March 8, 2015

Sewing with a plan

Do you plan what to sew for the coming season? Make a plan of your wardrobe wants and needs and stick to it?
I don't. For me , the moment I try to impose a rigid plan is the moment I loose all enthusiasm for all the planned items. Although, obviously I don't disapprove of making things you need and giving that some thought.

It may not surprise you that magazine editors from the 1950's were big fans of wardrobe planning. And of sewing with a plan.

I found this beautifully illustrated plan in a French Elle magazine from June 1955. It's a nine piece summer capsule wardrobe. I guess it was meant for casual holidays in the country, based on the absence of evening wear and tailored pieces.

You could order the patterns for all nine pieces from the magazine. They reflect the fashion trends at the time: pleated skirts, dropped waistlines and loose jackets. And of course, choosing matching and contrasting separates rather than dresses allows for greater versatility.

The great thing about this bit of planning is that they chose to illustrate various option with photographs, rather than just show to pieces and write suggestions:

And just in case you might think it all looks a bit tame, the article closes with a this super-bright colour picture (which doesn't come across very well in the picture):

Now I'm just left wondering why a third of one's French summer wardrobe would be cardigans and jackets...


  1. I have the idea that by sewing with a plan you'd get more done. So far, the great plan I made for 2015 is working out - not so good. An hour ago I sortred through all my spools with sewing silk...

  2. I remember wardrobe planning in the 60s and 70s, because the stores only got clothing during two season: spring and fall. The few things you bought had to go with other things in your wardrobe, and if you wanted anything new, you had to sew it. We would look through magazines and dream about our outfits. Then we would take care of everything we owned. I think "fast fashion" has ruined the joy in that.

    1. In fact, that's a great point! When I was a kid in the 1980's, we used to check our wardrobe needs and shop according to those in spring and autumn. Gradually, that attitude changed and by the time (many years later) I was sewing a lot and blogging about it, wardrobe plans mostly appeared on sewing blogs as 'rules for self'. I prefer my hobby without those and that's how I approached it even though I will sometimes remind people about this older take on shopping and thinking about our clothes.

  3. I don't do sewing plans well, either (or sewing with a deadline, which is what I was supposed to be doing last weekend... instead I made most of a Victorian petticoat >_<)

    I can't express how much I love that polkadot sundress. (But then, me and the dropped waists. ;) ) I do find it interesting to see how they paired the full skirts with the longish, boxy jackets... a combination I've always thought was a bit awkward, personally. But that's why we look at these vintage pictures, right, to stretch our understanding? Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Deadlines sometimes work for me, if I've really run out of other options ;)

      I thought you might like that sundress. I like it too. I may try and make my own version later this year. Just for the record, 1955 is the year for lovely dresses like this with full skirts and dropped waists.
      And I agree with you about the boxy jackets and full skirts. It's not a combination I would make either but vintage magazines sometimes like it for sporty styles and casual wear.

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