Hot! My “Mary and Rhoda” outfits


Fabric: Green linen for Mary skirt, white w/green and blue print for Mary shirt, Purple/pink printed poly plaid for Rhoda dress from stash
Patterns:  McCall’s 3955 for Mary skirt, Simplicity 9204 for Rhoda dress and Vogue 8424 for Mary blouse
Year: 1970’s
Notions: Interfacing, 9 vintage buttons from stash for Mary shirt
Accessories: Coat from Swap last week (free!), hat from collection
Time to complete: ~7 hours
First worn: June 2012
Wear again? I doubt it, maybe for Halloween
Total Cost: $
11.45 for shirt, 13.09 for skirt, so $24.54 for all













Soooooo much inspiration, so little time : )

This took some discussion amongst friends to decide what to do. I actually put my top three choices on facebook and had people vote – it came down to Julia Child, Mary Richards and Emma Peel. Emma Peel was a very close second, the deciding factor was how much I would have to tuck and suck and corset to do her proud and in retrospect, I’m glad I went for Mary Richards.

Let me just say up front, the word of the week was “uncomfortable”. I didn’t feel good, even called in sick mid-week just to stay home to nap and do not a whole lot of anything. I didn’t start sewing until Thursday and once again my daughter needed to do photos on Saturday so there was a push Friday night to finish. I just didn’t feel good the entire time so my heart, while I REALLY wanted to do Mary proud, just wasn’t in it.

Why Mary and Rhoda? What is Mary without Rhoda : ) They were friends and I loved them equally. I did a lot of babysitting, and one family in particular liked to go out Friday nights so I would settle into their couch after the girls went to bed and watch “Mary Tyler Moore”, “Bob Newhart” and “The Tonight Show”. The first few notes of any of those theme songs takes me back instantly : )

I always wanted to be Mary, that mixture of self-assuredness and humanity wrapped up in cool Evan-Picone clothing. I figured I had a shot at actually being more like Rhoda, her being artsy and all. They were the first single women, other than “Julia” in the 60’s, that made it OK to be single and thirty. I loved Mary’s history – moved to Minneapolis to get away from the man who didn’t want to marry her, and then turned him down when he showed up to try to woo her back. She set up a new life, made new friends, got a cool ableit-under-paying job and “made it”. Interestingly the lyrics of the theme song started out questioning her whole purpose and life and then the second season they became much more positive.


How do I like the outfits? They’re ok. They’re appropriate for the time, I certainly felt a lot closer to myself as Rhoda but the fabric is an inexpensive poly print I bought to make one of the new vintage Vogue patterns out of to see if I liked not only the pattern but that much plaid on me. Can we say static city? The pattern was super easy, so if anyone wants to make it it goes together quickly. The Mary shirt has three fatal flaws, which is why it will most likely end up on ebay this Halloween season. Nothing wrong with the pattern…if you’re paying attention. First, I sewed the sleeves in precisely backwards. The left sleeve is in the right armhole and vice versa. It will be easy to change when I feel better but for now I look like a dork. Second, when I went to press the front placket down the iron “had a moment” and fried a lovely hole in the lower portion. I cut off the melted piece and replaced it but You Always Know.

The third flaw isn’t really a flaw, it’s just that ginormous collar we loved so in the 70’s. Thank goodness the fabric is soft otherwise it would be poking me in my ears.

The Mary skirt went together in a whopping 40 minutes. No seams are overlocked, not even the hem. The waistband is “faux”, just a folded over strip of fabric sewn on to look good for pictures and held together with a safety pin. Why? I like the fabric so I’ll take the waistband off, taper the seams so it’s straighter, overlock everything and put it back together correctly. Done is beautiful.

My daughter helped me with hair, we went through several translations of Mary’s hair, first trying a “rat” to give it some height and mimic her first season style. (The producers didn’t want her to be mistaken for Laura Petri so they put a fall on the back of her head and combed her bangs back. When the show became popular Mary insisted in the second season using all her own hair so its not as “big”.) Nothing like not being able to see what your daughter is doing to you:

Snookie : )

She made me Snookie, not Mary. Corrections were made : )

And because one of the most iconic things about the show is the beginning where Mary throws her hat, and because Kazz had to REALLY up the ante with the whole photoshop/gif thing last week (that dancing sequence was CRAZY AWESOME!!) I did my own hat toss scene.

There are a couple things you should check out. First is the story of Hazel Frederick, the woman scowling with the glasses and blue head scarf behind Mary. Turns out she was a pretty cool woman, read about her here. You can also read about Mary’s wardrobe here.  And here are the two versions of the theme song –

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you’re all alone
But it’s time you started living
It’s time you let someone else do some giving
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You might just make it after all
You might just make it after all

Seasons 2-7:

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all

I made it! I finished the outfits, finished the challenge and got my 70’s groove on and out of my system. I can’t even tell you HOW excited I am about next weeks challenge!!



Loran is a Bay Area designer, stitcher and suburban farm girl. Having done theater for years she's finally taking on her most demanding client (herself!) and fashioning a wardrobe from her huge stock of vintage patterns and fabrics, all while writing her daily tablesetting blog. Let's see if she can keep up with both : )


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  1. Loran, fantastic job! You are so incredibly talented and amazing. I love your renditions and I love how you play with photoshop/gif. I’m certainly don’t have a talent in that field. Bravo, bravo, bravo and love, love, love!

  2. So fun. I am never a fan of the 70’s but once again you made it work.

  3. Nice work. I guess worst came you’ve got a great new costume. I think it looks like a fun set though.

  4. Wow, I never knew Evan Picone did the wardrobe, see I learn something new from SewWeekly again. Kind of reminds of the designer I wore in high school, Jeffrey Beene.

  5. Super fun!! I love this post.

  6. Wow, what a great post and fab photos. Great outfit. Love it all

  7. Oh my gosh, so much awesome!! Great job showing us all up and making two outfits again! And ditto to blouse trouble this week! Oy vey. But I truly love what you’ve done. Both Mary AND Rhoda were actually on my “maybe” list for this week. To this day, even thinking about the last scene of the final episode makes me tear up a little.

  8. And you didn’t feel well? Wow, what a sewing week you had despite being under the weather. Your inspiration is is so right on! I must admit that in the seventies I was too busy seeing the world to have watched any TV during that time. I missed that show all together. You really captured the look though. I am impressed with your animated gif and I’m dying to try it myself at some point. Lucky you, to have such a talented daughter to take your weekly photos. It’s such a treat to spend that time together isn’t it?

  9. I need your daughter here so that she can do my hair. I want a tremendous beehive. I haven’t figured out how to do it. That or I have the wrong products. I love your energy in the pictures-I can’t tell you were feeling under the weather.

  10. You made three pieces!! And a gif! I need to work faster! Love the blouse print and you are rocking that dress – you look hot! Love the hair too x

  11. two characters!!! seriously Loran.. you’re puttin us to shame. lol. And in 7 hours. holy moly. I watch this show every now and then… and have picked up a couple of 70’s patterns because they looked like ‘Mary’. I’d never realised the themesong change. Interesting tidbit. Well done, every piece is fabulous.

  12. Great job.. Love your outfits.. Lots of sewing. Your fast…

  13. You are a sewing MACHINE Loran, fantastic outfits as always. LOVE the hat throwing Gif. All this and you weren’t feeling well? Sewing gets you through and makes everything better methinks. It’s a shame you may not wear them again, Polyester freaks me out too, you can charge your whole house on that stuff just by rubbing your thighs together lol! Awesome stuff Loran.

  14. Great job as always! It’s always so amazing how much you can accomplish in one week. That first photo is awesome!

  15. I always liked Rhoda more than Mary, but I can’t decide between your two versions. I love the green of the skirt and that wonderfully picked up coat, and the print on Mary’s blouse is so happy…..but I love the colour of Rhoda’s dress, and the tights! And your grin mid hat toss is lovely. I hope you have more fun sewing this week! I actually have a ska version of the MTM show theme on my iPod in my ‘Happy’ playlist (alongside a similar reworking of Laverne & Shirley’s Doing It Our Way).

  16. Both outfits are FANTASTIC!!!!! Very well done!