|The Illustrated Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book /|
Sharon Rosenberg & Joan Wiener
San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, c1971.
Rereading it now, it's not as loosey-goosey as I'd recalled. Less so than the most recent book I reviewed from the late 60s, by a fashion designer! This book still recommends and talks about details like facings and hems, although the clothes are kind of popover hippie styles.
And boy oh boy, is this book groovy! The authors want to put the power back into your hands to make your own clothes, for many reasons that you might imagine a hippie commune kind of person would share. The blurb is charmingly quirky and so, so 70s.
Here is the straight-up dope on how to make your own clothing. With or without patterns, machines, or fancy materials—anyone can do it! Got some old clothes that you love and that fit well? Use them as patterns for new ones. Want something new and spectacular, something that fits right along where your head is moving? Cut up, remodel, add on, and let your old stuff evolve!Also:
There are actually some useful ideas and designs, though. Even if the pattern diagrams are all wonkily hand drawn, they are still readable and clear. The patterns are pretty simple; lots of quick body measurements and a caftan, poncho, skirt, tunic or bikini is yours. They do share ideas like adding hoods to kaftans, or extra neckline details, or trim - lots of ways to make things look a little more complex.
I did find this one had enough detail that you could tell the authors actually sewed, though. And I liked their approach to mending and upcycling -- a quick wedge of fabric in your jean seams and you've got yourself some groovy bell bottoms. A bit of embroidery -- even better. They do have some instruction for more complicated things like set in sleeves, nonetheless. And good basics like how to choose the right fabric for your project.
If you want to make up some simple silhouettes by hand, and want a bit of earnest anti-capitalism at the same time, with charming 70s hand done illustrations, check this one out! I actually feel that this one is more than a period piece, that you could actually use their instructions to get something wearable even now. Avoid the garish florals or groovy velvets perhaps, but the looser fitting silhouettes can still be worn.
There is a good section near the end on making belts, scarves, pouches, bags etc from the smaller offcuts, and using them for children's clothes and toys as well. Lots of thought about recycling and reducing waste, and much of it still very useful.
I recall that I thought of this one as a bit too dated when I first read it; but it has been so long since I first saw it that I now think of it as charmingly retro! It has been really enjoyable to revisit it thanks to Open Library.