Sew & Save: A Bed-Time Routine For Clothes

Miss Thrifty5 September 17, 2012

sew and save I have posted before now about how much I love Make Do And Mend: the book for housewives published by the Ministry of Information in 1943, when clothing was rationed. But here’s an even earlier book, which is less well-known, but just as useful. Also, you can buy a used copy from Amazon for next to nothing.

Sew and Save, by Joanna Chase, was originally published in 1941. The blurb on the back reads:


When your passion for fashion is thwarted by your meagre budget:

Sew & Save!

I’ll go with that.


In true thrifty style there are no illustrations, save a few basic pattern diagrams – but there are densely-packed tips, instructions and ideas in abundance. I must be honest: at the moment the Sew parts are beyond me. I love my sewing machine, but I’m just about juggling baby and work and home, so right now the more demanding sorts of craft project aren’t really getting a look in. A shame, because this slim red volume contains everything: from A Dainty Matinee Jacket to Hats You Can Make Yourself. Soon, perhaps…

But Save? Ah, now there is something I can do, even when I am stupidly short of time. Apart from when Joanne Chase writes, “Allot a few hours one day each week to going over your wardrobe for cleaning and repairs”. In 2012? Ha!

Anyway, I have been carrying Sew And Save around in my little bag – truly, S&S is the size of an old Peter & Jane book – taking copious notes and launching various ideas on my unsuspecting household.

One of the ideas from the book that I really like is called A Bed-Time Routine For Clothes. It is short, sharp and easy, and it reads as follows:


Your three great allies in clothes care are heat, steam and a good stiff brush. Always brush your clothes when you take them off at night, as dust left on overnight works it way into the material and is responsible for that grey “bloom” on clothes. Buy several twopenny wooden hangers, so that when you hang your clothes up they fall into their natural folds and retain their shape. Be sure to get the hangers wide enough, so that the shoulders of clothes do not sag over the ends. Never hang a garment on a hook by its neck. If you do that, you simply ask for bulging neck-lines and sagging hems.

bedtime for clothes


Hats should be brushed before they are put away, and preferably stood on hat-stands…If, however, you haven’t the space for hat-stands, always lay a hat down on its crown to prevent the brim taking the weight of the hat and curling into curious shapes. Hats should be covered in tissue paper when they are not in use.

looking after hats

Shoes should always be cleaned and put on trees when you take them off at night. Metal and wooden trees may be more and more difficult to get in war-time, but little balls of newspaper pushed down tightly into the shoe will do as well.

That last tip reminds me of the wonderful Mr Straw’s House in Worksop:

Mr Straw's House


 Do you have a special bedtime routine for your clothes?

 Image credits: Nationaal Archief, The Library of Congress, National Trust.

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5 Responses to “Sew & Save: A Bed-Time Routine For Clothes

Oooh, good tips! I like the idea of that kind of routine. I’m sure it makes clothing last longer, and it’s realistic for 2012!

September 19, 2012 at 9:36 am

Miss Thrifty says:

@Julie – Thanks Julie! I like these tips because they cost so little to implement. Apart from the wooden hangers – and most of us have a few of those knocking about.

September 20, 2012 at 12:51 am

I’m ashamed to say my bedtime routine for clothes involve s throwing them over the back of a chair. I love the idea of this little book though, must buy it.

September 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Z.Mary says:

Brilliant, Sew and Save arrived today and I am in your debt, It’s brilliant and I love all the little tips and tricks, thanks again miss thrifty!

March 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm

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