Cent Idees 100 Ideas book - patchwork sewing room 70s

A seventies anti-consumerist adventure

I discovered the wonders of the 70s French magazine Cent Idées (100 Ideas) - a Marie Claire spin-off - via Pinterest last year and I can't believe I'd never heard of it before.

Cent Idees 100 Ideas book - cover

There should be a book of this, I thought, and then discovered The Seventies Adventure, a compilation of some of the best bits of 100 Idées, had indeed been published in 2015, so I dropped some heavy hints and got a copy for Christmas.

Cent Idees 100 Ideas book - 70 patchwork sewing room

Launched in 1972 and continuing through to the 80s, it's from my favourite clothing era. At the time, I was learning French at school and, on family camping holidays in Brittany I'd beg my parents to buy me geometric sweatshirts and clogs. I remember getting a white pair with laces. Back then, French things looked distinctly French and, to my eyes, incredibly cool.

cent idées landscape jumper a circular story

"Embroidery, sewing, knitting are no longer reserved for grannies and the idle bourgeois," reads the introduction to the book. "They are a sign of emancipation, a way to (re)take the reins of one's life, to say no to ready-to-consume." I love this!

There's a whole chapter on recycling found materials: "What if we stopped throwing away? If we refused the programmed obsolescence of the objects around us, and the consumerist logic of the post-war generation?" the editorial asked in 1978.

"With old, you can make new, beautiful, unique." Indeed you can - such as these adult and child coats made from vintage army surplus blankets. 

Cent Idees 100 Ideas book - recycled blanket jacketCent Idees 100 Ideas book - recycled blanket instructions DIY

I might actually try a version of this pattern as I love the shape of these coats - I partial to a yoke and I'd never thought of gathering blanket-weight fabric. 

I find it so interesting (and pretty sad) that upcycling, making new from old and breathing life into found materials was so mainstream back in the 70s and then went completely out of fashion in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. Obviously it's positive that it's having a revival and that the fast fashion backlash has started, but that still has a long way to go. If only we'd heeded the warnings that were being voiced in the 70s, decades of consumerism that caused irreversible damage to the planet could have been avoided. What a shame.

Cent Idees 100 Ideas book - patchwork skirt with clogs

On a happier note, most of the models in this book seem to be wearing clogs. I'm also loving the red tights. 

Cent Idees 100 Ideas book - patchwork baby carrier

Patchwork and quilting feature heavily too. The mother-and-daughter ensembles below inspired me to make a quilted tablecloth top and also made me reassess purple as a colour - I always avoided it, but just love it here with blue.

Cent Idees 100 Ideas book - 70s matching mum and daughter outfits

Other projects include a Robinson Crusoe style bamboo cabin, a macrame hammock, rug making, lots of nice knits, basketry and even how to cut your own hair. Most have patterns/instructions (in French - Google Translate is your friend) so it's possible to recreate most of these super cool 70s French looks yourself.

Just had to include a picture of this soft mini patchwork furniture... How cute is this? And an excellent way of using up scrap fabric!

tiny patchwork fabric furniture from cent idees magazine

100 Idées: L'Aventure Des Seventies (Éditions Hoëbeke, 2015)

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