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Recession Proof Your Wardrobe

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Fashion Creativity Challenge 2023

Can we Recession Proof our wardrobes? Take a break from buying clothes this year (more money for the essentials) and still have the best closet ever? 😊

When we tighten the purse strings, one of the first things to go are those new wardrobe purchases. But if you can sew that doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to suffer! Sewing to save money doesn’t really work these days because beautiful fashion fabrics are pricey and not as plentiful. I find that most people who sew their own clothes do so to have more creative pieces and to have what they envision.

The art of sewing, like any skill, takes time to cultivate. Some say is it a dying art. If so it would be because there are fewer people willing to put in the time to learn it well.

Once the foundation is learned it gets easier and easier and then you can make what you dream. 😊

You will be like the fashion ladies from wartime 1940’s.

Their creativity was being tested. They could not just go shopping for things as they were use to. Ration coupons were mandatory to buy clothes. Limiting their purchases.

If they wanted a new outfit, they up-cycled a garment from their wardrobe or sewed a completely new garment.

Their closets became truly Unique Boutiques!

Working in the movie business as a Costume Designer I spent a lot of time in costume rental houses. Perusing the isles by decades, I just loved the 40’s isles. The styles were so unique, piece after piece were unique with detailed touches. Creatively shaped pockets, custom trims, beautiful couture techniques like bound buttonholes, custom buttons, covered hooks and snaps and so many little details.

This creativity was drawn out of necessity. From the united effort to scale back and save resources for the soldiers fighting the war overseas.

The people literally had to use ration coupons, not to save money but for everyone to do their part and not consume in excess. Each person had to present a coupon along with their payments, their purchases were limited, there were only so many coats, socks, tops etc.…they could buy. So, if the ladies wanted fashion in their lives, they had to create it for themselves.

I was in awe of this when I studied the 1940’s for a movie I was working on. I was amazed what Americans did back then in support of the war efforts.

A few years ago, I got to see these ration coupons up close at an exhibit at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola FL. I was completely enthralled by the WWII displays; I found the patriotism of the times so inspiring.

I wonder if we Americans could ever do that again?

Check out this short video about Fashion on the Ration. - after you read this ;)

In this New Year Blog, what I really wanted to write was about how I’ve been starting to tackle my bucket list.

Seeing Rome was high on the list. One night a few months ago I was thinking, what was I waiting for? Planned the trip right then, went and now I have crossed that off my list!

And bonus. I visited all the fabric stores in the city area! Bought some beautiful pieces and now have footage to share with you on my YouTube channel!

Feels so great to plan and do something you have always wanted to do 😊.

So now to continue with more bucket list goals.

Trying creative art techniques has been on my list for a long time.

Why do they keep getting pushed to the back burner? I have so many I want to try and at this rate I may never get to them.

I need to tackle these just like I would do any other goal.

First, write down the why’s to comprehend its importance.

Schedule it in. Make it a priority.

Be realistic of the time block it needs.

This challenge also aligns with scaling back the clothes shopping. To use what I have, give new life to wardrobe pieces I have not been wearing and create my own unique boutique like the ladies did in the 1940’s!

Humm… maybe I can get others to join me? 😊 Each month we will concentrate on a new technique. Breaking it down into steps that will lead to a finished garment.

I have a system of small steps that has worked for me with all my goals. I have seen over the years how everyday effort leads to big accomplishments.

I do at least 10 minutes a day on a goal (somedays it’s just hard getting started and a promise for 10 minutes can lead to hours in the bliss zone).

If we want to be more creative, then we must simply get our hands in and do it.

And what is cool about trying new things is that they become part of your creative go-to’s.

Like when I tried bleach spraying on a skirt I was making. I found out that it was really simple, and the results were so amazing. It’s now one of my favorite skirts and bonus, the bleaching technique is now in my knowledge bank. From now on, when I am in my design development zone, I will have this technique in my repertoire.

To get started I created a vision board. Pinterest is great for this. Put “creative garments” in the search bar and tons of ideas pop up! 😊

I print them out and put them on a vision board that I keep in my studio, this way I have them constantly in view and never run out of ideas.

Next, I made a list of all the techniques I’ve been wanting to try.

I’ll start this challenge with an easy one to get in the groove. I think stenciling will be a great first project since I have experimented with it a bit.

So, who wants to join me in this challenge? 😊 Schedule in being creative, call it a “Sew Day” – pick your day and schedule it in.

I have been using this monthly chart for a few years now to keep my many projects in the front of my mind. (I keep this just above my light switch in my office, so it’s hard to miss!)

How I use it:

I list my projects of the month in the colored section and add a check mark in the numbered column (day of the month) if I did at least 10 minutes that day. It’s in the small steps that progress happens and many times the 10 minutes leads into longer sessions.

Keeping my projects in the forefront helps me to not put them on the back burner. Some months (summer camp season) I can’t get to some of them, but they are always in my thoughts and resumed after my busy season.

For those times when you cannot think of a step to move you forward it helps to have a list of some of the steps you can take to get the project done.

There are 10 boxes, I am only using 7 now to avoid overwhelm. One of my boxes is “Mind/Body” to help me remember to exercise or take care of myself. And another is “Contribute/Clean”.

So, who’s with me?

Get out your bucket list and let’s cross some things off this year!

And in the process of being creative, we will Recession Proof our wardrobe!

Check our YouTube Channel for the video about this challenge!

And check our progress later this month on Future Fashion Designers FaceBook page.

For more of Shawnelle's classes, online and in studio:

Looking forward to seeing your recession proof designs!

Please leave a comment below or email me at




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