Sunday, April 23, 2023

Weekend Review: Sewing The New Classics

Sewing the New Classics: Clothes With Easy Style / Carol Parks
NY: Sterling, c1995.
152 p.

Since I was thinking so much about capsule wardrobes this month, I checked out this 1995 tome from Open Library to see how it had aged. Surprisingly well, actually! It's old school; there are 10 patterns for "wardrobe essentials" included, in the way that it was done in the 90s -- sketched out on a grid for you to enlarge by hand yourself. You'll find these items: a traditional shirt, a collarless tunic, a T-shirt, a straight skirt, a full skirt, elastic-waist pants, tailored pants, a jacket, a fitted waistcoat, and a big vest or jacket.

I remember wearing some of these styles in the past, but many of them could be very easily translated to contemporary styling depending on the choice of size and fabric. The 90s aesthetic is still current in its use of more casual and boxy wear. You might have to change up some of the styling choices, ie: the excessive layering, or accent choices, but I think a lot of this book is still really useful. And the colour choices here are often natural tones, and a lot of linen, which I think is very similar to a lot of current styling. 

I found the shirt and tunic, and the waistcoat, all intriguing for me right now. I think if I would have been sewing like I do now back in 1995 when this book was new it would be have been ideal to stitching up a very handy capsule wardrobe. Of course, now that we're used to pdfs or traceable pattern sheets, the idea of enlarging a pattern manually via graph paper feels VERY old school! But it's still possible. Of course with this kind of book and the pattern options, the sizing is quite limited. 

There is some good info on planning out a coordinated wardrobe, and tips on working with these patterns, as well as some sewing techniques. There is also a chapter on embellishments to change up these simple silhouettes -- things like adding tabs, insertions, embroidery or decorative painting/stenciling. I found it quite entertaining.

There are tons of great photos, and it's actually a really fun book especially if you like late 80s/early 90s style. It's a collection of loose fitting, coordinating patterns that will make up a capsule wardrobe of sorts, easily adaptable and able to be personalized. Enjoyable to look through for the retro feel but patterns are also still relevant if you like the boxy casual style.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, that is a great book! If you ignore the (admittedly) dated hair and make-up of the models, the clothes still look fresh. I bought this handy reference book when it was first issued. I still sew from it.


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