, and wearing it when I meander over to Sam Drucker's store  for a game of checkers, and a pickle.

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