Sewing with a plan

During reading To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Siegle*, I tripped over a concept I suspect to be so old that it was welcomed as great new guidelines when Lynn Cook wrote an article for the Australian magazine “Stitches” in 2003:  sewing with a plan (SWAP).

It boils down to

  • concentrate on two solid colours, add a third complimentary colour, and accentuate with prints that match the first two solids
  • cover all basic garment types: tops, trousers, skirts, jacket
  • choose simple patterns but use top-quality fabrics
  • a two-step implementation
    • “make 11 garments. These are:
      • 2 pairs of pants;
      • 2 skirts, one in a solid colour, one in a print or check;
      • 2 simple tops, one solid, one in the above print;
      • 4 tops, in colours which coordinate with the solids;
      • 1 simple cardigan jacket in a solid colour.
    • make the following 10 garments
      • 1 cardigan in one of your basic colours
      • 3 long-sleeve tops in tones that coordinate
      • 1 long skirt in a print
      • 1 blouse or top in the same print
      • 1 knee-length skirt in a solid colour
      • 1 dress (print or solid)
      • 2 more pairs of pants in tones that blend with your palette” [1]
  • don’t quit, do finish the two steps
  • any additional pieces should match at least 3 pieces of the basic wardrobe

Another great point Lucy Siegle’s book makes is to curate one’s wardrobe, a concept which is built into the SWAP approach as it enforces you to create coherent pieces that go together.

In my case, the dominant solids are definitely black and gray. A second pair of solids is based on brown and green. The complimentary colour would be red, or maybe ivory.
Then there’s some bright red, and of course all the pretty “berry” colours (purple, wine, and so on). Bright red goes best with black, and the berries like grey as supporting colour.

I am currently looking through my sewing output and the first insight I had is: I certainly am putting off the making of trouser patterns, lazy me.



* this book really brings some disturbing facts to the table. I at least vowed to try and change my clothes consumption – less buying, more research who made the piece, where did the materials come from…

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